- Recognise its importance
Career coaching is often not a formal part of a manager’s role, yet is arguably one of the most effective methods for maintaining and improving the engagement of their team. All employees will have at least a vague career plan in their heads, and their manager is in a unique position of being able to support this through an employee’s immediate career situation. It is important, therefore, that managers understand the gains they can make in employee engagement through being open to career coaching conversations.
Active listening is hugely important in any coaching conversation, and particularly when discussing something as personal and potentially sensitive as a person’s ambitions and goals. The first step in preparing for such a meeting should be clearing your mind of other priorities and concerns, and making certain you are totally focused and invested in the career conversation you will have with your report.
- Questions are more helpful than advice
While a coaching relationship will certainly benefit from your own experience and knowledge, it is critical to remember that it is not solely a forum for the giving of advice. As important is the need to ask the questions that help a report to think about the issue at hand themselves, perhaps viewing it from a different perspective and broadening their own understanding of how an issue could be tackled.
- Align employee goals with the organisation’s
Part of the benefit of career coaching as a manager is the opportunity to align an employee’s goals with those of the wider organisation. Not only does this provide an organisational pay-off in retaining talent for future development, but it focuses an employee on your organisation’s goals – helping them see that ambitions can be achieved within their present employer.
- Allow space to make mistakes
Also crucial to an effective career coaching relationship is the willingness to provide employees with the autonomy to make decisions relative to their career goals, and the space to make mistakes along the way. This provides both the development experience of pushing themselves to try new things, while demonstrating that you, as an employer, are willing to invest time and effort in their personal development.