Archives for category: Coaching

success team

My previous blog responded to the question: “Do the best leaders surround themselves with great people, or do they help the people around them become great?” with the answer “both”.

Focusing on the second part of this question, here are 10 common denominators that I’ve observed which help people become great (or at least much better) at what they do:

  • EVERYONE understands the company’s Vision, Direction & Purpose
  • There are clearly defined roles and responsibilities for every person on the team
  • KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and SLA’s (Service-Level Agreements) are established with each individual, and agreed to by both the manager & employee
  • Actual performance is measured against targets and “score-boarded” for all to see
  • Good results receive timely acknowledgement & praise
  • Poor results receive timely “coaching” for how to improve going forward
  • Employee strengths and opportunity areas are identified & understood
  • Strengths are exploited and areas for improvement reinforced
  • Ongoing growth & development within the organization is encouraged
  • Candid praise & constructive feedback occurs consistently with EVERYONE

Here’s a Leadership Challenge suggestion for you: review each of these 10 items and rate your business on a scale of 1 – 5, with 1 being poor & 5 being great.  Then, prioritize your opportunity areas for focused improvement based on the lowest scoring results.

 

In reference to a prior blog on “The Review”, this process is often challenging and ineffective in terms of generating the desired performance improvement that Managers are seeking.

The traditional performance appraisal reviews past performance, and is often an inaccurate reflection of true performance due to:

  • inadequate preparation or effort,
  • poor documentation or record keeping,
  • any number of biases.

I believe that what really matters to is to provide your employees with input that leads to the development of their skills, which ultimately benefits them personally as well as serving the organization’s future.

There is much discussion in HR circles about eliminating the annual or semi-annual review process altogether. Such a change should foster more frequent conversations and updates about an employee’s performance, which is what most workers want.

ConstantONGOING coaching and feedback is one of the keys toward achieving continuous employee growth and development.

I’m not saying micro-management, but rather taking the time to ensure that every employee:

  • understands the clear expectations surrounding their role and responsibilities,
  • knows where they stand in terms of their performance,
  • and has a vision of how to grow and improve.

feedback

From the day a new employee begins work, leaders are “on the clock” in terms of either developing or destroying that person’s career.

An earlier Boltz blog noted that coaching is a constant, ongoing activity which preferably occurs via daily interaction and feedback.

In June 2013, Forbes magazine noted that one of the top five reasons employees leave their bosses is a lack of effective motivation. My belief is that daily feedback sessions allow a tremendous opportunity to reinforce areas of strong performance as well as opportunities for improvement, thus providing an amazing option for delivering that much-needed motivation.

Further, regularly scheduled feedback meetings with employees can reinforce clear expectations, set and measure goals, provide input to the employee as well as allow the employee to discuss their individual needs.  I have found these sessions to be most effective as part of the performance management process

Challenge question: when was the last time you had a candid, transparent and motivating feedback session with each of your direct reports???

Pos feedback

 

 

 

coaching

In order for employees to achieve optimal performance, consistent coaching is mandatory.

As noted in the Talent Four-Step blogs, coaching is a constant, ongoing activity which preferably occurs via daily interaction and feedback. Thus, there should be no confusion about where the person stands, what they are doing well and what they need to improve upon.

So what exactly does “coaching” look like? An ideal coach certainly should possess expertise in the area of business (or life) they are mentoring about.

Critical skills during this process include:
• patience and the capacity to be attentive
• a keen ability to actively listen, without interrupting
• genuine interest in what the person is telling you
• a supportive and caring attitude

Successful coaches utilize open-ended questions to gain perspective on their mentee’s opinions, and gain a clarifying understanding surrounding whatever subject or process is being discussed.

Once the “coachee” has had an opportunity to fully share their feelings and insights, it becomes the coaches challenge to ask additional probing questions, and consequently provide the required feedback directed at achieving further progress and improved results.

As the saying goes, “sounds easy, does hard”!