During my long professional life, my motivation to learn and improve my communication skills has always been very strong. I immediately realized that my role, having to deal with people, involved being able to interact with them effectively, whether they were my colleagues or superiors. What emerged was my need to learn how to manage people at all levels and this desire led me, more than 15 years ago, to complete a 2-years Professional Program in Selection, Training and Management of Human Resources.

A few years later, I realized that I needed to enhance my skills in the field of communication because a management assistant who operates at certain levels must know how to speak and write, (writing too is very important) to avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations. She must be able to negotiate and achieve satisfactory results for both parties involved and she must be able to manage relationships with any kind of interlocutor.

The third step was so natural that I didn’t even have to think about it: coaching.

Having recently embarked on this new road, I am sure that becoming a coach will allow me to improve my ability to manage projects and people in a better and more winning way. Not only managers but also management assistants can exercise this role within the company, because in today’s complex world, assistants are directly involved in changes taking place and must be able to manage them effectively, offering more specialized support in situations or moments of stress which require the skills of a coach.

Leadership skills, observation, focus, multitasking, motivation and accountability are just some of the fundamental skills that a coach must be able to utilize, but they are also the skills that management assistants must learn and hone throughout their working experiences.

Through a leadership role based on their prestige and on the team’s involvement, developing proactive and innovative attitudes and awareness of their role in the organization, management assistants can carry out their tasks more effectively.
I believe that at some point in our professional life it is necessary to enrich our technical skills with practices and methodologies of managerial coaching. Management assistants can also be the best coaches for their team, helping to lay the foundations of a balanced management relationship and a motivating and innovative culture.

It is a step forward compared to the usual role of assistants; it is an innovative and much more conscious version of our abilities compared to the past. The management assistant rises to the role of leader and, thanks to these new skills, can support managers working in synergy with them, working with them and not for them.

But we must not forget that this new aspect of the assistant-coach should not be compared to professional coaches. Whilst they provide the team with coaching skills, they are not allowed to practice as professional coaches, who offer sassistance to companies dealing with specific career development paths. Management assistants who train as coaches to improve their performance and that of their team acquire new skills that are aimed at improving relational behavioral and organizational aspects of the team.

The ultimate purpose of the application of these coaching skills must be aimed at:
– Learning to know ourselves, creating relationships of trust;
– Creating responsibility and involvement;
– Knowing how to ask questions that change the perspective and are thought provoking;
– Encouraging proactivity and innovation;

Management assistants have no authority, but their prestige and becoming leaders in the role is the result of both innate qualities and continuous learning and study. Those skills must be cultivated and updated. An assistant-coach can be defined as applying the specific skills needed to support team members in improving their effectiveness and troubleshooting, becoming a guide and a point of reference.

Using coaching competencies is an additional way to help our team to identify opportunities to improve their performances and abilities, showing respect, appreciation and approval.

In conclusion, management assistants can benefit from doing a training program in coaching in order to learning how to apply behavior and attitudes helpful to supporting the development of the potential and capabilities of their team. Management assistants have the important and delicate task of maintaining a positive and constructive mood at work, managing any change with competence, calmness and balance. Applying coaching skills is definitely a powerful tool at their service.

Mariachiara Novati lives in Milan, has a degree in Foreign Languages, a Master in HR Management and a second one in Marketing & Communication Management. She works as a Manager Assistant since 1992 covering different roles such as Scientific Secretary ... (Read More)

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