In most organizations, implementing a program to help new managers grow into their roles and responsibilities can be key to increasing organizational performance. People are promoted to manager after displaying above average performance as individual contributors, but often find the transition difficult and their new role more challenging and nuanced than they imagined. CoachingOurselves provides a solution. By grouping new managers into peer-coaching groups and using CoachingOurselves modules, they can help one another through this critical transition, creating a community of practice and speeding up their professional development.
A program for new managers can be structured over 12-18 months with one CoachingOurselves session per month. It’s important the first session uses a module that grabs their attention, followed by several sessions that break down preconceived notions and open up critical reflection and introspection. The sessions in the middle of the program are usually centered around specific managerial challenges, such as Practical Tips for Leading Meetings that Matter or Candid Conversations, and the closing sessions should focus on broader themes such as culture, strategy, and change.
We recommend the module Accountability: It’s a Tricky World as a prime starting module for new managers. Let’s look closer at some effective modules for the rest of this program.
After the first module, it’s important to break down participants’ preconceived notions of management and guide them into a more reflective state. We recommend the following modules:
Managing to Lead: This introduces young managers to the difference between task focused vs. people focused management styles, guiding them through the nuances through the lense of situational leadership.
Management Competency Raising: Open up managers eyes with a list of competencies that ALL managers must practice and have them delve further into one or two competencies based on their specific needs.
Managing on the Tightropes: The Inescapable Conundrums of Managing: This module will destabilize new managers by having them reflect on and discuss some classic problems they will face.. For example, how to connect when managing in inherently disconnected, how to go deep when the pressure is on to get things done, and how to be confident as a manager without becoming arrogant?
Managing on the Planes of Information, People, and Action: Participants reflect and discuss the very essence of managing, or rather, what it is that managers actually do. They reflect and discuss the realities of their job using the three planes of managing model: through information, with people, and to direct action.
After these opening modules, we select a series of modules that will engage participants on more focused themes around the different aspects of managing. For example:
Influencing Others: Leading through Trust: This is a fantastic module by Harvard professor Linda Hill that explores some classic managerial pitfalls in regards to influencing others and helps participants strengthen their influence through competence and character.
FeedForward instead of FeedBack: Module author Marshall Goldsmith has participants practice giving feedforward (or suggestions for the future), rather than feedback.
Brand Building for Every Manager: This module focuses on branding. It has been used very effectively in organizations that believe every manager, at every level in an organization, need to understand and be able to articulate the meaning of their organizations’ brand(s) and understand their role in shaping the brand(s).
Candid Conversations: To get better at having candid conversations managers need to learn AND to practice. This module does both very effectively, and it opens new perspectives on how to build a culture of candor amongst their teams and in their organizations.
Practical Tips for Leading Meetings that Matter: This is an extremely practical and to the point module on leading effective meetings that is immediately applicable to the day to day of any manager.
Analyzing Employee Performance: One of the most important jobs of a manager is to manage the performance of their team members. This module leads managers through a process to effectively analyze their employees’ performance and diagnose and determine why they may not be performing as expected.
Five Ideas about Teamwork: This module guides participants through a discussion on teamwork and helps them identify specific actions they can take to improve how their teams function.
Talent Management: Introduce managers to one of their essential new roles: rather than just getting things done themselves, they now need to focus on helping their team members become better at getting things done. Managers will discover what they can do to get the most from their unit and organization.
Seeing Beyond Belief: Observation Skills for Managers: Few managers will admit that they need to work on their observation skills, but observation is a skill that is far more complex than just noticing details. This module turns a critical eye on how participants observe in order to shed light on how they manage.
The following modules are not typically thought of as applicable for new managers, but can be very useful to align broader organizational initiatives and strategies in this type of program.
One Planet Business – Sustainability: This module has participants engage in a dialog on how sustainability can be a driver of innovation and value creation and examines current organizational practices to help create practical steps for a more sustainable future.
It Does have an Off Button: This quirky, yet serious, module invites participants to appreciate both the benefits and threats of modern technologies. How can they harness technology to improve the managerial effectiveness? How can they become far more effective managers by reducing their addiction to technology?
Gender Inclusive Leadership: Participant learn to appreciate the importance of gender inclusivity in the workplace and develop practical actions that will help them develop and shape their organizational culture into one that is more welcoming and inclusive.
Building Purpose in Life and Work: This module invites reflection and discussion on how managers can help their team members and themselves achieve greater purpose at work and create a purpose-driven organization.
To end a new manager program, we recommend two or three modules that push participants to reflect, discuss, and act on the broader aspects of managing, such as change, culture, and strategy. Some modules that address these issues and have proven strong closing modules are:
Ten Ways to Release Change: This module presents ten methods to enact change in organizations. The methods will help participants reframe how they approach change and provide new ways to intervene.
Changing Things: What and How: Participants focus on how to make one specific change happen in their organization, which helps them explore how individual leaders can catalyze change overall.
Introducing Culture in Organization: This module will help managers understand why culture is so important and why it should matter to them. Participants will discuss and reflect on how recognizing their own organization’s culture can impact how they react and deal with problems and become better managers.
Managing Culture Change: Beyond the Status Quo: Participants will have an opportunity to examine a specific cultural change goal and use a “force-field analysis” to clarify the forces responsible for maintaining the status quo in their organization.
Strategic Thinking as Seeing: Participants will enhance their capacity to recognize strategic issues and work on addressing some of the key problems in their organization. This module is a perfect introduction to strategic thinking for new managers.
This is an outline of a CoachingOurselves’ peer-coaching program adapted to suit the unique needs of new managers. By implementing a program with the modules listed above, new managers will increase reflection and knowledge sharing around skills and issues important to new managers to increase their work performance and help them ease into their new position with success. For more information on how to set up a new managers program using CoachingOurselves in your organization, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.