Coaching is an indispensable tool that can develop and amplify innate talent; to ignore its benefits is to ignore the potential of your employees.
Glengarry Glen Ross is widely credited for creating one of the most memorable movie moments for business sales teams – “Always Be Closing,” exhorted Alex Baldwin to a crowd of flabbergasted salesmen. And, since then, in the business world, ABC has been shorthand for Always Be Closing.
Well, with due respect to Mr. Baldwin, here at Source 1 Solutions we live by a different “ABC” principle, and we think it is ultimately more effective than what he was selling.
We stand behind the Always Be Coaching principle.
Great leaders know that feedback helps to keep employees involved in their performance and focused on growth with the company. And, I’ve seen the most success happen through effective coaching
Today, with the complexities of global businesses and remote work at play, you might feel like coaching is impossible – as you don’t have natural moments with your team to work through on the fly issues. Not true. Coaching is more important than ever, and you just have to work harder and take better advantage of coaching opportunities when they arise.
Read on for some thoughts on a coaching mindset, and some specific tips you can apply in your own coaching efforts.
Coaching is a Mindset
The principles I have outlined below can be applied to everyday moments with your team. But, first a word on mindset. The best type of leadership requires a coaching mindset. What does this mean in practice? You can’t always want to be the person who is “needed”. You can’t always be the go-to who shines. You need to let your team shine – let them rise to the top. Your role is to teach them how to do that.
The best coaches I have met look for teaching moments – and they keep their eyes open for more successes than failures. They know that rewarding and noting successes produces much better results than post-action critiques. They also realize that micromanaging produces undesirable outcomes, for both parties.
And finally, they coach their team on the present moment, not yesterday’s issues or future projections.
3 Practical Tips
Not to be confused with standard reviews, coaching is much more; this leadership technique involves the following three steps, repeated as necessary to help an employee achieve what he wants or needs from the coaching program. Keep in mind that workplace coaching can either be a formal program, or a loose idea being followed in a team setting; choose to implement it however you’d like, but the fundamentals remain the same.
1. Set a Goal
One of the most important things for the development of team members is to set goals. Have your employees imagine where they would like to be – in skill and position – with the company in one or more years. What skills will it take to reach the position that is desired? Is there another team or division that would better suit the individual’s interests and natural talent? Consider each employee as a unique situation; your job is to optimize them for their goals and the company.
2. Monitor Performance
Don’t leave your employees in the dark after working to set up goals with them. Give them the tools to succeed on their own, but check in with them periodically. Whether you monitor with metrics or a monthly meeting, show your employees that their success matters to you.
3. Give Meaningful Feedback
This is where a lot of people in leadership roles go wrong; first, it’s incredibly important to give positive feedback in addition to the negative. You don’t have to go out of your way to come up with positive discussions so that the good outweighs the bad. Simply take note of scenarios that you think help or hinder your employee in his or her path to their goal – discuss these in the form of feedback that can be used by your team member.
Learning in the workplace should go beyond the first few weeks of training; too often we toss our workers to the wolves. Whether it’s by necessity or not, this sets up the workforce for failure and high turnover. It’s imperative to find opportunities to coach your team – and in today’s remote, global cultures, you won’t overhear opportunities or issues as you would in person – you need to seek them out. You can even pay attention outside the office – such as people’s social media – what do they like, care about, where are they spending time.
Coaching might be a deep time investment, but it’s worth it in the end. Morale will be increased with high leadership involvement and interest, productive engagement from workers will increase, and people will be more invested in their jobs with the company they work for. This mindset will change the way your business functions – at its most fundamental level.