“From my point of view coaching is not a tool, it is a way of being. At best it is a way of being with someone so that they begin to believe in, and progress, their own ideas. Coaching your employees can best be achieved by setting up a certified coach training programme for managers so that they can coach their staff successfully by:
• ensuring there are clear agreements and confidentiality
• creating and maintaining the energy and space for them to further their own potential
• encouraging them to take calculated risks
• challenging their negative beliefs
• enjoying with them the sense of achievement
• working with them to enhance their potential
Successfully done coaching can greatly enhance the self-belief and motivation of staff, particularly in times of change and uncertainty.” (excerpt from Coaching in the Workplace by Jackie Arnold).
I agree! I have found no downside to effect coaching. Your team wants it. Your company/organization needs it. You, the leader, needs it!
So why don’t we do it consistently?
- Many people don’t know how to coach.
- Many people don’t value coaching. “I’ve told them once…why don’t they get it.”
- Many people don’t value other people.
- Many people have a skewed idea of what coaching is.
In the article mentioned above, Jackie Arnold goes on to say:
“One significant advantage of coaching is that your employees will begin to take ownership and responsibility for their actions and self-development. The good news is that the manager as coach does not need to come up with solutions. Instead you will be listening more closely to your staff, reflecting back what you hear and questioning them in order to bring out their ideas and solutions.”
My leadership and I have been working on developing our coaching skills. I am happy to say that they have dramatically improved! They have learned to ask great questions to get to the core of issues. And they don’t stop with just one question. They dig. They probe. They get their team members to really think. They get to the bottom of issues. And their team members are coming up with solutions.
So as you head into a coaching session, prepare yourself by writing down key questions you want to ask. Avoid questions that can be answered with a yes/no.
Not: “Did you learn something from that project?” Rather: “What did you learn from that project that you can apply going forward?
Not: “Did your interaction with that other department go well?” Rather: “How did your interaction go with that department?”
Not: “I see you did not complete the report on time. Are you going to get it done by next week?” Rather: “What got in your way that caused the report to be late? Who was affected by this delay? What needs to change in future for you to be more timely?”
It is easy to move into auto-pilot mode as a leader. You are busy. You’ve got your own deadlines and initiatives. But as a leader, you are supposed to get results through others. And those “others” also can slip into auto-pilot. Great questions help them break free from that mode. Great questions help you understand what is happening and why it is happening. Great questions help you and your team member become better.
Do some preparation in advance, and your next coaching session can improve!