What Hat Are You Wearing?


Have you ever wondered how many hats you wear at work?

Coach hatManager, Leader, Friend, Confidant, Trainer, Facilitator, Counsellor, Coach, Mentor?

So many hats for just one job! Being aware of what hat you are wearing is a useful, visual way to work out if you are wearing the right hat at the right time.

Lets start with Manager as Coach and Mentor.  You are probably most familiar with the term Sports Coaching where the ‘coach’ uses his/her expertise to help someone else to be his or her very best at that particular sport. There will no doubt be some questions asked to get the individual being coached to think for themselves but ultimately there is a good deal of advising and suggesting going on because the coach comes with expertise and experience. Well, this is NOT Coaching but it is more aligned to Mentoring. And this, I believe is why there is so much confusion over what coaching is.

So, what is business or management coaching? Both coaching and mentoring are ‘processes that enable individual and corporate clients to achieve their full potential’ (coaching network). Coaching is defined as a creative partnership where a process is used to help inspire a person to maximise their potential.

As a manager there is so much expectation on telling someone what to do which leaves you exhausted and the individual passive in their thinking. You might find that your team continually come back to you asking you the same questions. If this is the case then do start coaching your team.

Take a look at why coaching is seen as the must have skills for managers:

  • Coaching delivers results because of the supportive relationship between the coach and the coachee
  • The role of the coach-manager is not to provide the answers to the solution
  • The role of the coach-manager is to facilitate change by providing a safe, private and trusting space and relationship where the individual can share their goals, challenges and aspirations without shame or judgement
  • The coach-manager helps the individual to define specifically what they would like to achieve and the change required in order to reach their goals
  • The coach-manager does not need to know the intricate details of the problem or issues and can successfully coach the individual without have any expert knowledge or understanding of the coachee’s area of work
  • Management coaching skills training is becoming increasingly popular and essential to any management development programme.

So, how does this differ from the manager as mentor?

At the heart of mentoring is the idea of transferring learning from a more experienced to a less experienced person, because it will support their understanding, learning and achievement. It is played out in work through a less experienced person seeking out a more experienced one who has knowledge and skills they desire in support of their own ambitions. This is often the manager. However, too often managers see their role as having to tell their team everything rather than encouraging the team to think for themselves. However, Mentoring as a manager does have it place:

  • The mentor-manager helps the mentee step ‘outside the box’ of his or her job and personal circumstances, so they can look in at it together
  • The mentor-manager is often seen by the individual as a role model and looking to you as manager to lead by example
  • The mentor-manager will sparingly offer guidance, advice and suggestions when the individual has thought through possibilities first
  • The mentor-manager will encourage their team to take on additional tasks to develop and grow them
  • The mentor-manager will use a coaching style of communication.

Are you mostly coach-manager or mentor-manager?

When mentoring you are:

  • Advising and suggesting
  • Opening doors to your networks
  • Leading by example and as a role model
  • Sharing your experience and expertise
  • Focusing on specific development areas
  • Helping people to develop

When you are coaching you are:

  • Asking not telling
  • Suspending judgement and criticism
  • Empowering and encouraging
  • Challenging beliefs, thoughts & behaviours
  • Guiding the individual to a decision
  • Goal focused
  • Helping the individual to come to their own solution

Both these roles require exceptional levels of listening and questioning skills. Keep your eyes peeled for future blogs on these skills.

Don’t forget that having your own Executive Coach is the best way to experience the benefits of this powerful technique.

We can help you to learn the skills to coach your teams through a series of 1-2-1 coaching sessions and by developing you in management coaching skills.

Take a look at our Training Course page on our website for:

  • Coaching Conversations
  • Management & Leadership Coaching Skills
  • Team Coaching Skills
  • CMI Qualification in Coaching and Mentoring

Take a look at our Coaching page for Executive Coaching packages.