Optimist Performance

Are you losing your best talent? The employee turnover rates have increased by 7.7% in the last four years in the UK and it will continue to rise in 2024. So, what can you do to stop your best employee from walking out the door? 

Are you familiar with the saying “people leave managers, not companies”? Having competitive salaries and perks is important, but money is not everything. Additionally, it is essential to think not only about keeping your employees in post but also about keeping them happy and engaged. This is where a coaching leadership style can help you reduce your turnover and increase long-term employee satisfaction and engagement.

What are the main reasons for people leaving their jobs?

42% of respondents to the IIP survey stated that having a bad boss was their primary reason for leaving their job.

According to a survey conducted by Investors in People (IPP), the main reasons for people leaving their jobs in 2023, after money, are management, being valued, career progression, and working hours. 

Check out our article about how poor managers can hurt your team morale.

Consider factors in your organisation that could be adversely affecting staff retention rates – these might not be immediately obvious but employee engagement survey results can be one way of identifying priorities or pinch-points for organisational culture.

What is a coaching leadership style?

A coaching leadership style is centred around people and their needs, and when done well, can help people feel more satisfied, engaged and connected to the organisation and the team.

This leadership approach aims to bring the best out in teams by guiding them through goals and challenges. The ultimate purpose is to develop people and create a continuous learning environment. In leadership terms, a coaching leader would also act often as a mentor or guide to individuals, Offering guidance and support when needed. 

Sir John Whitmore described it as “A coaching style of leadership requires that you connect at the human level, beyond the task and stop thinking that the leader is “the expert” who has to tell everyone the best way to do things. Coaching is based on trust, belief and non-judgement.” 

A coaching leadership style generates awareness and responsibility in people: 

coaching leadership style

*The benefits of a coaching leadership style (source: Coaching for Performance book)

There are many skills we can work on in order to become better leaders. Fortunately, studies have shown that managers can improve their coaching skills in as little as 15 hours, provided they’re prepared to invest in how to learn to coach in the first place. 

For a coaching leadership style, there are two skills that are essential. The first one is the ability to ask great questions. Coaching is about self-reflection, and this is something only we can do, we cannot be told to change our behaviours, we need to go on this journey ourselves. 

Read more about “how to use questions to empower your team”  here.

The second skill is active listening. Actively listening to someone instead of just waiting to respond is one of the most effective ways to understand your employees but also to make them feel valued and appreciated. 

You can learn more about active listening here. 

How can you use a coaching leadership style to reduce employee turnover?

Using a coaching leadership style is about helping people with self-reflection and allowing them to come up with their own answers. By asking questions that seek to understand your team and actively listening to their view of the world, you can help them find their own purpose but also align it to the purpose of the organisation. 

You also need to help people recognise the value they bring to the organisation and encourage them to bring the best version of themselves to their job. When we are too involved in our day-to-day tasks this can be challenging, a classic case of not being able to see the wood for the trees. As a leader, you have the responsibility to help them see their positive impact on the organisation, which will help people feel more involved and valued. 

An important part of a coaching leadership style is recognising we don’t have all the answers. This knowledge will help you avoid micromanaging and instead encourage people to find the answers for themselves. This will in turn encourage autonomy and ownership. Allowing people to come up with their own ideas, projects and new ways of working, will encourage them to take responsibility. 

Ultimately, a leader/coach facilitates conversations: using meetings, team away days and 1-1s not only to discuss operational stuff but also to gain a deeper understanding of your team and enhance trust. Knowing your team and their individual needs can help you find the right flexibility and motivation that people need to feel happy and engaged with their jobs. 

Check our article about how to optimise performance reviews here.

The Optimist View…

Ultimately, we all want to feel valued, be part of a team, and feel we contribute to a bigger purpose. And this is where a coaching leadership style can help your organisation. 

It changes the dynamics from telling or dictating to a more collaborative and empowered environment where people feel safe to speak up and share their ideas, which will, no doubt, encourage them to take more responsibility. 

At Optimist Performance, we work with leaders to help them develop the necessary skills to become even better leaders. As we said before, no one has all the answers, and coaching is about continuous learning. This is what we are passionate about, helping leaders become their best selves to in turn get the most out of their teams and ensure their organisation goes from strength to strength.

If you want to take your and your team’s leadership skills to the next level, get in touch with us.