If your first experience playing golf included getting hit by lightning during a passing storm, you may be a bit hesitant to get back on the course.
Not that coaching feels like getting hit by lightning. Then again, depending upon the coach, I guess it could! That’s why the coaching relationship has to be built on a choice, not an obligation. The relationship between the coach and the people who are coached (coachee) is a designed alliance, a collaborative partnership. As such, remedial or sanctioned coaching is often met with resistance rather than with open arms, especially if you’re the boss who’s attempting to force coaching on people, rather than position it in a way where people authentically want to be coached by you.
How is coaching being offered to your team? What is their perception of coaching? Have they had positive or negative coaching experiences? Did you have this conversation with each of your direct reports or are you assuming the facts?
And as a manager, have you been coached successfully in the past? More important, have you gone through any formal management coach training? Are you consistently leveraging a coaching framework and methodology in every conversation you have? Ultimately, is your coaching making a powerful and measurable impact?
Here’s where managers inadvertently create barriers to coaching without realizing it. If you’re responsible for coaching anyone, how have you positioned coaching with them?
Did you position coaching as a perk, an incentive, an option, an obligation, or a remedial response to underperformance?
Do your salespeople view coaching as a gift and as a way for them to continually better their best or do they look at coaching as more of an obligation to “appease their manager” or worse, a punishment?
Here’s an all too common conversation I have with managers.
Manager: Sure, Keith. I have some people who are open to coaching but I find that it’s my top performers who are the most resistant and I’m not sure why.
Keith: Well, can you share with me who you’re coaching and when you’re coaching them?
Manager: Most of the time, I find myself coaching when there’s a problem and I need to get involved. As you can imagine, that happens mostly with my mid to underperformers. So, I guess that’s who I’m coaching the most.
But as I said, I still can’t figure out why my top sellers don’t want to be coached.
What Culture Did You Create?
Hold up the proverbial mirror and think about the message you inadvertently sent to your entire team based upon the coaching they’re seeing you do!
Are you offering coaching to your entire team, to a select few, or to just one person?
Are you being consistent with your coaching, to the point where it’s non-negotiable? And I’m not referring to this, so-called “Coaching.”
“Do I meet with my people once a week? It depends but at least once a month. You know, it’s hard to find the time. Am I coaching? Sure, and actually, we can rename our one on ones, and call them coaching sessions. Great, got that done.”
Has your coaching ever been met with resistance? Do you, as a manager, feel that you can’t call it “coaching” because coaching is a dirty word?
Think about the reaction some people have to being coached. Then think about your reaction to being coached. Now reflect back to how you, your company or your predecessor may have inadvertently positioned coaching?
For any coaching initiative to be long lasting, it’s essential for both management and their direct reports to see the value of coaching. For this to occur, the coachee must be clear with the manager’s intentions when coaching.
Coaching must be positioned in a way that would make people want to be coached. That includes getting managers excited about coaching! As a manager, do you view coaching as the critical skill every world class leader must develop in order to build champions or the “Flavor of the Month” that your company is pushing on you?
Now, if you happen to be the recipient of poorly positioned coaching, here is your moment; your opportunity to coach up! If you need some tips and templates on how to do so, download my book, Coach Up!
Great coaching starts with an authentic non-negotiable commitment to your people. So, if you really want to make your people the priority, then make coaching your priority.
Photo Credit: Keith Nerdin