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All Power To Your Managers. They Have Amazing Potential.

The key to unlocking frontline potential, coaching

Being a manager is a tough job. It’s always needed what some misleadingly term ‘soft skills’, to manage effectively; and lately the job’s been getting ever more challenging! The pandemic has certainly brought greater people management challenges. The dramatic shift in the way people work, partly because of the pandemic, means managers are now faced with significant staff retention issues. In a recent report by Emplify, nearly 73% of employees are currently open to new career opportunities — and 33% are actively looking for new jobs*1.

This is further compounded by the millennial generation rapidly becoming the workforce majority. In 2015 they represented 25% of the global workforce and in 2020 this was more like 50%*2. And scarily many of these are actively job searching, as highlighted by The Great Resignation. With those that do plan to stay put generally seeing wherever they are as only a short-term adventure of less than 3 years*3.

 

A lot has been demanded of these front-line leaders. Like many others, they have faced continual change, and because of where they sit within a business, they are caught between a rock and hard place. Two ends of a spectrum – one being their responsibility to their teams, and the other to those they report to. Add to that the dynamic that companies are potentially not prepared to invest at this level – largely as they are seen as the people most likely to move on. No wonder so many managers are feeling overwhelmed and undervalued. As one US analyst - Katy Tynan of Forrester – says:

 

“What…[organisations]…spend skews toward executives…

Disengaged employees cost organizations at least 34% of their salary if

they stay and 50%-200% of their salary if they leave.*4

 

If your managers feel uninvested in, then they will leave and are likely to disengage others as they go. Without the right support, managers may struggle with delegation and be ill-equipped to effectively coach their people. Yet many are not being invested in. The positive news is only 12% of employees say they leave for more money – so we can do something about it! *4 While businesses recognise the need for them to have communication and interpersonal skills, the commitment to support them in developing these skills is sometimes overlooked. In fact, out of every 100 workers:

Pink-Dot  22 leave for professional development

Pink-Dot 12 leave for work-life balance

Pink-Dot 11 out of 100 leave in response to manager behavior1

Yet, they are believed to directly support 80% of the workforce and bear the largest burden of employee engagement (way ahead of CEOs and HR!)*4. In our experience, unlocking this potential can lead to strong teams. Ones that move forward together, dealing effectively with operational challenges and achieving business KPIs.

 

And what organisation doesn’t want a team that can be agile, versatile, and consistently delivery on the brand promise?

 

Should companies invest more in their managers?

While it may well be easier and more cost-effective to develop leaders from within than to continually recruit from outside, there is a suggestion that only 5% of businesses have fully implemented development at every level*3. So, recognising the need and acting on it are evidently two very different matters. Granted remote working (as we have been doing for the last 2 years or more), does make giving feedback more challenging. But realistically the pandemic was more about training and development being postponed or cancelled and maybe we have lost our way a little now on that front. That is why, we need to re-focus and bring investing into our managers back into the picture. Sadly, though interest in this investment is further compounded by the perceived value created for every pound spent.

 

More money is spent on leadership development than any other

area of corporate training,  yet 71% of organisations

do not feel their leaders are able to lead their business into the

future.*3

 

With the state of the employment market as it is; now is the time to do more to equip and support our managers. Encouraging them to adopt new coaching skills, embedding the principles of empathy, leadership and ownership. Investing in them to develop and become more effective first line leaders. If 71% of organisations don’t feel their leaders are able to lead their business into the future, why are organisations not investing in developing managers from the start?

This development should prioritise the skills that will give managers the best ability to tackle the challenges they face, while supporting their teams in achieving great sustainable performance. People who manage other people need the right skills to do it. These include:

 

Communication-Communication    Developing-others Developing others

PlanningPlanning   Problem-SolvingProblem solving

DelegatingDelegating   Decision-MakingDecision making

ListeningListening    CoachingCoaching

 

For many managers, coaching is a great place to start. It can lead to exponential results. In fact, several times greater than the investment in money and time. With some citing a 700% Return On Investment*5.

 

What is the best way to embed coaching skills in managers?

Think about the skills that great coaches need. Where better to start than listening deeply? Quality managers regularly check in with their teams. They reach out to understand how they work best and the support they need. They celebrate successes and then dig deeper, working with their people, giving them the ownership and motivation to achieve. Trust and transparency builds. The relationship forms. And this connection becomes a crucial part of engaging and retaining people.

 

Their strength on this front lies in establishing sound coaching skills. Particularly, embracing techniques that can coach in the moment. Rather than feedback in a six-monthly review when things have shifted, and specific events are forgotten. Some large corporations such as Deloitte and Accenture have now even scrapped annual performance reviews and moved towards implementing more fluidity with ongoing, timely feedback*6. Addressing behaviours in the moment starts to instil and embed practical changes from that very moment. Managers who encourage simple changes as they go will feel less overworked. Their time will be freed up. They will operate with their colleagues as a more productive team, focused on growth.

 

Great coaches ask, rather than tell. Overcoming the ‘telling’ cycle is a crucial part of developing coaching skills and over time, asking can become a more intuitive and natural activity. The good news is this change can happen overnight. Particularly with approaches like Continue & Begin Fast Coaching®. Here people are encouraged to learn quickly and put that learning into practice straight away. Behaviours promptly change and become a catalyst for longer term learnings and gains.

 

Why is Continue & Begin Fast Coaching® so successful?

 It is grounded in reality and based on research into thousands of workplace interactions. This makes it relatable and easy to adopt. Its structured principles can be applied regardless of the scenario or sector a business operates in. It works across manufacturing, construction, automotive, retail or any other industry. The principles remain the same. The key is creating transferrable skills.

 

When successfully adopted it helps address the challenge of high staff turnover. Let’s face it far too many sectors, including hospitality and call centre environments are experiencing that at the moment! The Call Centre Management Association even reports that staff turnover in the industry is around 26% annually*7, while a study by YouGov has put the annual staff retention in the UK’s hospitality industry at only 70%*8. There is a myriad of reasons for this, but strong relationships between managers and their teams can be part of the solution and improve these attrition rates.

 

The challenge is to combat any business reticence about wanting to invest in these types of workers as the likelihood of them moving on is high. But we should also remember the cost of failing to train and develop these managers that Tynan mentioned earlier. In fact, she also flags that:

 

Frontline leaders are the key to bringing the strategy you build in the C-suite to life in your organisation…[this will fail] if your frontline leaders do not have the tools they need to succeed.*4

 

Think about it!

And this is also accelerated by the millions of pounds spent in product and service development; yet the point of least control is your people. Consider all those personal interactions and transactions going on every day in your business. Coaching will help deliver your standards consistently. Your managers are at the forefront of the business. When equipped with the right management tools, they are perfectly positioned to get the very best out of the majority of your people.

 

Being given a job title does not automatically turn someone into a people manager. It takes time and support. We can’t pretend that these skills come naturally, many are counter intuitive. Often in life, the most effective thing to do is the one that feels the least natural – think about driving a car that is starting to skid – steering into the skid feels like the worst thing to do and is actually absolutely the best option. Coaching gives a manager a sound framework to work with, which should eventually become second nature. Celebrating people, their achievements, and skills; encouraging them to determine the best way to act, leads to teams doing things better and achieving more. As St. Jerome is believed to have said:

 

“Good, better, best.

Never let it rest.

‘Til your good is better and your better is best.”

 

Managers have an important role to play in any business and they need to feel supported and valued by the organisation they work for. It may well be daunting, particularly when operating in a rapidly shifting market, however companies that invest will go a long way to retaining and creating home-grown managers. When people are taken care of, they feel heard and included and this gives them the confidence to use their strengths and grow.

 

Coaching for the many?

The beauty of Continue & Begin Fast Coaching® is it works for many, many people. It is about the continuous professional development of front line leaders rather than senior leaders or the Board. To adapt the words of a famous advertising campaign, they’re ‘WORTH IT.’ Within just a couple of hours, the core principles of fast coaching are understood. The clearly defined approach results in your managers achieving more, getting more from their teams and reducing the demands on their own time. Sustained consistency in performance standards are achieved, alongside ensuring high-quality outcomes for your customers. At an entry level of just £95 per manager, the financial investment required means a Continue & Begin Fast Coaching® programme can be made available to (and more importantly benefit) large numbers of frontline managers within a matter of hours.

 

These are your core people. Without these line managers, many businesses would struggle to survive. So, the benefits of instilling fast coaching principles are far-reaching. The influence is significant. This is illustrated several times over in a Forbes article, with the most pertinent quote being from Sheldon Yellen, CEO of BELFOR Property Restoration;

 

“Being able to listen to [middle managers’] challenges and provide reassurance that tomorrow is going to be a better day not only helps the individual but also trickles down to the rest of the business. If they feel heard and supported from the executive level, then they can provide the same support to their employees, which allows them to do their best work, too.”*9

 

So, all power to your managers. If you can unlock their potential, you will create a more engaged and independently operating workforce. One which knows what they have to achieve, how to achieve it and believe in what they do. That has got to be a good thing.

 

Managers, we salute you!

 

For more information on the CPD Accredited course Continue & Begin Fast Coaching® and the NDK Performance Model contact siobhan@themotivationagency.co.uk, visit the product page or fill in the form below.

NDK Performance Model, Continue & Begin Fast Coaching

 

Sources:

*1 https://emplify.com/blog/state-of-employee-turnover/

*2 https://www.allen-associates.co.uk/getmedia/9ae722ba-1abd-4ef7-ae67-b41f067e96fe/MANAGING_MILLENNIALS_GUIDE_081117.pdf

*3 https://www.infoprolearning.com/infographic/13-shocking-leadership-development-statistics-infopro-learning/

*4 https://hrexecutive.com/2-big-problems-with-how-hr-develops-managers/

*5 http://execlife.net/roi-of-coaching/ 

*6 https://www.cipd.co.uk/podcasts/coaching-culture

*7 https://www.ccma.org.uk/insight/breaking-the-mould-on-staff-turnover

*8 https://www.ukhospitality.org.uk/blogpost/1721400/325437/Retaining-Staff

*9 https://www.forbes.com/sites/rhettpower/2021/10/24/how-to-support-middle-managers-in-the-hybrid-workplace/?sh=d54fcb075e91

 

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