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31st March 2021

How a coaching management style can change the industry from the ground up

After months of research and planning, we’re excited to open enrolment for a unique new management course for young construction professionals delivered via the CIOB Academy, called “Coach for Results”.

It stems from my 44 years in the industry, the first half delivering projects for national contractors and the second coaching executive teams who lead companies and some of the largest projects in the UK. Here I’ll set out what the course is and why it will benefit the industry, its productivity and its people.

Coach for Results is a 10-week course you fit around your schedule that teaches the basic techniques of coaching to people in a leadership role or heading for one, so they can incorporate the techniques into their management style for better results.

Command and control: There’s a better way

A coaching style moves away from the industry’s default command-and-control management style, which issues instructions and monitors compliance, to one where the manager empowers their people to own their accountabilities and to fulfil them more effectively.

I believe the command-and-control model, in which I was steeped as a young project manager, increases stress, stifles initiative and erodes engagement, with negative consequences for people and productivity.

A coaching approach fosters engagement, excitement and initiative as people take control of their performance and grow in confidence.

The techniques are simple and easy to start using right away, anywhere, any time. It works in any situation where people come together to produce a result.

Why coaching?

We tend to think of construction as a technical industry but it’s actually a people one, and I say that as a chartered civil engineer.

To execute a project, people from disparate organisations, often with competing agendas, come together to achieve a big result under pressure. Technical competencies are the starting point, but it takes people skills to knit them together. It is from the gap where those skills should be that many of construction’s problems arise.

Despite this, people management and development are often overlooked in construction. Coach for Results will be a powerful grounding in the basics.

Happier people

As a coaching culture spreads we believe it will address another major concern, namely, the sub-optimal levels of staff engagement in construction today. We surveyed hundreds of construction professionals under the age of 40 and found that most of them – some 57% – would not recommend working in the industry to their peers.

They told us they want a more positive work environment, and to be supported by their managers to develop. That’s exactly what coaching does, so it’s not surprising that they were very keen on the course.

Since I can remember, we’ve wrung our hands over how to improve the image of construction to attract more talent. But what if we’ve got it the wrong way round?

What if it’s not the image that’s the problem, but the nature of our management culture? And what if a better, more productive management culture made people happier? We’d then have many thousands of people saying what a great industry it is!

Visit the course Coach for Results by clicking here