Here is a quick video about how we should engage and empower our team. It does make a difference!
“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!
I do a lot of coaching and work with coaches on their coaching. Over the years, I’ve heard from coaches where they have team players that “do get it”. Through many coaching sessions, the team player continues to remain where they are, not improving. At times, this static-ness becomes a detriment to the team.
In a conversation with one of these coaches who had one of these team players, I asked, “Who does most of the talking during your coaching sessions?”
“I do,” the coach quickly responded.
“And you continue to see the same results from this team member?” I ask.
“Yes, and I’m frustrated!”
“Then talk less,” I say, “it’s time you ask them for a commitment to change.”
This launched us into a good conversation about the coach’s focus – it had been all about what the coach wanted to happen. The team member only had to sit and listen. The team member “had to have skin in the game.” They just had to endure a coaching session, and then it was back to the same behaviors.
There was no commitment coming from the team member. None.
So the coach and agreed upon these next steps:
- At the next coaching session, the coach would approach the same topic but this time ask the team member for their commitment to the process.
- The coach would ask something such as: “What things do you need to do more of or less of to bring about the change needed in your performance and to improve your relationships with your coworkers?”
- The coach then needed to be quiet and expect answers from the team member. Ask more follow up questions and listen.
- The coaching session would be documented and followed-up on.
- The coach would take time in between coaching sessions to be around the team even more to observe and listen.
- Feedback would be provided at future coaching sessions.
- The team member’s commitment would be reviewed and evaluated in future sessions.
This plan was implemented. It worked. The coach remained consistent. The team member complied and improved. But she eventually left the company. Why?
Expectations were backed up with accountability – the team member didn’t want this kind of accountability over the long-haul. She knew (in my opinion) that she would not keep up her end of the commitment. So she left. And that was ok.
The coach’s team is now performing well together. Their results have improved. Their reputation has improved among their peers.
Leader, do not be afraid to ask for a commitment from your team. Back up your expectations with accountability. Be consistent in your coaching, documentation, and follow-up. Your team can and will improve!
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.
We have all been at those meetings. The ones where people talk for the hell of it and without thinking. Before you know it the meeting is over and nothing is decided, much less discussed.
Less is definitely more when it comes to meetings. The smart people know what to say, when to say it and keep it concise.
Inspired by a note I spotted in the occupied office I have designed a handy flow chart for your meeting room that might keep things on track.
Find out more about Alan, see his flow chart on this topic, and reading more great content by following this link: http://workcompass.com/w-a-i-t-why-am-i-talking-a-better-meeting-guide/
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:
- Your reputation improves in your company.
- Your influence expands on your team and in your company.
- Your voice/opinion is respected on your team and with your colleagues.
- 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.
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.
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.