Business leaders can have many titles. But excelling at one role is a highly-effective way to bring about better performance in your employees: the role of a coach.
Coaching is about bringing a person from where they are to where they want to be; it is about transformation. Transformational leadership is a specific type of leadership that is becoming more popular today.
Transformational leaders create a lasting, positive impression on people and improve the companies they work for. And employees are more satisfied and productive under them. What leaders do is to work with employees to improve specific work behaviors and skills, and in the process, they become better themselves.
Are you a leader who wants to see better results from those you lead? What are some things you should do? Follow these coaching tips that have helped many of the leaders I work with.
10 techniques to coach employees to improved performance
- Foster an ongoing dialogue between yourself and the employee(s). You want to be in touch with the person or people you are coaching. The dialogue must be two-way and continuous.
- Collaborate with the person you are coaching. Work together to identify problem areas, to set standards and to develop a performance improvement plan.
- Set up and follow a plan with the person or team you are coaching. Have a plan of action about what specifically needs to improve or change.
- Share resources with them to help them become more successful in their work. Send them emails, or articles, you think they might find useful. Give them books and talk about what they think about what you share with them.
- Celebrate success. Recognition is the best motivator and will show the employee that they are valued and doing something right. Find the person’s strengths and highlight them.
- Acknowledge problems and concerns. Talk with employees about any problems or concerns you, or they, may have.
- Listen actively. Try to be attentive, summarize their thoughts and give your feedback to what employees have to say.
- Improve your questioning skills. Good coaches ask open-ended and non-threatening questions. The better the question, the higher likelihood of a great answer.
- Try to be objective and nonjudgmental. You want them to be comfortable and honest with you. Focus on behaviors and the impact they have, not the personality.
- Get people to think through their actions. Getting people to think things through can bring about personal insight and will help you understand them better.
Practice a behavioral approach to coaching
In his book, “Coaching for Improved Work Performance”, Ferdinand Fournies explains that focusing on an employee’s’ behavior is the key to correcting and improving performance. He says that leaders should focus on the behavior they want and reinforce that, rather than punishing the behavior they don’t want.
He also explains that telling someone something is not enough. A person must say AND do something that will make the other person receive their message. Asking the person questions is a way to do this.
He also gives a few more ways for leaders to improve the behaviors of their employees:
- Let employees know what they are supposed to do.
- Follow up with employees to maintain proper performance.
- Create a feedback system.
- Increase the amount of verbal reinforcement.
Coaching is often a one-on-one process, but leaders can also set an example and coach an entire team. To do this, leaders must be available to everyone. They often come in the morning and talk to each employee and try to become a part of their group, rather than simply being someone who leads from the corner office. This kind of leadership is hard work, but the benefits are huge.
Have you experienced working with a transformational leader who has demonstrated great coaching skills? What else did they practice that made them transformational?