Coaching up is all about learning what you really need to know to be able to create new and better possibilities with your boss. It’s the message that matters.
During my trip to Moscow, while delivering my management coach training program, a manager, frustrated by the fact that she wasn’t getting the recognition and support she needed, asked, “Is it acceptable to tell your boss what you really want from them? I mean, shouldn’t they already know what I need and if they don’t know, shouldn’t they be the one to find out?”
While the quality of every relationship between a manager and direct report, as well as the success and failure of every individual on a team ultimately rests on the manager, unfortunately, there are still some managers who have yet to get the memo on this. Some are still in the process of learning how to become a better coach and yet other managers simply do not have a clue regarding how important a responsibility this is, how much power they actually possess to measurably impact their team’s success and how much of an influence they have over their direct reports and on their career.
In order to foster a stronger environment of trust, loyalty, accountability, collaboration and openness amongst your team, the answer to the question posed by this manager is “Yes,” it is up to the manager to sit each direct report down, one to one, in order to ensure they have a keen understanding around exactly what each of their people need so they can foster this type desired environment. The manager must uncover how to coach to each person’s individuality and support them based on what their unique needs, goals, skills, concerns and objectives are.
As you can see, given the location in which I delivered this particular training event, this is not an isolated issue but a global one that affects employees in every position in practically every organization and in every country worldwide.
To further support this, after delivering my management coach training program hundreds of times in practically every corner of the world, I continue to here the same question at some point during every training I deliver. That is, “Will my manager be going through this same training as well?”
Regardless of where your manager is on their own path of development, if your manager has not yet come to you to establish these boundaries and expectations around your relationship, especially as it relates to coaching, then it is only in your best interest to be the one to take the initiative, step up and initiate this conversation.
Good news! You can coach up!
That is, rather than leaving it up to chance, or waiting around until your manager gets a clue that they’re the person who needs to begin this discussion, and hopefully do so in an effective way, you can enroll your manager on establishing these new boundaries and expectations of how you like to be coached, managed, communicated to and supported. How effective you are in doing so rests in your ability to craft your message in a way that creates a new possibility rather than a confrontation.
That is, how can you approach your manager in a way that would open them up to the point that they would want to listen to you? Learn more about Coaching Up in Part 2 of my series on the topic.
Photo Credit: Susan NYC