Coaching and Mentoring: More Critical Than Ever
The old rules of management and supervision simply don’t work with today’s complex workforce. That’s why the most effective leaders in America now rely on the power of coaching and mentoring to lead their teams to success. It’s through mentoring that your most valued employees can realize their full potential and take their skills to the next level. Great talent is hard to find and harder to keep — and mentoring improves employee retention, because individuals who are growing and developing on the job are less likely to leave.
Coaching, in simple terms, means to train, tutor or give instruction. It is an excellent skill that can be used to enhance growth and performance, as well as promote individual responsibility and accountability. Performance coaching is an ongoing process which helps build and maintain effective employee-supervisor relationships. Many organizations and leaders have identified coaching as a critical leadership and management competency. In addition, employees are asking more and more for coaching. True coaching improves employee and organizational resiliency and effectiveness in change.
Why coaching is critical to your organization
1. Communicates expectations and goals
2. Creates supportive relationships
3. Provides direction
4. Provides performance feedback
5. Identifies needed training
6. Empowers the employee
7. Improves the employee’s understanding, skills and confidence
8. Offers praise and rewards
Behaviors that contribute to effective employee coaching
Effective coaches not only accurately identify performance problems; they are proficient at developing solutions. While different people may have different styles of coaching, certain behaviors have proven more conducive to creating a coaching atmosphere that will make a positive difference.
Four sets of effective coaching behaviors:
1. Positive attitude: By having a positive attitude and conveying it through your example and your feedback, you set an expectation of how employees should act
2. Being specific: By being specific with your expectations and your feedback, employees have a clearer understanding of what is expected and how they are performing
3. Appropriate modeling: By modeling appropriate behaviors and skills, you set a good example for your employees to follow
4. Being proactive: By providing expectations, training and resources up front, you give employees the tools they need to meet your expectations. This sets the stage for success.
Prepare for a coaching session
Preparation is vital to success when coaching employees. One of the biggest mistakes a manager can make is “just winging it.”
To conduct a successful coaching session:
1. Have a clear and organized agenda—the direction you want to take the meeting
2. Gather facts
3. Have specific goals or objectives for the coaching session. Be able to define expectations and performance standards for the employee.
4. Prioritize goals if you have more than one
5. Prepare the employee—have them come prepared to tell you what they think they do well and where they can make improvements
6. Anticipate objections and how you will respond to them
7. Be prepared to give praise to the employee for what they are doing well
It’s a simple formula: A well-educated staff is a good staff. And the key to a well-educated staff is good training and coaching from management. But too often good supervisors overlook this vital part of their job and leave their staff to their own devices, struggling to learn through trial and error. Not only is this a huge time-waster, but it also doesn’t allow you to transfer knowledge you’ve gained through experience.