Coaching to Become Better by Jim Johnson

coaching

Will your team get better just because they show up for work?  Doubtful.

Coaching is the only, sustainable way to improve your team.  Of course, your team needs training and communication, but coaching is the only way YOU, the coach/manager/leader, will be able to enable them to become better.

As a leader, you cannot rely on other leaders to improve their teams to compensate for weaknesses on your team.  Each team leader must dedicate themselves to team improvement.  Then, as a whole, your company becomes better.

Improve your coaching and you help your team members become better.  Then your team becomes better.  Your company (and your customers and communities) become better.

That’s a winning combination.

 

Voice vs. Vote by Jim Johnson

Every day, decisions are made at organizations everywhere.  In some companies, a select few are chosen to make the decisions.  In other organizations, more of a team approach is taken.  And there are plenty of examples of everything in between.

Your team members need to understand how decisions are made in your particular company, and they should understand what role they could play in the decision-making process.

I call the the Voice vs. Vote understanding.

If you serve in a company that allows team contribution during a decision-making venture (i.e. bringing on a new vendor, new software solution, etc.), be sure you are doing the following with/for your team members:

  1. Be on their side.  Actually, breakdown the “sides” and help them know their input is important to share.  And have them share it in the appropriate channels.  Ask for and expect open communication and the flow of ideas.
  2. Encourage them.  I’ve seen team members complain about a process but they offer no input into that process.  Encourage them to get involved!
  3. Give power to their voice.  Get them on a project where their experience and expertise are needed.  Expect collaboration.  Tell them that their voice needs to be heard.  Help connect them to the right people during a decision-making process so their voice is heard.
  4. Help them succeed.  Don’t assume your team member knows how to voice their opinion into a decision-making process.  Show them the way.  Help them succeed – even if their idea is not acted upon.
  5. Help them understand.  The decision-making process, recommendations, and letting go are critical for your team to understand.  Do not assume they already know how the “powers-that-be” operate.

Hopefully at your organization, everyone has a voice.  But as I explain to my team, not everyone gets a vote in the end.  But the voices during the decision-making process are vital for great decisions to be made.

speak up

 

Do You See Your Team? by Jim Johnson

Do you see your team? Do you see them as people, individuals?  Do you make personal connections with them?

Or do you see them merely as a position or someone to get something done for you?  When we do this, our staff, as human beings, can feel invisible or not valued. 

If we take the time to get to know our teams as individuals who have hopes, dreams, needs, and aspirations, I believe our teams will become better teams. As we work to connect with them on a personal level, our professional connections deepen as well. They will see that you are working to add value to them not only as an employee but as a human being. And when that happens, they will be more dedicated and more willing to buy into our vision.

Years ago I had the honour to be on the USS Nimitz – a nuclear aircraft carrier in San Diego. I had the privilege of meeting Captain Mark Manzier and hear how he interacted with the 5,000 to 6,000 men and women who served with him on that ship.

Every day he would connect with the crew in different ways and in different places. One day he met a young man and asked who he was and where he lived back home. The young man told him and then explained to the captain that his wife had just had their first baby. The captain asked if the baby was a boy or girl and learned the name. 

Later the captain was in a meeting with his commanding officers. And he asked the commanding officer who was over this young man, “What recently happened in the life of this young man can you tell me about it?”  I was told by another officer that in these circumstances, the superior officer had better have a good answer for the captain.

The captain built-in accountability into his lead staff. He found value in his leadership team knowing about the personal things that we’re going on in their crew’s lives. The captain also found value in making that personal connection himself. As the captain explained it, “There will be times when we go into battle and I will call on these men and women to do things that they naturally would not want to do. At that point of decision, they need to know I have their best interest in mind and that they trust me.”

Today, make a personal connection with your team. I’m not asking you to become their best friend. But I’m asking you to personally invest in them. Do you know what their family life is like? Do you know about their kids? Their hobbies?  Their interests?

Be intentional about “seeing” your staff.  

Coaching – what happens to YOU when your team gets better through your coaching by Jim Johnson

If you lead a team, you are coaching (or, at least, I trust that you are).  I just gave a presentation this morning on why coaching is so important for our team members.  I also shared the following on what happens to the COACH when he/she becomes a better:

  1. Your reputation improves in your company.
  2. Your influence expands on your team and in your company.
  3. Your voice/opinion is respected on your team and with your colleagues.
  4. Your future will reveal more opportunities for you.

There is no down side to working hard at becoming a better coach.  Yes, your team members will become better, but YOU have benefits when you commit yourself to becoming a better coach.

Remember:  “You influence from a distance.  You impact up close.”  Dwight Robertson

Commit to impact.  You will create a better world around you.

when leaders become beter

“But Enough About Me”

My boss just shared the following with our Lead Team.  It is worth your time to read this.  I’m not sure where he found this, but read it, let it sink in, and then let’s all do it. 

if you make listening

But Enough About Me…

I sat in on a solid coaching session with a regional manager and two area managers while traveling last week.

Okay, to be honest, I sat near the session and not “in it”.

The hotel I was staying in was under construction and the temporary dining area was not very large. 

I was given the one open table near three guys having dinner and talking shop.

Not having earplugs or a television close enough to focus on, their conversation became the soundtrack of my meal. Thankfully, the most senior guy in the group doled out some pretty good advice.

Beyond the nuts and bolts of their particular business (some type of manufacturing), there was a more general piece of advice he gave that had me smiling and trying to see the reactions from his mid-30-years old dinner mates.

He told them, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I heard way too many complaints about First World problems in front of your teams today.”

As his dinner mates smiled sheepishly, he continued, “You guys are doing well. I know you work hard and believe me, I’m proud of our results. But your teams don’t need to hear about how much your kids’ private schools cost or how frustrated you are with the guys putting in your new pool.”

I will give him credit.

He made that point in a clear, yet non-scolding way.

As they joked around a bit about not wanting to sound like “that guy”, the senior manager put a nice ribbon on the subject.

He told them, “Look, sometimes the difference between the boss that you are inspired by and one that you resent is what he or she talks about most. If you are always talking about yourself, they see you as a ‘me first’ person.”

He continued, “If you are asking questions about their jobs, their families, their goals… they’ll walk through a wall for you because they know you are interested in their success…not just yours.”

I fought off the urge to lean over and high-five that senior manager.

Well, mostly because that would have been really weird.

Whether it is the employees working for you, the peers working with you or the customers you work for, how much of your conversations are centered on them?

Folks who focus their attention on others tend to attract more goodwill and success towards themselves.

Strive to be that person.

-Dave Martin

focus on others

Adding Value – Kindness & Consideration

Leaders seek to add value at every opportunity.  Some tend to think of this as primarily offering advice or come up with a solution.  I want to encourage you to look to add value by doing this:

Demonstrate Kindness & Consideration

We life in a harsh world.  Sometimes that harshness creeps into our team members’/coworkers’ lives when least expected.  Add value to them during these times by showing some kindness.

How do you do that?

  • Listen – not as a counselor, but as someone who cares.
  • Encourage – write a short note to say “thank you” to someone you noticed has been working hard and getting results
  • Praise – don’t underestimate your spoken praise for a team member. This simple action can carry them for many days (weeks?)
  • Share – share a resource that might be of help to someone you know is struggling (I had the privilege of doing just this today!).

What else could you do to add value to someone who truly needs it? Be creative.  Share addition ideas in the comments below.

add value

What Does it Mean to be Coachable? by Jim Johnson

As a leader, you are the coach of your team.  I’m assuming you conduct at least monthly coaching sessions designed to help your team members become better at their jobs. A lot has been written on being an effective coach.  But here’s my question for you today:

What does it mean to be coachable? 

I would love to read your comments, insights, thoughts on this.  Please comment so others can read the responses.

michael jordan on being coachable