How do you coach and develop people

Review by Petra Jagow

Elisabeth Haberleitner & Elisabeth Deistler & Robert Ungvari (2009)

Leading, promoting, coaching: this is how you develop the potential of your employees. M ...

A book for executives - based on numerous seminars with this target group looking for a more constructive approach to the current and future professional requirements of a leadership role.
In terms of content, a plausible introduction - in changed organizations and companies, purely hierarchical leadership according to the Tayloristic principle no longer works. Ideas such as "one person thinks, the other work" or "trust is good, control is better" have had their day. They cost too much time and effort and also give away the valuable potential of employees who supposedly only work on instructions. Such an understanding of leadership is not without consequences, the employees miss the appreciation and refuse each other step by step. The respective manager has the impression within a very short time that they only have "weak" employees and that it is best to do everything themselves. A vicious circle closes.
The authors want to show ways in which this circle can be broken. To this end, they suggest taking up the basic attitude and suitable elements of coaching and using them as a manager in dealing with employees in order to develop them, increase their participation, promote their development and strengthen their personal responsibility in achieving goals. Quote on the blurb: "Managers have a hard time! They should guarantee the company's success, but at the same time be a role model and qualified companion for their employees. The solution is called coaching - a management method (!) That promotes personal responsibility and entrepreneurial thinking on the part of employees as well as more freedom for the management of strategic tasks creates. "
In order to win managers over to this view of things, all theoretical basics in dealing with people are methodically and cleanly listed. These are then translated step by step for their relevance in relation to the desired coaching ratio and supported with numerous case studies from practice. The theoretical models and constructs are compared to one another by means of graphic graphics, typical behavior and thought patterns in the form of diagrams for an overview.
As an author, you can conceptualize it like this, but crucial psychological questions remain unanswered: What can be done about the fears mentioned, the initially resulting confusion of the employees, but certainly also that of the manager himself? And even more important: Who are these managers who should see themselves as coaches for their employees in the future? In the opinion of the reviewer, anyone who is promoted in an organization is characterized by a specific, result- and efficiency-oriented behavior. Suddenly changing this behavior fundamentally as a result of reading a book is unrealistic. Because the fear of making mistakes in these times applies to managers as well as employees.
This is not intended to question the content, but the claim of the book itself - as if a manager could develop independently with it: to become a coach for their employees. Even though it is consistently pointed out that this form of coaching should focus on purely professional aspects between manager and employee: We know from external coaching that this separation is more than artificial. And it makes sense that there are external coaching, seminars and similar forms, because changing a proven behavior requires tremendous energy and at the same time always releases deep-seated fears. It is not without reason that protected spaces have developed for this, in order to carefully approach new forms and at the same time to absorb and accompany concerns and fears.
The authors themselves know this from their own experience from their seminars, all the more astonishing is the vehemence with which they speak of the "ideal world" and want to convey this with their suggestions - as if the willing manager could with sufficient insight and effort against the background Cope with all of the ongoing demands in everyday work alone. Therefore one can see the reading as a useful addition, support and deepening in order to work on such an attitude. Reading alone cannot replace coaching. To convey this claim goes far too high; that is my clear criticism of the work. Because if you try, you may run into even bigger problems than with your previous method, which is also largely still rewarded by organizations and companies.