Look up any recent study on coaching and you’ll see the measurable benefits companies can realize when managers effectively and consistently coach their team. However, if you’ve never experienced great coaching firsthand, then how would you know what it feels like or how to coach effectively? Use this formula for coaching success and assess your coaching effectiveness.
How do you coach a team of 12 when every call lasts over an hour and by the time you have gone through the whole team once, you start back over again and the sustainment and feedback is difficult and lost?
I’m asked different variations of this question on a regular basis. Many of you may also likely struggle to find the time you need in order to deliver the optimum level of effective and consistent coaching to continually develop and advance your team.
So, I’m sharing my response to this question to you, as well. First, let’s break down a formula for successful coaching to ensure we’ve baked in all the variables and components into your coaching efforts in order to best assess where the potential gaps and opportunities may be for refinement. If I was to quickly craft a success formula for coaching, it would probably look something like this.
Confirmed organizational, team and individual alignment and your commitment to the coaching process + effective one to one coaching and defined coaching framework + situational coaching + self-discovery (uncovering the coaching moment/Gap) + a continued commitment to the goal/change/coaching + coaching consistency + creating self-accountability + momentum + honoring individuality + observation + observed positive behavioral change + follow up = coaching success.
If those are the variables to ensure success, then here are some questions that need to be answered.
1. How often are you meeting with each direct report with the specific intention to have an authentic coaching session or are you collapsing what you call coaching with a deal review, performance review or the manager’s agenda)? Daily, weekly, once a month?
2. Are you customizing the coaching and number of monthly one to one coaching sessions around the individual needs of that person? For example, some B players may need 4 calls one month, then due to situational changes need 2 the next, while the A player may need just one plus one opportunity to be observed customer facing and the C player may need weekly coaching as well as mid-week checkpoints to ensure there’s momentum around change.
3. Are your people fully and authentically bought in to coaching? (Is that what they told you and how they’re responding to your coaching?)
4. Is there a universal definition of coaching that creates full alignment and expectations around what coaching is?
5. Are you trying to solve too many issues in just one coaching session? As a best practice, you’re always better taking one issue or objective that your people bring to you to full completion, rather than open up 5 different conversations and not get closure on any of them. I have a saying; “You can’t solve world peace in one hour.” You have that person’s whole career to coach them. Since you’re not solving every issue in one coaching session, stick to one topic at a time. Otherwise, you’ll find them leaving, feeling overwhelmed and as such, nothing gets accomplished. Besides, if you emphasize everything, you wind up emphasizing nothing.
6. Do you know what their personal goals are, as well as what motivates and inspires them to bring their very best into everything they do? And you know this because they actually told you (rather than you assuming what motivates them)?
7. Do you check in at some interval between one coaching session to the next? This is effective in demonstrating your commitment to supporting them, while also ensuring accountability and activity is being sustained.
8. Do you know how to deliver consistent, effective coaching by following a proven coaching framework and methodology?
9. Are your people coming prepared to their scheduled coaching session by filling out a Coaching Pre Call Form that identifies their wins, challenges and focal area for the scheduled coaching sessions? Remember, in a coaching session, it’s always their agenda, not yours.
10. Are your direct reports the ones uncovering the gap or solution that they couldn’t see on their own through your use of precision based, open ended coaching questions?
11. Are they then committing to making the necessary changes (in thought, skill or activity) instead of you telling them what they need to do?
12. Are you collectively confirming the activities or changes each person is committing to engaging in at the end of the coaching session and a deadline for each?
13. Is there an established level of trust with each person on your team, so that as the manager you’re not feeling that, “They seem to just be telling me what they think I want to hear.”
14. Are they truly bought into and enrolled in a shared goal? Do you continue to create alignment and buy in by enrolling your people every time you have an agenda or there is something they need to do or change?
15. Are they being honest and open with you and are you reciprocating? If not, have you opened up first? Remember, the change always starts with you.
By answering these questions honestly and filling in what is missing, you’ll notice a major transformation in the experiences you’re having coaching your team, the continued momentum you’ve created and the value that they; and your company, receive.
Photo Credit: Bethan Phillips