Coaching attitudes is one of the toughest things that managers will have to deal with in the workplace. Attitudes will make or break companies. There are typical mistakes that managers will make when coaching their employees which affects their attitude development. They spend little time cultivating attitudes and more time trying to correct attitudes. When coaching attitudes in the workplace, it takes on a different approach than what is typically done. You cannot teach someone to change their attitude or to get a new attitude. You can, however, impact someone’s attitude. Ultimately, you are giving someone the choice to change their attitude. If someone does not want to improve or change their attitude, they are not going to do it because their manager or even a co-worker arbitrarily tells them they need to.
Coaching attitudes is about getting someone to look at their own attitude to see how they are behaving in the workplace and ultimately giving them a choice to change it. Anyone can be coached by choice, but if a manager is skilled enough with coaching then the employee is in a better position to be coached. Coaching is a two-step process. The first step is about getting someone to look in the mirror and the second step is getting them to take action on the first step. The goal is to get the employee to see how they are behaving in the workplace and to take action on their behavior.
Managers tend to want to correct their employees' attitudes instead of cultivating positive attitudes. If an employee is being coached on their negative or arduous attitude, they will not be as willing to be coached if all they hear are negative things. When coaching employees to change their attitude, it is important to ask questions rather than telling them what they need to do and that they need to change their attitude. Asking questions will help to determine what is affecting their attitude. Some of the questions to ask the employee would be:
- Does the employee know what is expected of them?
- Does the employee feel they have an open, comfortable work environment?
- Does the employee feel they have part in decision making in their current position?
How do you coach someone to improve their attitude? There are a variety of methods to use when coaching employees, but the main objective is to help facilitate the employee’s choice to change their attitude. The manager should schedule the following activities:
- Observe other employees with positive attitudes
- Assign a learning project such as inspirational books, articles, motivational CD’s, etc.
- Set-up role-playing with team members - for example, practice how to keep up a positive attitude even when dealing with a tough customer.
After any of the above activities, it is important to ask questions or have them report back what they have learned from their activities from a positive perspective. This transfers the ownership from the manager demanding the performance change to the employee who makes the choice to make the improvement.
Coaching employees to help them develop positive attitudes can give them more confidence, creativity, motivation and optimism. All these attributes will help create a better working environment for everyone. As previously stated, managers can encourage employees to change their attitude but cannot change or control their attitudes. That is a choice that they have to make on their own. You do, however, have control over your own attitude. Attitudes can be contagious and if you portray a positive and upbeat attitude throughout the day, your employees are more likely to do the same.