This question brings to mind “lions and tigers, and bears, oh my!” from the Wizard of Oz, except in the case of coaching employees, it might be more accurate to say “Divas, Duds and Stars, oh my!” or at least that is how one Contagious Coaching client of mine referred to those he was trying to lead.
Coaching could be considered an art form, but also a necessity. The key is that you do it and whether you do it using a formal model, (we’ll share one on Friday), or you do it using the old “drive by coaching” method… WHEN you do it, does it come across the way you want?
Contagious Leaders, and other leaders who are also effective, coach employees for the purposes of helping them improve their skills, overcome an obstacle, or learn something new. That means that, as a leader, your mindset when coaching needs to be one “how can we make this better?” or “how can I help this person?” If instead, your mindset is one of “how can I get this moron to do what I’ve asked a million times before?” then you might be spreading a message that is different than the one you want. Your results might also be different than you want when that employee gives you a defensive or resistant reaction to what you want them to do different. SO, here are a few key questions to ask yourself BEFORE you start a coaching session that will help you send the right message:
What is my mindset?
Am I focused on how to help this person do something better or be better in some way?
Am I frustrated with their behavior? (if so, wait a bit before you hold that coaching session)
Am I eager to talk about some new ideas, new methods, or new tactics that could be taken? (great mindset)
What is my desired outcome from this conversation?
Leaders, when you are coaching an employee, your approach will determine their results. If you are in a mind-set of frustration or exasperation with performance, then expect them to respond that way. If you’re repeating for the bezillionth time what you don’t like and what that employee is doing wrong or the way in which that employee is difficult, again, then this is likely a counseling session with very different outcomes, instead of coaching.
Monica Wofford, MBA, CSP, is an international speaker, trainer, and author who helps managers who were promoted, actually become prepared to lead.