Coaching employees is important for continuity of an organization. Your leadership team needs to pass on the wisdom and knowledge they have gathered over the years to the upcoming managers. As a leader, I believe this is an important indicator of your commitment to your organization. Are you taking time to coach the middle-level managers to be great leaders, maybe even better than you are?
A coach (you) is someone who trains and teaches, therefore, coaching is helping others to develop, improve, and learn new skills. Business coaching leads to empowered personnel, therefore increasing their productivity.
It is not only important to know how to coach, but also important to be effective at it. Here are five keys that will help you move from being just a coach to being an effective coach.
1. Start with Relationships
Coaching focuses on helping, not controlling. Therefore, to help an employee to improve you need to have a relationship first. For example, a manager who leads by position cannot coach others because his focus is on personal authority and power not the other person. This is no way to build a relationship.
The coached can only listen and learn from someone he or she trusts, and similarly will follow the leader he or she trusts.
As the coach you need to develop trust with the coached, set out clear objectives of the coaching, exercise patience with them, and fulfill your promise.
2. Get Consent from the Coached
You cannot force your agenda onto another person because they may not take it well. In most cases a manager will coach an employee in a performance area that they need to improve. Imagine a scenario where you just inform the employee they are not doing well and you will show them how to get better. Do you think they will learn from you?
The key is to clarify where the performance issue is and get the employee to acknowledge and understand it. Then ignite a desire in them to get better at it and show them your improvement plans. The employee will willingly accept to do it your way and your coaching journey will begin.
Keep in mind, it will be a waste of time and energy to proceed with coaching without an agreement from the employee.
3. Encourage and Support
This is the essence of coaching. As you develop the coached, you need to do it by encouraging and supporting them. The result of your coaching should be a productive manager or employee.
Important to note is that coaching is not one sided. The coached plays a critical role just like the coach. Listen to them as they vent or express their challenges without judging them harshly because this is what they are experiencing. From these conversations you will learn how to support and lead them in the right direction.
When you encourage, cheer them on to achieve set goals. Just like the crowd cheering an athlete in a race motivates him to run faster, being the cheerleader will propel your employee forward.
4. Challenge Them
Your coaching cannot be effective if all you do is encourage them. Get the employee to question the norm and come up with creative ways to doing things. When a situation is challenging, ask them open-ended questions to make them think deeper and harder on a solution. As much as you may have ideas of your own, do not give them away.
Challenging the status quo and taking calculated risks builds their confidence. With increased confidence in decision-making, the coached will achieve more.
5. Give Feedback
At the start of a coaching relationship, you need to set goals. Always let the employee know how they are performing. Are they getting better? If not, what is holding them back? Coaching is a continuous journey with evaluation stopovers.
Remember these rules of thumb when providing feedback – be specific on what has changed or not, focus on the “what” not the reason “why”, be timely and use a sincere tone.
Bringing it Together
Keep in mind that you are coaching different individuals with different needs. Set out SMART goals to match the employees improvement needs from the onset. This way you can measure the outcome and know whether the coaching was effective or not. Incorporate coaching as part of your company culture; it is beneficial to all parties involved.
Iron sharpens iron. Sharpen the younger generations to build better future organizations.