The role of a coach is extremely valued in athletics. But for some reason, that belief rarely extends to the workplace. Managers are too often viewed as overseers instead of mentors. In reality, coaching is just as essential in the workplace as it is on the field or court.
Employee coaching is an important part of continuous performance management. When managers maximize employee potential and surround employees with supporting talent, they put their teams in a position to grow and help the organization succeed.
Great managers foster open, honest relationships with employees that motivate and engage them. In this blog, we’ll share 12 rules to master employee coaching and create a productive team of engaged employees.
Employees crave constructive feedback from their managers, but don’t always get it. Your employees want to know how their performance is viewed, what they’re doing well, and what they need to improve.
Intentionally set aside time to provide feedback on employee performance. Use one-on-one meetings and GOOD sessions as regular feedback periods. Consider setting reminders in your calendar to consistently provide feedback to each employee.
Contrary to popular belief, feedback shouldn’t just come from the manager. Employees should be encouraged to provide feedback to each other and to you, their manager.
Strive to build a culture where 360 feedback is the norm. This creates an ongoing dialogue that gives employees at all levels of the organization an opportunity to be heard.
While you don’t want to overwhelm employees, motivating your team to get out of their comfort zone can help them grow and perform at their highest potential employees who demonstrate a lack of interest in their work are much more likely to become disengaged.
In many cases, they need to be challenged and provided regular feedback and recognition to grow and improve. Identify each employee’s experience and skillset, and have them take on new tasks or assignments that help them expand. Be available and willing to help when questions arise.
Employee listening is an essential part of coaching. It opens you to different concepts you hadn’t previously thought of, and it makes employees feel heard. When they feel their opinion is respected and valued, they’re far more likely to be engaged and push harder.
Build in opportunities to capture employee voice through one-on-ones, feedback, and employee surveys. Listening to different perspectives from a variety of venues can help you create a more complete picture of the employee experience.
No two employees are exactly alike. They come from different backgrounds and have varying personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Simply connecting employees with their peers opens new possibilities and creates a more connected workplace.
Encourage employees to interact frequently so they teach each other new skills or approaches. Welcoming differing perspectives and asking for all employees to contribute will help you foster a more diverse and inclusive culture at work.
Employees aren’t the only ones who can learn from each other—you can too! Keep an open mind during conversations and frequently source new ideas or tactics from them. Collecting regular feedback from your employees shows you’re willing to listen and always looking to improve.
Simply asking for feedback creates an open dialogue and gives employees a voice. This can make the workplace feel more like a democracy instead of a dictatorship. Make sure you take notes and follow up once you’ve heard from your team.
Confident employees are more likely to achieve their goals than those who feel unsupported and misguided. As you coach employees and provide feedback, it’s critical that you instill them with confidence.
Look for opportunities to recognize employees for strong performance and extra effort. Make sure you understand how employees like to be recognized too, but always strive to make it public so that others in the organization can take note. Acknowledging employees’ contributions boosts their confidence and sets them up for success.
When you notice an assignment is proceeding slowly or heading in the wrong direction, you might be tempted to take it into your own hands and simply complete it yourself. This might be beneficial in the short term, but employees need to learn through trial and error.
Instead of taking the task off their hands, teach them how to handle the situation by offering guidance. Ask leading questions and help them navigate their way through the muck. Remember—a good coach gives their team a pathway to success.
Sometimes, things don’t go according to plan. Mistakes will be made and deals will fall through. It’s just a part of work. But how you respond is what really matters. Accepting failure and moving to the next task can create a lower standard for performance expectations. But you don’t want to crush employees’ spirits for their mistakes either.
Ask your employees to explain what went wrong and how they could have performed better. Encourage them to consider what opportunities exist and how they might improve in the future. Remain positive and solution-oriented.
Mistakes happen, and so do successes! Oftentimes, managers get caught up in being a constructive coach instead of a celebratory one. When an employee succeeds or goes over the top, let them know that you noticed.
Recognition can be as simple as a thank-you note, a cup of their favorite coffee drink, or a shout-out during the next team meeting. Little acknowledgements can go a long way toward securing buy-in and building a stronger team.
If you hope to get everyone pushing in the same direction, you need to show them where to go. Goals are the clearest and most effective way to do so.
Sit down with employees to create personal goals that help them develop and further their careers. Work to connect those goals to the over benchmarks of the team and the organization as a whole. Aligning goals in this way will give employees a clear picture of how their work contributes to team and business success.
Good coaches don’t just throw their players into a competition and say, “figure it out.” They actively encourage their team and search for solutions to help athletes succeed.
Let your employees know they can come to you with questions or concerns. Use one-on-ones to understand the challenges they are facing and build a plan together. You’re there to help them, and they should feel comfortable asking for advice and or assistance.
Looking for more advice on employee coaching? Download our ebook, Coaching Employees for High Performance.