When leaders in any organization take coaching seriously good things inevitably follow. Coaching can help people get and stay focused, learn and develop more quickly and increase their level of effort. But, the problem is that lots of us have never had any formal training on how to coach and some of us have even had some pretty bad experiences with coaches.
The case for coaching
Not all coaching is good coaching. It’s a fact and we have to realize that if we are in a position of authority and we don’t know how to coach we can actually damage people’s ability to perform. This in itself makes a strong case for why coaching is so important if we want better results and why what I call tailor-made coaching works.
The most effective kind of coach’s and individual in a position to provide feedback encouragement counsel and accountability to another individual with the purpose of helping that person improve his or her performance and develop his or her talents.
The value of coaching for business leaders
A study I read recently shows that business leaders overwhelmingly realize the importance of coaching. A whopping 82% of the sample stated that effective coaching was critical to their success. The operative word here is critical and an even larger proportion of this group a full 93% of participants believe that employees wanted in needed coaching.
74% of them say that most employees don’t get enough feedback and coaching. Business leaders also demonstrated some sensitivity to the demands of good coaching as well. 68% of them believe that was critically important to know their people to be a successful coach. 78% believe that the two most important factors in the coaching process were understanding the employees ability and the employees motivation.
But the most telling result of the survey was the following: 80% of business leaders in the sample believe that their coaching skills needed to improve and a full 66% stated that they struggled to make time for coaching. So coaching is a bit like exercise. We all realize it’s important but many of us struggle to make time for it. The difference is that coaching influences the health of your organization, of your career and of the careers of your staff.
The coaching process
- If you are the coach, first look in the mirror and become more aware of your own strengths and weaknesses as a leader were coaching is concerned;
- Accept that you need ongoing feedback and accountability if you were going to be able to change your own behavior and became an effective coach;
- Identify specific behaviors that you need to model for your team in order to let your people know that you are serious about change. Simply, get real and know if you are doing something that sets a poor example;
- Define winning for your team; once your team has goals for the upcoming time you will have to identify a scorecard of specific performance metrics to measure their performance;
- Let everybody in the entire organization know exactly what was expected of them as a work unit so as people would have a better understanding of what is their role;
- Translate team goals into individual goals through a formalized performance planning cycle with each of your people.
Help each of your people identify the things that they need to do to make a real contribution to the team’s overall success;
- Asked your employees to prepare descriptions of their key responsibilities and activities and to take a first shot at setting goals in each of their key performance areas;
- Met one-on-one with each of your people to discuss and formalize each employee’s actual roles goals and value added responsibilities for the upcoming performance period;
- Clarify for everyone the expectations and standards they need to meet and take the chance to describe what success would look like both for the department and for all of the individuals involved.
Each of your colleagues will emerge from the process with a full understanding of what they needed to do to meet their new and more demanding departmental goals. It’s equally important that managers and their staffs determined the things that are and are not part of each persons job.
Effective coaches work with their people to identify and eliminate time wasting and non-value-added activities that can creep into any job over time. This helps everyone use their time resources and talents more effectively. In going through the coaching process the team might identify a number of activities, practices, meetings and reports that are no longer value added or needed within the organization.
By identifying resource wasters your team is in a better position to focus on the truly important things. Using the performance equation which is always a function of talent times motivation time support to make sure that each of your people is equipped also helps. At the end of the performance planning session you and your a staff will be more clearly focused on what you needed to do, both as a group and individually in order to be successful.
Agreeing on performance expectations and the new performance period began it is critically important for you to take the time to monitor and track the ongoing performance of each of your people. You now have the time to spend observing and monitoring your employees activities as well as their output.
In doing so you put yourself in a perfect position to provide your employees with ongoing feedback so as to recognize, reinforce, realign and reward desired behaviors and to help keep each of them on track. Maybe make a point of managing by walking around in order to stay connected to your team and observe their interaction with customers and other stakeholders.