Coaching is not an easy task. It demands a lot from you as a person and you may ask yourself if it is worth it? Do people care and does it have an effect? With coaching, you provide your staff with the opportunity to grow and achieve optimal performance through consistent feedback, counseling and mentoring.
Rather than relying solely on a review schedule, you can support employees along the path to meeting their goals. Done in the right way, coaching is perceived as a roadmap for success and a benefit. Done incorrectly and employees may feel berated, unappreciated, even punished. At the bottom of the page, you find an Infographic that gives you an insight into the effects of coaching.
How you can become a day to day coach and increase productivity
1. Start with an assessment
The first thing you need to do is to get to know your employees better and have a deeper discussion. The best way to get started is to do an employee assessment. I have created an Employee Assessment Process and Template, check it out and start using it.
2. Build a deep and honest relationship
Great you have done the assessment and now you know more. It is important to realize that the foundation of any coaching relationship is rooted in your day-to-day relationship with the employee. Without some degree of trust, conducting effective coaching is impossible.
3. Give balanced feedback
Start with honest praise for the employee’s strengths and your perspective on how those strengths were an asset during the event in question. Then identify one or two key areas where you feel improvement will help the employee’s performance. You’re not providing advice, just identifying areas. It’s important to limit the discussion to one or two areas, by the way–more than that and you’ll be “flooding the engine.”
- Be timely. It should occur as soon as practicable after the interaction, completion of the deliverable, or observation is made.
- Be specific. Statements like “You did a great job” or “You didn’t take care of the clients’ concerns very well” are too vague and don’t give enough insight into the behavior you would like to see repeated or changed.
- Focus on the “what,” not the “why.” Avoid making the feedback seem as if it is a judgment. Begin with “I have observed…” or “I have seen…” and then refer to the behavior. Focus on behavior and not the person. Describe what you heard and saw and how those behaviors impact the team, client, etc.
- Use a sincere tone of voice. Avoid a tone that exhibits anger, frustration, disappointment or sarcasm.
Positive feedback strengthens performance. People will naturally go the extra mile when they feel recognized and appreciated. When corrective feedback is handled poorly, it will be a significant source of friction and conflict. When it is handled well, people will experience the positive effects and performance is strengthened.
4. Explore Alternatives for issues
Explore ways the issue can be improved or corrected by encouraging the employee to identify alternative solutions. Avoid jumping in with your own alternatives, unless the employee is unable to think of any. Push for specific alternatives and not generalizations. Your goal is not to choose an alternative, but to maximize the number of choices for the employee to consider and to discuss their advantages and disadvantages. This requires the skill of reacting and expanding. You should acknowledge the employee’s suggestion, discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the suggestion, ask for and offer additional suggestions, and ask the employee to explain how to resolve the issue under discussion.
5. Get a Commitment to Act
Help the employee choose an alternative. Don’t make the choice for the employee. The manager must be sure to get a verbal commitment from the employee regarding what action will be taken and when it will be taken. Be sure to support the employee’s choice and offer praise.
6. Constant follow up, be engaged and give your attention
Coaching is not a quick fix. It is important to constantly continue to coach and be engaged in the employee. The work never stops. Make sure that you try to be involved and coach by a schedule that is a good fit for you, the employee and the situation that you are in. In practise this can mean that you get involved daily, weekly or monthly.