Coaching is one of the key components of managing modern employees. With the fast pace of industry changes and the almost monthly need for new skills, it’s essential that you help your team learn and grow regularly. Bersin by Deloitte estimates that today’s skills only have a life of 2 ½ to 5 years. Not only is this needed from a business perspective, today’s employees don’t just want to turn up to work and complete their daily tasks. Two-thirds of millennials expect their managers to help bring them to the next level by providing development opportunities. Coaching your employees and helping them progress is the mark of a successful leader. Here we’ll take you through the top 5 ways to coach your team to success and become a great leader in the process.
Coaching isn’t just about the employee. A large part of coaching is also about the way you interact with each member of your team. If you can level with people, understand the issues they may face in their role and be sensitive to possible opposing outlooks, you’ll be far better equipped to help your people overcome barriers and work together as a team.
Being more aware of and increasing your emotional intelligence will mean you’re better prepared to support and guide people: it’s not surprising that successful leaders seem to have higher than average levels of emotional intelligence. Being emotionally intelligent requires a focus both on understanding your own viewpoint and being able to empathize with the viewpoints of others. This provides the basis you need to work closely with your team on a personal level.
Know each individual’s strengths
Coaching isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. It’s important to tailor your focus to the person you’re interacting with. Each member brings something unique to your team. Your job as a manager is to find out what each person’s strengths are and help them develop these skills with a tailored coaching plan. Having a genuine understanding of the individuals that make up your team and what they need to work towards will allow you to more efficiently plan and execute projects. Furthermore, Gallup found that people who use their strengths every day are six times more engaged.
Asking people what they want from the coaching process goes hand-in-hand with communicating well. Rather than simply creating a development plan based on strengths, include them in the conversation by asking what it is that excites them, what they’d like to learn and where they want to go in the future. While helping employees develop their visible strengths is key, don’t forget that they may have hidden talents which are yet to be discovered.
Really listening to your employees responses and tailoring the next steps around their answers shows you value your people and are prepared to help them reach their goals. The coaching you provide should aid them on their road to professional development process, however, ultimately the most effective strategy is to use these conversation to help them take control of their own development.
Once you know what your employees’ skills are and where they want to go, it’s time to help them put those skills into practice. Begin giving each individual responsibility over tasks which will help them develop in their key areas. This can include providing stretch assignments, letting them take the reigns on a new project or pushing them to take the lead on a sales call. The best way to learn is by doing and the more autonomy you give them, the more you’ll demonstrate your trust and confidence in their abilities.
It’s key to make sure your people know that you’re not expecting them to improve instantly overnight. Development is a process and there will be setbacks on the way but that’s why you’re there to help. Making sure to check-in with them regularly will show that you’re available for advice and feedback, without encroaching on their sense of autonomy.
Feedback is key
It’s impossible for people to develop without feedback. If your team aren’t aware of what they can improve, it doesn’t allow them to change or really build upon what’s going well. Providing effective, real-time feedback is the most important element to becoming a great coach. It’s not only important to be timely with your constructive feedback, but also in recognizing and celebrating achievements.
With looming deadlines, shifts in focus and new projects always on the horizon we know that it can be tough to stay on top of your coaching responsibilities. Our new Praise & Tip feature allows you to keep track of how often you’re providing feedback to each team member and alerts you when someone may be lacking guidance.
The feature also allows you to take action immediately by providing them with either praise for a job well done or a tip that could help them improve.
Storing your feedback interactions into the system allows you to later go back and see what each individual’s strengths are and what they need to work on. This information can then be used to help you create effective development plans and have more insightful 1-on-1 conversations with each member of your team.
Coaching is an increasingly important part of a modern manager's job. It’s key to get comfortable with coaching people by building genuine, unique relationships with your team members, using feedback efficiently, and listening to people to find out what they want and where they feel they’re headed. Once you’re collaborating like this and leading your team in the direction they need, you’re well on your way to coaching a happy and motivated team to success.
Photo by Daria Shevtsova