Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Coaching and mentoring your team, part of Motivating and Engaging Employees.
- Today we know that great leadership is all about great coaching. Coaching typically involves: The purpose of coaching is to create new skills to help the employee perform better in the role they currently occupy. You're shooting for short-term behavioral change. A coach might be your boss, another internal leader or expert, or an outside expert hired for a fee. They learn about you through past interactions, personal observations, feedback provided by your peers, and through your employee evaluations.
The behavioral targets for change might be hard or soft skills, and in either case you will strive to set goals over one or two performance periods, not one or two years. The coaching process has six steps. The first is to identify the opportunity for coaching. You have to recognize when there's an opportunity to help someone by focusing on a particular skill. Do keep in mind that, generally speaking, you want to intervene as a coach after observing a problematic pattern of behavior, not simply a one-time incident.
Sometimes coaching is driven by your personal observations. Other times, outside sources might be responsible for initiating coaching. For example, you might be asked to coach a peer because their recent evaluation identified an area for improvement that happens to be one of your strengths. Step two is to clearly define the desired outcome. Coaching is about filling an identified gap. So it's important to take the time to pinpoint what the situation will look like when the gap is filled. For example, if you're coaching a person on how to run a meeting more effectively, you might define the outcome as being able to conduct meetings that consistently end on time, having met all stated objectives.
Without this concrete vision, people can lose focus. So take the time to paint a clear picture. And make sure they're with you. They have to be bought in and willing to own this goal in order to make it work. The third step is to provide needed resources. This might include time, access to certain tangible resources, or access to certain people. Define exactly what's required for success and work to ensure these things are available for the person. Otherwise you might motivate them to engage a new skill, only to watch them become frustrated when they realize they lack the tools needed to get the job done.
Step four is actual practice and skill development. Once the skill gap is identified, the end state defined, and the resources are in place, it's time to act. Start with candid conversation about the actual instances the person has lived through to make this skill area as relevant as possible. You might even try using a role-playing mode for a while, with the goal being to present mock situations to the person that allows them to engage the skill area, and allows you to offer feedback.
Of course, finally, set them loose to go do their job without your direction. At that point you use a few check-ins, whether live or electronic, to see if they're attending to the new behavior or falling back on the old habit. The fifth step is about reinforcing progress. One of the biggest fallacies managers believe is that if someone knows something, they'll do it. But it doesn't necessarily work that way. People don't always do what they know. Sometimes they'll just fall back on what they've always done.
That's where you come in. Be positive, but be a little aggressive in inquiring about their progress. If possible, ask others about their observations of the person being coached. Then give the needed feedback to congratulate them, or re-set expectations to try and push them forward. The sixth and final step is to reward positive change. One of the best ways to cement the new behavior is to reward it. Use words, affirming non-verbal behaviors, such as a smile and a pat on the back, and public comments to others about their progress.
Remember that you do often get what you reward. So when you see progress, be sure to say so. True, not everyone is coachable. And even when someone is coachable, sometimes you don't need to intervene, but instead let them work through issues themselves. But for the serious problems, or when you see a great opportunity to help someone leverage one of their strengths, intervening in coaching mode can be terribly beneficial. In the end, coaching is really about giving back. It's a way for you to leverage what you know in order to help the team improve.
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- Assessing employee engagement
- Providing autonomy
- Building a transparent culture
- Modeling desired behavior
- Using monetary and nonmonetary motivators
- Fostering accountability
- Developing career paths for employees<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.