When you hear the words engagement and coaching used together, you generally think about your employees. Are they engaged enough in their work and with each other? What can I do as a coach to improve their engagement? However, one of the most important questions generally goes unasked. Am I fully engaged in my coaching and with my employees? As a coach, it is important that you are 100% engaged.
A few aspects to consider:
Make sure you're body language doesn't give off a negative or closed off impression, this can make you seem disengaged and uninterested in what your employee has to say.
If an employee comes to you for help, and as they are talking to you, you pull out your cell phone or glance at your computer, that immediately alerts the employee that you are not fully engaged. This can make your employee feel less important and make them reluctant to ask for your help the next time.
Make sure employees know that you are not only listening to what they have to say, but also understanding what they are saying.
Use words like 'we' to show that you and your employee are in this together. Use language that shows your employee that you understand what their problem is and what they are asking you.
By being conscious of each one of these aspects of engagement, you can create helpful and engaged interactions with your employees, that helps them to build confidence in themselves and in you.
What to avoid
When you are disengaged during an interaction with an employee, that information is likely to spread to other employees also. This can create a bad reputation for you as a manager, and may make other employees uncomfortable and unwilling to bring their problems to you.
Make sure to always give each interaction your best. Once you make one bad decision (pull out your cell phone, brush off an employee, etc.) it can start to form a bad habit, and is likely to happen more and more frequently
How to avoid being disengaged
There will be times when an employee comes to you with a problem or a question and you are too busy to give them your full attention at that time. Do not only give them part of your attention and be disengaged. Instead, stop what you are doing for about thirty seconds and say, "Jane, your concern/question is very important to me, but I cannot give it all of my attention right now, how about you come back and talk to me in 30 minutes and we can solve it together then." This shows your employee that you care about their situation and you will be willing to help.
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