If You are in Supervision, then COACHING is Your Job!
Organizations that invest in leadership development are more profitable, more innovative, and more likely to be market share leaders than their competitors. It is time to develop the next generation of leaders. Baby boomers are retiring at a rapid rate, leaving both a relationship and a skills void in many organizations.
Managers and supervisors have THE most influence over productivity, employee engagement and learning of their direct reports.
Consider how coaching skills can help retain employees and develop their skills. After spending time in the hiring process, it only makes sense to continue developing these employees after on-boarding activities have been completed. We want to keep the employee in our organization, and improve the skill sets they possess to be more productive and more valuable. Coaching is an on-going employee development process. It never ends because learning continues.
Remember the “coaches” in your life - encouraging family members, a team coach, a teacher or a supervisor/mentor. What did those individuals do that made them effective coaches? What characteristics did he or she have? What worked for you could work for your direct reports.
Why write it down? One study discovered that Harvard graduate students who had written goals earned ten times more than Harvard graduate students who had goals but never wrote them down.
Take a snapshot of how you are performing as a coach right now. Be fair and specific. Then answer these three questions.
1. What skills do I need to improve?
2. How will I improve them? (Be practical. What CAN you do?)
3. How will I know when I have improved these skills?
Sometimes the organization itself presents barriers to coaching, so as you answer the second question above, think about how coaching is encouraged or discouraged. Often it is the pressure to produce or a fear of costing the company money that hold us back. Are you adapting your coaching style to the needs of the “learner”. Coaching is about the relationship AND the process.
Involving the individual is key. You are coaching, not dictating or delegating. Prepare just like your snapshot of your coaching skills, see what the employee’s current strengths are. Consider what skills need to be developed and which might be needed for future assignments. Write them down. What barriers will need to be overcome by this individual, the coach or the organization to make this coaching experience successful?
Have a conversation with the employee and share your desire to develop him or her.
Ask about their learning style or what their preferred coaching session would look like and take that into account. Ask questions to get the employee talking.
1. What are the skills that you think are the most important for your job?
2. Which do you think you currently have and which need to be developed?
3. When have you been able to demonstrate these skills? (You are looking for proof that they have the skill, and it is an opportunity for you to build their self-confidence with praise.)
Let the employee know that you respect his/her ability to help identify their own development needs and to determine the learning activities to meet them. Ask open-ended questions to encourage the employee’s analysis and draw out specific suggestions. (Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? Tell me more about that…Could you expand on that thought?) You can guide their thinking with the questions you plan ahead of the conversation. Coming up with an idea themselves, even with help from their coach’s questions, is the best.
Reinforce effective listening skills to make sure the feedback is understood by the employee. Ask follow-up and clarifying questions to make sure each communication is clear and understood.
With any quality coaching experience, check points and follow up meetings are included with the plan. These checkpoints are an opportunity to provide feedback on progress made, ensure accountability and maybe to make adjustments in the plan. The learning activities are specified with dates of accomplishment in the written coaching plan, along with both the employee’s commitment and the support that the coach has agreed to provide.
Teaching can also happen “in the moment” in addition to following the coaching plan. Look for “teachable moments”. Ask questions to debrief an error or to reinforce success. Employees and coaches learn best by doing, so coach as you go, too! Debrief your own coaching behaviors on the way home after each shift. Ask yourself questions:
1. When did I teach, coach or motivate someone today?
2. What went well today that I would want to repeat the behavior?
3. What could have been done better? How will I handle that next time?
***The motivation to coach comes from the reward of seeing others succeed.***
Resource Credit: “Developing the Coaching Skills of Your Managers and Leaders” Biz Library *********************************
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Christine Schneider Smith, President CASS Enterprises
CASS Enterprises provides quality, customized training,
Christine Schneider Smith