4 Tips for Making the Transition from Manager to CoachMarch 21, 2017 - By: Jason Carney
Getting promoted to a new managerial position is an exciting time. While gaining additional responsibilities and moving up the corporate ladder is exhilarating, it’s also a time to take a step back and consider what it’s going to take to be successful. Shaping yourself into a successful leader vs just a general ‘manager’ will take work, but by building an overall vision for your department/employees, investing in people, and leading the workload, you’ll gained respect and build a productive work environment.
Be a visionary
The first — and arguably the most important — difference between a manager and a coach is having an overall vision and direction for employees, not just quantitative goals. A manager tends to only set short-term goals based mostly on numbers, while a coach will set an overall vision for the department and then create a plan for how each individual player contributes to that vision. This means providing each person on your team with an overarching direction, including new tools to learn, adjusted responsibilities in regards to other teammates, and new processes to improve efficiency. By giving everyone a key position as part of the new vision, they will feel valued, which will make your employees feel like an important part of the success of your division within the company.
Invest in people
What does investing in the people in your company look like? Hint: it goes beyond money. Show employees you care by sending them to conferences, providing opportunities to enroll in online classes related to your industry, or even providing a stipend for attending networking events with other professionals.
When it comes to relationships, take the time to invest in them. Don’t just default to scheduling one-on-one meetings; go to lunch as a team and with individual employees regularly. Consider writing thank you cards after a tough week and asking about life outside of work. By showing you care about people in your organization, you’ll naturally transform into the coach everyone needs.
Lead the workload
Ever hear the expression: “Lead by example”? Nothing is more true when it comes to leading vs managing employees. Your team needs to see that you’re carrying your fair share of work as well.
Leading the workload also includes thoughtfully delegating tasks among team members. The keyword here is thoughtfully. Maintain open communication with all your employees about how the new vision will be executed through a challenging, yet attainable workflow for all. Then, after everyone has started contributing to the new vision, create attainable short and long-term goals that involve as much collaboration as possible. Let your employees know that you’re doing everything in your power to not only do your fair share of the work, but to make sure they have everything they need to do their job well.
Work out problems
A great coach will find the root cause of a problem or dysfunction and take action to solve it as soon as possible. Keeping open and transparent communication in order to keep everyone in the loop on what’s being done to resolve the situation. Create an environment where it’s ok to have honest conversations without repercussion. This means breaking down silos both inside and outside the department. Bring everyone onboard and work through the issue – and do not make public declarations in meetings when it’s a discussion to only be had between one or two individuals. This will keep folks in a happier headspace.
By instilling an overall vision from the beginning, investing in your team both monetarily and personally, and leading by example with your own workload and work ethic, you will easily find yourself transforming from generic manager to respected and beloved coach.
A good leader can’t make it very far without engaged employees. For best practices on this topic, our recent blog on tips to increase employee engagement is the way to go!