Let’s be honest, we don’t take enough care of our middle managers. We expect them to lead their teams and get the job done but usually they have been promoted to manager on the strength of their ‘technical’ skills. They will have had precious little training or support to develop the skills they need to manage people.
They end up being the ‘squeezed middle’. Junior staff get training so they can deliver better for customers. Senior managers get support to make sure there is effective leadership of the organisation often in the form of personal coaching.
For senior managers, coaching is usually seen as a positive process of professional development but for other managers it is more likely to be viewed as remedial work to deal with perceived weaknesses.
That is a very short-sighted approach which does not help with the reality of modern organisations. Middle managers are the people who turn the organisation’s purpose and values into the front-line experience of the customer. They are also the group of people that will provide tomorrow’s senior leaders.
It makes sense that investment in middle managers will bring benefits for both the staff they manage and customers by improving their management of both people and processes. The benefits that come from growing your own future leaders are enormous including savings on recruitment budgets and having leaders who already know the organisation and its culture.
Coaching is a great way to help managers develop their awareness of how their behaviour impacts on others, their own strengths and how to get the best out of the people they manage.