Have you ever worked for great managers? If you did then you know how important they are to guide you on the path for a successful career. Whether you manage people now or not, at some point in your career you may find yourself responsible for the career development and success of others. Here’s how great managers coach.
They know. Your career success starts with a plan for your future. Do you know where you want to be in the organization in the next five years? How about the next two years? Most workers are unaware of all the opportunities that exist in an organization. If they’re in sales, they only know the sales opportunities. Without knowledge of other business departments, they don’t know all the places they could fit.
Great managers will ask about your interests so they can help you see where you might do well in the entire organization. It’s a great manager’s job to help you find out what you want to do next and then make it happen.
Get ready. In order for you to move forward, you have to be prepared with the skills for your next job. I remember one manager who assigned me presentations to customers well before I thought I was ready to do them. It forced me to grow and improve my presentation skills. Little did I know that presentation skills were needed for my next job in the organization. Your manager should help you to succeed now so you can be prepared to excel in the future.
They use their power. Some managers have more power than others. At management meetings they push for the adoption of their ideas. I know of one powerful manager who got promotions for all of his subordinates who were looking for promotions. How did he do it? He took it upon himself to champion his subordinates at meetings. Other managers got to know of their work. When it was time to select best candidates, this manager’s subordinates were better known than other candidates. What happened next? His candidates got the job offers when they became available. It’s not enough to be in a position of authority if you don’t use your power.
Ask don’t tell. If you have a problem in business, it’s essential that you have a manager who helps you problem solve. Not all managers are great at this skill. You probably realize that if you come to a manager with a problem, one alternative is for the manager to tell you the answer. It’s probably faster that way than for him to work through the decision making process. That’s unhelpful for your career development.
Getting the answer is less important for your career success than learning how to make good business decisions. A great coach asks questions to guide you to understand what the options are. A great coach helps you uncover possible solutions and then helps you make the best choice.
I’ve been lucky over the years. I’ve had many great managers. How do I know? They’ve all been great coaches. When you are a great coach, you’ll notice that you help your subordinates succeed. That’s what makes a great manager.
Maura Schreier-Fleming is a sales strategist and founder of Best@Selling, a sales training and consulting company. She wrote Monday Morning Sales Tips and works with sales professionals who want to sell more and close more business.