If you want to be a great manager, you need to be a great coach. Say you’ve identified something you’d like an employee to be better at. How do you support them in reaching that goal?
One of the first things you need to do is demonstrate confidence in their ability to succeed. That’s what legendary football coach Vince Lombardi did on the field, and his players rarely failed to rise to his expectations. When Bart Starr, the future Hall of Fame football quarterback, called a time-out to ask the coach for instructions as the team lined up for a play on the opposition one-yard line, Lombardi’s directions were simple: “Score!” he told his quarterback, and then turned away. Starr never forgot that vote of confidence.
Show your employees you believe in them, and use these five key steps for effective coaching.
Define the “what”
As Stephen Covey wrote, “Begin with the end in mind.” You and the employee together are going to make an investment in coaching. Be as precise as you can about what you want them to do better and what you want them to learn. You are, in fact, outlining for the employee a vision of what their performance can be.
Listen during coaching
You and your employee must eventually reach a shared understanding of the employee’s strengths and development needs. To accomplish this listen actively and determine what the employee already believes they know well and where they lack confidence. You will also want to understand where the employee’s self-interest lies (you can be sure that even if they don’t say it, the employee will be thinking “What’s in this for me?”).
Define the “how”
Remember that you’re coaching an adult. Once you’re confident that they understand the “what,” engage them in planning how they might meet their development need. Work on this together. Some employees might focus solely on courses or workshops as learning opportunities. You might have to help them see how new assignments, projects or tasks can be very effective learning opportunities.
Once you’ve agreed on a development plan, follow through on your commitments and make sure that the employee does the same. Schedule regular updates and allow the employee to lead the review as much as possible.
Allow for practice time
Don’t expect perfection when an employee completes a course or a development assignment. Provide feedback on positive developments to encourage ongoing motivation. However, don’t avoid providing timely corrective feedback whenever it’s needed.
Martin Birt is the president of HRaskme.com. After serving seven years in the Canadian Army as a combat arms officer, he has enjoyed a thirty-five year career as a human resources manager, consultant and sought-after adviser to business executives. He can be contacted here.
MORE WAYS TO MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEES BETTER:
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- The Employees That Deserve 80% of Your Attention »
Do you agree? What’s your employee coaching strategy? Let us know using the comments section below.