Most credit union managers get promoted into their positions because they are the best at their individual jobs. As credit unions, we tend to promote the best teller to head teller. The best member service representative eventually becomes a branch manager. And the CEO most likely comes from one of the other seats on the leadership team if we’re hiring from within. That adds to the strength of the movement, yet are we setting up these new managers to be as successful as they can be in developing and coaching their staff?
As leaders, we expect our managers to coach their staff to produce greater results, provide better service and achieve higher levels toward whatever goals we set for their team. Our managers agree that they need to coach their staff to achieve their goals. So why aren’t our managers jumping at the chance to coach their staff? Why aren’t we seeing the strong coaching culture we expect?
There are a wide variety of reasons why managers don’t or won’t coach their staff. It boils down to three main issues:
- Fear. They simply don’t know how to coach and they’re afraid to ask for help. Coming up through the ranks, they may have experienced great coaching, however that doesn’t necessarily translate into coaching their own staff.
- It’s unnecessary. Many managers feel that strong staff doesn’t need coaching. Managers get called upon to deal with poor performers and the situations they create on a daily basis. They leave the high performers to navigate their own tricky situations – after all, they are high performers so they can handle anything!
- No time. Virtually every credit union faces the same stated barrier: “All of our managers are working managers and they don’t have time to coach.”
To alleviate the fear, it’s imperative for leaders to provide our managers the support they crave. Use a coach-the-coach mentality and share what you’re doing that has worked well in coaching your team. Make time at your monthly manager meetings to share a challenge around a difficult coaching situation and allow all of the managers to weigh in on how they’d handle it. Provide the training and support through tools available from CUNA Creating Member Loyalty™ to move your managers to the next level of coaching.
To address the feeling that great staff doesn’t need coaching, your goal as a leader is not to try to convince the managers why they should coach. Your goal is to get managers to realize the value of coaching. As it relates to high performers, ask your managers, “What might we lose as a team if we don’t coach?” Or better still, “Who might we lose if we don’t coach?”
To address the issue of time, train your managers on a wide variety of coaching methods, some of which don’t even require the coach to be present. CUNA has a method to train your managers on 12 different coaching methodologies in less than five minutes a day over 21 days. As part of the process, managers experience applying those methods to their own specific coaching situations with the help of our personalized coaching and support. Many of the coaching techniques can even be applied by staff when the manager isn’t present.
The bottom line is that a good coach encourages their team to develop and grow. A manager lets them maintain the status quo.
A good coach focuses on the positive elements in which individuals excel. A manager emphasizes the areas for improvement.
A good coach asks questions to facilitate dialogue so staff comes to the solution on their own. A manager tells them, “This is what I would do.”
Resist the urge to fall back on how you were managed instead of coached. Make a commitment to your team to strive for continuous improvement and watch your staff grow.