Archives for posts with tag: 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.

 

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Former President Bill Clinton served during Nelson Mandela’s rise to power in South Africa, and maintained a relationship and friendship with him that exceeded 20 years.

Clinton noted that Mandela taught him many lessons, including that “freedom was limited when other people are not also freed and empowered”.  This rule has an application in the business environment as well as society in general, as referenced in an earlier blog on empowerment, “95 % of the time, they’ll do right”.

All indications are that Mandela consistently led with a philosophy of love, caring and reinforcement!

What an improvement for all concerned if every leader was able to demonstrate similar  traits.

Clinton & Mandela

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”!

growth

In follow-up to steps 1 & 2 (planning and sourcing…earlier blogs), you’ve now armed yourself with the required high-caliber  human resource talent to get your business operating at the desired levels of proficiency. Hence, the focus turns to the development of those employees.

Talent development requires relentless communication, training, feedback and reviews directed at bettering the performance of individuals and groups in organizational settings.

Employee career growth is an ongoing effort, ultimately allowing every person in your organization to potentially achieve their optimal level of success.  This requires constant and consistent coaching with your team so there is never any question about where they stand, what they are doing well and what they need to improve upon.

“Performance evaluations” should not be a once-in-a-year event subject to the recency effect/bias!  Ideally daily interaction and feedback is optimal, even if brief…as long as it is genuine.

When running multiple locations, I implemented a monthly performance development review (PDR) which evaluated results, action items and areas of strength and opportunity.  Surely a quality leader can commit a few hours each and every month toward the evolution of their direct reports.

Talent 4 step

Years ago, I implemented a simple, two-page monthly performance review process for the Managers in the organization…called the Performance Development Review, or “PDR”.

To my surprise, the execution of this program met with resistance, primarily due to the belief that “we couldn’t spend the time” completing this task, especially on a monthly basis.

In such a scenario, a question any legitimate leader might ask themselves is: “what do I truly expect my operating results to be if I won’t even commit a couple of hours a month to the performance review and development of my direct reports?”

Unfortunately, many leaders tend to be “so busy” that they often don’t ensure that quality time is spent with their people…coaching and reviewing performance, clear expectations and opportunities for improvement (by both the employee and the supervisor).

Are you willing to dedicate a few hours a month to develop an asset as valuable as your team?

blindfold ees