The purpose of coaching is progress. We coach to help employees progress toward their goals and eventually achieve them. Coaching is the means to a successful end. Progress can be seen in many aspects of an employee and their work. Motivation, attitude, engagement, effort, relationships, etc. all show how an employee is progressing, and each of those aspects is developed by coaching. Progress develops from good coaching techniques. Here are 7 coaching techniques to help increase progress.
- Often times employees will ask a manager how to do something or what to do. When a manager is short on time he or she will simply give the answer so they can move on. Unfortunately this interaction encourages employees to develop a dependency on managers instead of independence and confidence to discover the answer for themselves. The question back learning technique prompts the employee to own the situation. This technique has the leader asking the employee “What do you think you should do “ or “if I were not here right now what would you do”.
- This learning technique helps employees realize their fear or apprehension with completing a task by admitting their fears. The technique lowers their defense by using a 3rd party of observation. For example, if an employee is hesitant to complete something or admit their challenge, a manager might ask ”If the president were here right now, what would his or her impression of you be?” This forces the employee to view the situation and their behavior from a 3rd party perspective, allowing them to judge their circumstances without first person thoughts, feelings, or perspective.
- This learning technique is similar to 3rd party question; we simply replace the 3rd party element with the word “hypothetically”. For example, if an employee were demonstrating a lack of skills in an area, the manager could say,“Hypothetically if you could instantly improve any aspect of XYZ what would it be?” Asking a hypothetical question allows the employee to answer without feeling as though he or she needs to defend himself/herself. Setting up a hypothetical scenario gives the employee the opportunity to discover the issue or area of struggle, without feeling attacked by his or her manager.
- When coaching or teaching on sensitive topics, it is often uncomfortable for both managers and employees. When addressing a hard-hitting issue it is imperative to allow employees to speak their minds. In these situations, silence, when used properly, can encourage more communication from the employee than any amount of questions. The natural flow of conversation follows that each person will speak one after the other. After the employee has come to a pause, he or she is expecting you to respond/speak next however, remaining silent creates a break in the flow of conversation. This unnatural gap of silence a actually a non-verbal cue that will signal to the employee that he or she should continue to talk, filling the pause and sharing more information than they originally intended.
- This technique is exactly what it sounds like. You exaggerate the point to an absurd level to ensure your point is made. This can be very productive for employees who maybe have a negative outlook and/ or all other efforts have been exhausted. Creating an extreme scenario helps to amplify your message and break through to employees. A good exaggeration will get employees to see the foundation of your message and dismiss any irrelevant details they may want to argue or defend.
- This is a great coaching technique to use when training employees in knowledge, skill, or behavioral based challenges. Example: “On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being outstanding and 1 being terrible, how you would rate your ability to close customers from a skill perspective” The Rating Question technique will help you discover discrepancy within performance and create a dialog to discuss them. If an employee rates himself at a level 9 but you rate him at a level 5, the inconsistency becomes clear and adjustment can be made.
- These techniques are geared towards knowledge and skill development respectfully. Reverse roles and ask employees to teach you or give you a demonstration on the desired item or knowledge or skill will validate whether or not the employee has the knowledge or skill. True knowledge is achieved when an employee is capable of teaching or demonstrating it. Let’s face it; it is awfully difficult to teach someone else about a topic when you don’t know anything about it.
Using different coaching techniques can help your employee strengthen their skills, and make progress toward their goals.