I have recently been involved in designing & delivering coaching workshops for our leadership team.
As all good L&D professionals will tell you; “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. I’m sure you will agree, it’s important to develop individuals and far more rewarding for them and you to watch them flourish. Having reflected on my recent experiences and hearing what challenges Managers face, I’m sharing my top 5 coaching tips to get you thinking;
1. Don’t tell, ask;Often, being directive with team members feels as though it saves you time and delivers the result you need. There is definitely a time and a place for being direct and getting things done but often employees are far less bought into an idea, target and goal if they feel as though it’s not their idea to begin with. Flip it and ask “How do you want to approach the goal”; “what other ways do you feel may work” etc.
2. Coach in the moment;You don’t need to drag a team member away from their role and have an hour long coaching conversation for it to be effective. Often it’s best to mix up your approach, whether it’s desk training, weekly catch ups, or over a coffee. By adopting more of a coaching approach you will be able to explore what is really going on. “What have they tried already?”, “how could they approach things differently to get a better outcome?” “what do they find most challenging in their role?”. Often team members may not want to be completely open with you or may feel vulnerable. It’s important there is trust and respect first and then they will be honest.
3. Set goals; Sounds simple, often it’s not. What does your team member want to achieve? It needs to be their goal (obviously aligned to business objectives). It’s important to break them down into short term goals, ‘quick wins’ and longer term goals. Are they SMART? If there is no set time frame then it’s very hard to stay motivated. It also means you're much more likely to to hold someone accountable.
4. It’s not about you, let it go!From my experience, Managers can start off with good intentions, ask lots of questions but perhaps they don’t get the answers they had hoped for. What can happen (especially if time is poor) is we try and accelerate the conversation, start to share ideas and end up hijacking the conversation. I mean this in the nicest way, stop yourself from doing this!! My coaching tutor would say “stop being ego driven, it’s not about you”. If your team member doesn’t have the answer immediately give them some thinking time or ask a different question. Another good tip to explore things further is to ask “what else”, “what else”, “what else”. This is when you get deeper thinking and ideas that often lead to a better outcome!
5. Be open to giving and receiving feedback; By adopting a coaching approach it's much easier to give feedback. Often Managers shy away from giving feedback (especially if it relates to poor performance). I generally ask the individual “How do you feel things are working?”, “what isn’t working?”. This will give you more insight into where they're at and their level of self awareness before you launch in with feedback. Another great question to ask is, “on a scale of 1-10 where are you at?” Giving positive feedback is just as important as giving constructive feedback. Remember feedback is a two way street, ask for feedback from your team as they can add great value by giving a different perspective. Asking for their feedback also helps them feel more connected and engaged.
This may be a refresher for many of you, though it’s worth remembering to be authentic and approach coaching with an open mind. The great thing about these tips is you will notice the results pretty quickly if you invest your time. I personally have enjoyed working with many individuals this year and have watched them grow professionally and have seen a real shift with many in terms of their engagement, buy in and performance.
If you want to find out more about developing your coaching style please feel free to contact me.