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How will your team perform if you are not in the office?

Back to the last summer, it was the middle of August, the heat of the summer holidays. Yet, I was working hard in my office. My schedule was full of coaching sessions with tired, stressed out managers up to their ears in work and they all seem not to have time to enjoy the sunny days. How did this happen? 

It’s quite often that they are so absorbed in the whirlpool of their business development, competing with others, working with fastidious clients, dealing with problems and conveying non-managerial tasks, that it’s been a while since they last had a proper holiday. Moreover, they try hard as they might not pay attention to the warnings of their families and friends, as well as to the signals their bodies indicate. In most cases, these signals simply remind you to recharge your batteries. However, people tend to overlook them until it gets too late and then the moment comes when these signals become far more than just warnings. 

If you ask those people why they are not with their families on a well-earned holiday, here are the most usual answers you will get: “No time for this. There’s so much work to do” or “Half of my team is on a holiday, I need to be in the office” or “No work will be done effectively if I am away”.

Do you think they have considered any of this at the time when they were setting up their business or climbing the managerial ladder? Probably not. 

Dear managers, answer just one simple question in order to establish an accurate organizational diagnosis: 

“How will your team work if you are not in the office?”

Version 1: You feel guilty for leaving your office but you allow yourself to have a five-day high-speed holiday. You enjoy the sea from a distance because your colleagues in the office would not stop calling you with all those questions and problems. And on top of that, you spend the rest of the day in front of your computer in the hotel room. 

Everything that could have gone wrong has happened – even the things that you thought were okay in the first place. Your absence makes your subordinates feel insecure and doubt all the decisions they need to take.

The holiday is finally over. You go back to the office with relief because everything will be under your control again. Contrary to what you have thought, there is not so much work done for these five days. The good news, you are in the office now and everything will be fine. Your colleagues are also much calmer now that you are with them. 

Diagnosis: Micromanagement. This is the most certain way to limit the potential of your business to where your personal boundaries lie and eventually lose control over the situation. 

This happens due to lack of experience or because of the urge to control everything and everyone, as well as your wish things to happen the way you want. Under these conditions, your subordinates do the best they can to avoid taking responsibility and they strive to get away with the least engagement possible by transferring their tasks to you whether you realize it or not. During the day you are dealing with all kinds of problems and this gradually turns into the working routine of the whole team. It’s no wonder that there’s no time left for thinking about business development strategy. 

Version 2: You are aware of the fact that sometimes you need to slow down the pace in order to be able to speed up after that. You spend time planning your holiday. You also devote time to yourself and your loved ones. And most importantly, at one point you actually stop thinking about work.  

You’ve been guiding your subordinates towards improvement in the decision-making process. You have taught them to feel responsible for their actions and for the consequences that will follow but still, they know that they can always rely on your help if necessary. You’ve learned how to delegate the tasks properly and now you have to control the execution of the key moments only. Your subordinates take responsibility for their actions. Well, they may make a mistake every now and then but their personal and professional improvement is obvious. They are motivated to look for new ways to better themselves and their work and they always surprise you with some innovative ideas. You don’t worry at all because processes in the office are taken care of, they are functionally structured and people carry them out – after all, it was them who took part in their creation.  

The holiday is over. You go back to the office and you realize that everything has been functioning perfectly in your absence. They have been doing so well that you even start wondering whether they need you at all there. Yet, you don’t think about that for long. You’ve had a good rest and now you can focus on planning a new strategy for business development. You have mastered this skill and this is the exact reason why you are the manager. 

Diagnosis: Effective management. Congratulations to you and your team! They are lucky to have you as their manager. You are most probably a good leader but don’t ever stop improving yourself. 

In which version of the two did you recognize yourself or your manager? How was your holiday? How will your team operate if you are not in the office? 

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Benefits of Executive coaching for the organizations

Clients of executive coaching are leaders of high executive positions aiming at improving their skills to manage in an effective manner and reaching higher business results. Main topics in this type of coaching are strategic thinking, building and improving organizational structure, change management, conflicts management, work/life balance, etc.

In my practice coaching for leaders is a boutique service focused on developing leadership results and achieving higher levels of effective professional performance, increased job satisfaction, personal growth and business development.

The position on top is often a very lonely place. Leaders often do not have anyone to talk to about the challenges they face because they may not be understood, they need to be confidential or they are afraid to seem vulnerable and confused. Executive coaching is an opportunity to really “hear yourself speak”, to get up from your chair, take a step back and see all the possible solutions in a safe area of complete confidentiality and support for achieving highest levels of functioning both as professional and human.

Coaching facilitates education and achieving the best results by widening perspectives, identification of strengths and areas, where there is a need for education and improvement and what is most important to be paid attention to during the coaching. 

Some of the most often present topics in business coaching for leaders are:

  • Developing your own authentic and charismatic leadership style
  • Strategy, vision, mission and values of the company. Are these synchronized with your personal ones?
  • How should company goals be communicated with the employees? 
  • How to motivate and involve the team to achieve these goals?
  • Time Management and priorities
  • Work/Life Balance 
  • Change Management
  • Effective motivation and self-motivation 
  • Interactions with partners and colleagues
  • Delegation skills improvement
  • Successful conflict resolving 

During the process the client is actively engaged with planning, placing objectives and development of effective coaching plan. We start from defining the desired results, which should be specific, measurable, achievable and time framed. Next step is to plan actions necessary for achieving those. And like often happens in business, if the situation change, plans and deadlines can always be revised and updated according to the new circumstances. One of the additional benefits for leaders working with a personal coach reported is the improvement of their skills to develop employees’ talent by acquiring new mentor and coaching skills through their own experience. They also developed their abilities for auto reflection and options analysis, which help the continuing education even after the coaching ends.

Coaching is a relatively new method and approach for developing human potential. As PricewaterhouseCoopers’ research for International Coaching Federation (ICF) in 2010 shows that employers’ average ROI is 700%, i.e. 7 times.

The benefits of executive coaching for organizations are numerous. It stimulates strategic thinking, creativity and innovation both from workers and managers. Managers equipped with coaching skills are critical to building a culture of performance and continuous improvement. Coaching management is based on the coaching assumption that the employee has potential, knowledge and experience and has a need for development and success. Implemented coaching culture means that the manager combines management with the best coaching skills to help individuals’ awareness, grow their potential; he believes in their success, motivates them to overcome all the challenges through and gives them constructive feedback. Such managers help people find their strengths and point those which need an improvement, which leads to deeper engagement and higher personal effectiveness. Nowadays employees want to work for managers and organizations who are invested in them. By providing the training, coaching and feedback that they desire a coaching organizational culture increases their motivation and job satisfaction.

Use of coaching approach in organizations eases the change management, open communication and helps the effective implementation of new strategies, plans and initiatives. The company moves from problem-solving to creating better solutions and well-shaped outcomes. Thus, coaching leads to optimization of work processes gives a competitive advantage and increases the possibility for adaptation in a constantly changing environment.