This 3-article series from Claudia Filsinger, an Executive Coach at the Executive Coaching Consultancy, considers how managers can coach successfully remotely and across cultures.
A number of developments have led to an increased complexity of the contemporary line managers’ task. Globalisation has resulted in the increase of virtual teams where managers have direct reports based in multiple locations - often with different cultural backgrounds. Equally, managers of co-located teams work across cultures due to an increasingly mobile and diverse workforce. In parallel, the expectation of the line manager to act as a coach to their team members has become prevalent and many job descriptions mention coaching skills as a key requirement. Apart from the informal use of coaching as a management style, many organisations implement formal ‘Manager-as-Coach’ programmes.
Global organisations that implement Manager-as-Coach programmes need to consider the special context these are set in: a challenging triangle consisting of the three dimensions ‘Manager-as-Coach relationship’, ‘coaching across cultures’ and ‘coaching virtually’. All three of these dimensions have to be mastered for a successful coaching outcome. Usually line managers are expected to master this task with very little appropriate support. The following questions spring to mind when considering the special requirements of this context: What are the coaching skills required for coaching direct reports remotely across cultures? How is the coaching best undertaken in terms of technology? What are the pitfalls to consider?
Although some research on managing virtual cross-cultural teams, virtual coaching and the Manager-as-Coach exists separately, line managing with a coaching style in a virtual and cross-cultural setting hasn’t been addressed specifically. In this 3-article series findings on potential issues and best practice from existing research and practitioner literature are combined to shed light on the coaches’ skills requirements. Further, recommendations how organisation that plan a formal Manager-as-Coach model can support line managers of dispersed multi-cultural teams are made.
Article 1: Manager-as-Coach
Article 2: Coaching across cultures
Article 3: Coaching virtually
By Claudia Filsinger, an Executive Coach with the Executive Coaching Consultancy and lecturer in Business, Management and Coaching at Oxford Brookes University Business School.
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