Coaching is listening, instructing, or prompting that helps another individual reach a set goal and explore their full capabilities. The ability to coach others effectively is a tool that you need in your leadership arsenal. The leadership skill of coaching will provide the advantage of helping your employees achieve their potential while also fostering engagement and cultivating your reputation for attentive caring.
You might be asking yourself if this is too touch-feely for your workplace. No way! This is strategic communication about goals and future performance designed to promote growth and improvement. This is NOT therapy. The difference is that coaching is about professional successes and failures with a clear focus on a path forward. Read on to learn more about three ways you can implement coaching.
Listening is the easiest way to start coaching. Yes, listening! You probably work with a bunch of smart individuals who can think of good ways to go about solving a problem or tackling a task. So, all you need to do is ask good questions and listen. Start with questions like, “What are some challenges that make getting your work done difficult?.” then “What can you do about that?,” followed by, “How can I help?” You can end by saying “I’d like to hear more about that the next time we talk.” Listening is a great way to build trust and show people that their ideas are important. However, you need to use self-control and avoid jumping in to ‘fix’ things for them. Let your employees talk, then process, then talk some more, during a series of chats over days, weeks, or even months. Need more specific ideas for what to say? Try this resource: Perfect Phrases for Coaching Employee Performance by Laura Poole. Affiliate Link.
After some time, you may notice that they have adequately challenged themselves or you might move on to the next type of coaching.
Instructing is another form of coaching. You may notice that your colleagues are willing to learn, but don’t know what to do. Start by asking, “Can I give you some directions on how to do this?” before telling someone what to do. They will usually say yes and appreciate that you have included them in the process. That means they’re also ready and open to learning, so your words will land and stick.
When instructing others, break down tasks into multiple steps and consider how you can teach by showing and allowing time between each step. Not everything can be learned in a day. Remember, coaching is interactive and the goal is improvement not perfection. After providing instruction, follow-up again to check if your suggestions were acted upon.
Prompting is another facet of coaching. People do well with accountability. Consider asking your colleague to set a deadline for implementing the coaching they’ve received (either their own ideas or something you taught them), then follow-up at the agreed-upon time. I sometimes call this “giving out homework,” but I make sure to let them know that the grade is always 100 as long as they put in some effort.
How can you use coaching in your office to promote growth in your employees? Read on for two timelines for implement coaching right away.
Coaching with Weekly Check-Ins
If you prefer regular, low-stakes coaching for your team, try implementing weekly check-ins. What will that look like?
- First, talk about the normal to-do list tasks you usually tackle.
- Next, switch to a few minutes of coaching. Ask about their performance, feelings, or communication. These should be low-stakes questions or suggestions designed to get your employee thinking of growth, not locked in fear that they are in trouble.
- End with some prompting for what you’ll ask about next week.
Coaching with Quarterly Chats
Not enough time to do coaching every week? No problem. Put it in the rotation quarterly. Every few months you’ll have a chat with each employee focused on growth and improvement. Remember, coaching is not intended to be evaluative (meaning, it’s not taken for a grade!). Instead, the goal is clear improvement and an open line of communication.
Want more info on coaching your employees or a practice run-through with a pro? Reach out and let’s chat.