Every company has them. They are the efficient and effective. Unfortunately, not all employees have skill sets that are as mature. The rest have to develop them.that literally carry your company. Many of them are simply born with traits that make them great employees: dedication, work ethic, drive, determination, and true grit as they used to say. But that alone doesn’t make them superstars. They’ve developed skills that make them
That is where the secret behind developing superstar employees comes in: good coaching. Unfortunately, all too often, managers sit down with their employees only once a year during the official annual review to discuss performance. These annual reviews are usually rushed, don’t provide good feedback or goals, and, most of the time, are based solely on the “recency effect” (i.e. only the recent performance of the employee is reviewed).
Coaching employees is much different than reviewing employees. Coaching allows you to actually interact with your team, giving them the opportunity to grow, develop, stretch, and achieve greater performance. It requires more work than reviewing; however, the results can pay for your additional efforts multiple times over.
Coaching is Key to Developing Superstars
We did a little research on coaching and found good ideas about doing it right. According to many experts, there are several things that all great coaches do. Here are just a few.
Personal relationships: First, to be a great coach and develop fantastic employees you have to develop a personal relationship with every member of your team. Successful coaching requires that your employees trust you. Developing that requires time, dedication, and consistency. Make the investment in developing trust and you will see benefits immediately.
Goals & regular evaluation meetings: Once trust is established, schedule regular meetings to talk about positive things and what needs to be improved. In addition, keep regular tabs on goals you have mutually developed for your employee. Again, don’t hold this meeting once a year and hope the other 364 days go well. Holding these meetings on a regular basis will require more of your time, but, again, the rewards will make the investment worthwhile.
Honesty: When you meet with your employees and establish your coaching relationship it is vital that you get complete and honest agreement with the assessment of the person’s performance. Too often there is a huge disconnect on this issue. Many employees, until they are regularly coached, truly believe that they are being effective in their jobs. They think, Gee, I am busy all day long—I must be doing something right. However, holding regularly scheduled coaching meetings will allow you to adjust behavior so that “busyness” becomes effective “business.” The only way to accomplish this is to have the employee come to the same understanding as you regarding what effective and efficient behavior is.
Honest Feedback is Foundation of Good Coaching
Honest, not mean: To communicate your standards of effectiveness and efficiency, you need to be very honest with the employee while not being brutal. Remember as a coach your goal is not to destroy a person but to develop a loyal, productive person who will remain with you for years. And, as any good coach knows, this communication needs to be a two-way street. Ask for and listen to feedback that they give you on what you need to improve on as well. Great leaders are not born; they are developed through years of hard work and dedication. Great leaders also listen to their team members and learn from them. Be sure to keep your coaching meetings two-way communication vehicles.
Empower: As you become more and more experienced as a coach, begin to allow your employees to brainstorm solutions to performance issues. Studies have shown that employees who are empowered to fix their own behaviors, rather than being told what to do, more effectively modify their behaviors than those who are simply told what to change. They internalize the discussion and the decisions regarding improvements as actually coming from themselves, not you. This makes the needed changes really stick.
Confrontation is inevitable: Probably the most important aspect of coaching is providing solid feedback to your employees. Let’s face it: Very few of us enjoy the act of confronting a person who needs to change a behavior. This is especially true if the employee has been with the company a long time and is well-liked. However, great coaches get around their reluctance to confront with the knowledge that good leadership requiresto continually and consistently change, grow, and adapt. Helping your employees get out of their comfort zones and develop new skills is a huge boost to any organization.
Become a coach, not a manager. Great coaching really isn’t rocket science. Every manager was an employee at one point. Think back to the great leaders you have worked for. Chances are good that they were great coaches too. Emulate their behaviors and you will become a great coach as well.
Coaches Add Value All Around
Besides increasing profits, buyers of private, middle-market companies like yours look very closely at middle management when examining a target. If you have developed a solid team of managers that are coaches – people who get 110% out of their employees every day – your company will be considered more valuable than if you have not. Remember, after you sell your company, you will most likelywithin a few months or years. Buyers will want to know that you have a team of great coaches ready to replace you when that happens.
What are some of the coaching techniques you have learned over the years? What are you doing with your team right now to apply good coaching techniques?
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