By Vicki M. Daughdrill
Small Business Resources LLC
Wikipedia defines coaching as "a method of personal development or human resource development ... an excellent way to attain a certain work behavior that will improve leadership, employee accountability, teamwork, sales, communication, goal setting, strategic planning and more."
In his book The Manager as Coach and Mentor, author Eric Parsloe defines coaching as "a process that enables learning and development to occur and thus performance to improve. To be a successful Coach requires knowledge and understanding of process as well as the variety of styles, skills and techniques that are appropriate to the context in which the coaching takes place."
As a business owner or manager, your responsibility is to make sure your team is performing effectively. And for the team to perform effectively, each team member must contribute and work efficiently. Coaching employees is one of the best strategies an owner or manager can utilize for developing better employee relationships resulting in higher productivity, increased morale, skill development and improved performance.
Managers and business owners coach to build knowledge and skills and provide training that is in addition to any formal or on-the-job training programs offered by the company and can be structured or informal. Coaching can also be part of an ongoing program to develop employees for higher levels of responsibility within the company. Many companies evaluate potential leaders on the criteria of how well they coach and develop other employees and their replacements.
The old adage that you cannot move to the next level on the ladder until you have groomed your successor holds true today. Many managers feel territorial toward their jobs and knowledge and fail to prepare for succession. In this case, the company suffers when they leave and no one is prepared to step in and assume their responsibilities.
What can coaching and developing employees do for the company? It can help to:
As we all know, businesses today remain under tremendous pressure to do more with less and to become streamlined, efficient and effective in the face of growing global competition. Business owners and managers must retain committed employees in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
One way to achieve this goal is for owners or managers to transform into coaches rather than remain supervisors or controllers. Like many management skills, coaching employees is a technique and a process that requires an investment of time and energy to achieve success.
Each coaching opportunity is unique and requires an understanding of the individuals involved. No two coaching situations are the same, as no two individuals have the same goals and skills.
Surveys tell us that employees remain with organizations when:
Coaching creates an environment that helps ensure that these factors exist in the workplace while the consequences of failing to provide top-quality coaching are low morale and high turnover.
What skill sets do you need to provide successful coaching? Following is a list to help you assess your abilities.
If you do not trust people to do their jobs, you must recognize that you either have the wrong person for the job, you haven't trained them sufficiently, or you failed to allow them to do their jobs.
By focusing on developing the individual, top notch results will follow - assuming you have the proper person in the position. And remember, one size does not fit all. Employees learn by different methods, therefore, the coaching sessions must be customized to fit the needs of each individual employee.
Coaching sessions can be long or short, formal or informal, structured or unstructured based on the manager's style and the material to be covered. For the greatest potential outcome, take time to prepare for each session. Here are some steps to help you begin the coaching process with your employees.
Conduct the coaching session
Former General Electric Chief Executive Officer Jack Welch said, "If there is anything I would like to be remembered for it is that I helped people understand that leadership is helping other people grow and succeed. To repeat myself, leadership is not just about you. It's about them."
Managers are rarely fired because of poor technical skills; however, many management careers fail because of an inability to deal with the human resources issues required in today's business climate. Take time to coach your employees and remember . . . it's about them.
Vicki M. Daughdrill is the Managing Member of Small Business Resources LLC, a management consulting company. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 601-310-3594.
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