Join Lisa Gates for an in-depth discussion in this video Working through blind spots and resistance, part of Coaching and Developing Employees.
Employee development coaching is all about change, and change is hard for most people. As you observed with Eric, you will encounter some kind of resistance or push back during the process. It's important to say that not everyone wants to be coached, and not everyone is coachable. So it would be a mistake to make coaching mandatory for all your employees. In fact, that's a strategy that will backfire. Instead, start with the people who are ready and allow the benefits to percolate through the team naturally. Oddly someone who expresses readiness for coaching may also not be coachable. When your employees complete the self assessment tools provided in this course, use the information you gather to test for coachability. If you sense your employee isn't coachable, maybe you get one-word answers or I don't know, this is a cue to challenge or stretch them. Or it's time to table the work until they're really ready to participate. So now, let's focus on your coachable employees.
Even with your coachable people, the first objection you're likely to hear is, why? Are things really that bad? What am I doing wrong? For your high achievers, you can easily assure them that this is the very opposite, and what you're up to is accelerating their growth and opportunities for advancement. For those who may be underperforming, give them future focused assurances, like I want to make sure we're using your strengths and we're finding ways to help you be successful.
As you get things rolling in your employee coaching program, what else is likely to happen? Pretty much everything that's already happening. Showing up late, forgetting meetings, missing deadlines, or not participating full out, and gossiping about other team members. So, what do you do? Here are some rules of thumb and some of this is review. One, don't take it personally. Instead be curious and try to focus on the problem and not the people.
Two, ask open-ended questions to each and every issue or objection. If you feel a criticism about to leave your lips, pause, and turn it into an open-ended question. Three, give people time to vent without interruption or feedback. Sometimes people get swept up in the moment, in the project, and things go from bad to worse, and they just need to let off steam. Along those lines, here are two more coaching tips. Acknowledge, but don't commiserate.
The worse thing we can do as coaches is to agree with our people's limiting beliefs. Instead, just listen. Acknowledge and reassure, nod your head, and say with as much compassion as possible, okay, got it. Let's make a plan to move forward. One final piece of resistance I want to deal with is disengagement. Your employee shows up, sits back, and doesn't offer much in the way of conversation. They avoid eye contact, give one word answers.
They sit with folded arms, or they use dismissive physical gestures. In the coaching world, this is known as geography. And as you've probably heard, the body doesn't lie. When people are engaged and interested, they tend to lean forward and nod their heads and grapple with things with their hands. Some people might even get up and pace if they think better on their feet. So, one thing you can do is play back the physical posture or movement, and ask your employee what does this mean, and that will often crack things open so you can get to the root of the issue. With a little practice you'll push through resistance, rather than let it derail you.
So, hang in there. Remind people frequently of their big-picture vision, and keep things moving.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
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- Finding time to coach
- Establishing a relationship with your employees
- Asking powerful questions
- Becoming an active listener
- Maintaining accountability
- Using questionnaires and self-assessments
- Aligning professional goals with company objectives<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.