Many believe being coached is no big deal when they are the coach. Coaches love giving advice and it provides an ego boost. The challenge is, many have learned from a traditional approach of, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Or, they lack the confidence and insight required to be an effective coach.
Do you experience (check all that apply):
- Giving advice that doesn’t reflect the person’s struggles?
- Coming across as critical about how it should be done?
- A lack of insight into what the true issue is?
- Not having credibility in the listener’s eyes?
- People ignoring your coaching and doing it their way?
If you answered “yes” to more than one question, it’s important to keep reading!
Today, it’s critical that leaders and managers effectively coach team members for success. The quality of the coaching provided impacts business growth, team member retention, and customer satisfaction.
Remember, if you lack the skills to effectively coach others, it can tarnish your working relationships for a very long time.
Nine Essential Coaching Skills to Improve Your Effectiveness
1. Set a Positive Example. Leaders, bosses, and managers are not perfect. But ethical issues, being late for meetings, or multitasking during conversations (to name a few) hurts your credibility as a coach. Improve your effectiveness by working with your executive coach to address these issues and blind spots.
2. Visualize a Positive Outcome. Take the time to visualize or mentally think through what you want to say. If you hit a snag during this visualization process, rewind and restart to ensure a positive outcome. Read Dr. Lynn Hellerstein’s newest book: Expand Your Vision: How to Gain Clarity, Courage, and Confidence for more information.
3. Be Specific. Write down the specific issues to organize your thoughts about why you need to coach a team member. Saying you found problems with the sales report or you don’t like a graphic is of no value. Instead, be specific about where the report is inaccurate or why the graphic doesn’t have visual appeal. Remember to manage the task, not a person’s personality.
4. Use a Job Fit Tool for Clarity. These tools often include “coaching” reports guiding the leader to be on-target when providing feedback.
One company president uses the coaching information when talking with his direct reports. When there is a problem, he scans the report for insights and adjusts his coaching style. By doing this, the other person feels valued and becomes coachable.
5. Talk Straight and Stay On-Point. Talking in generalities or going off on tangents leaves the team member or co-worker confused and frustrated.
A human resources director (HRD) counseled a financial director (FD) to stop the negative gossip about a vice president (VP). A week later, the FD continued to make negative comments about the VP. FD’s coach said, “I thought HRD had counselled you to stop making negative comments about the VP.” FD’s reply, “No… he stated we need to operate as a team. I was unclear what his point was since I am a team player.”
This level of confusion is what happens when you speak in generalities.
6. Keep It Confidential and Private. Criticizing a team member in public has repercussions, even when the person says, “No problem. I don’t care if anyone else hears this.” If the person has a public negative reaction, it will often reflect negatively on you. Instead, set up a 1:1 private and confidential meeting immediately after an issue or problem has occurred. Don’t share publicly. During the 1:1, remember to share facts, not opinions. Otherwise, what you say will not be heard as objective feedback.
7. Choose the Appropriate Coaching Approach.
a. When to Use the Direct Approach. Be clear and concise with those that can handle or want that style of feedback. Keep in mind this approach will always depend on the situation (e.g., illness, passing away of a family member, etc.).
“Good report. But when including numbers in a report, you need to include a graph and bullet point the numbers. Any questions? How soon can you get this report updated and back to me?”
b. When to Use the Sandwich Approach. Talk straight and be specific. Use this approach when the situation may cause an emotional reaction, or the person is easily triggered. Share 2 positive actions the person has taken, 2 specific areas for improvement, and close with 2 positive actions the person has taken.
“Your proposal was good. The numbers supported the importance of this project. But when providing this type of information, it’s important to include a graph so the reader can visually see the value. And, bullet point the numbers to make them easier to read and understand. Again, good proposal and I appreciate you getting this done so fast. Any questions? How soon can you get this report updated and back to me?”
8. Have Compassion. Everyone has challenges, especially during this ongoing pandemic. Be empathetic, while sticking to the point.
“It’s hard when a family member has COVID. My heart goes out to those struggling during this pandemic. But when providing written reports, the information and spelling need to be proofread before submitting. Let me know what you need and how I can help.”
9. Share a Story. An effective way to coach others is by sharing a story about your own similar challenge and what you did to work through it. Then, offer one or two ideas for them to implement.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2021 All Rights Reserved
Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has been an award-winning executive coach, management consultant, and keynote speaker for over 28 years. Her focus is getting leaders and their teams unstuck and able to achieve dynamic results. Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.
A note from Jeannette about how to be an effective coach: Successful people have coaches. When leaders and others talk with their coach regularly, their productivity, confidence, and results improve. The challenge is, many don’t believe they need a coach, and hear feedback as criticism. As an entrepreneurial leader, make a commitment to coach others for success by being an effective coach. Want to get started, but don’t know how? Contact me for a confidential conversation.