We invest a lot of time and energy into figuring out how to best operate our businesses. From lean consulting down to employee performance improvement plans, we seek to figure out the best solutions to our most common workplace problems. We're able to spend millions of dollars a year on these practices, but we're omitting something vital when it comes to getting at the heart of what's going on at our companies- we're forgetting the "why".
“What do I do when I feel as though my relationship with my coaching candidate is not bringing about the results I’m looking for? I feel as though I’ve been working with them forever but not finding success!”
Communication is key, right? It's often the answer to relationship problems with a partner, the issue that comes up when we use emails too frequently, and it's the tool we use in the corporate world to stay in touch with our fellow employees, managers, and teams. But what's the difference between quality and quantity when it comes to communication? Is it really the be-all-end-all that brings a manager and employee together, or is constant communication more aptly named "conflicting"? Here are some common themes we see with communication at Progress Coaching that get in the way of successful employee and manager relationships:
When we think about what motivates us in our jobs, it comes down to something we want to achieve – the next big promotion, a pay raise, or the respect of our peers. But what is really behind those things? What do we truly want to accomplish for ourselves? That promotion may really mean job security for some, or a sense of progress for others. The pay raise? Financial security or savings for something big for yourself or your family. And the respect of our peers can stem from our need for approval from others. There is generally an emotional attachment to your goals, and even by setting them in the first place you have taken the first big step toward accomplishing them. Everyone has a goal, including the individuals on your team – all you have to do is ask the right questions.
So many times in my job, I get a lot of questions like, “how do you coach to engagement study results?” Questions like that remind me that so many engagement studies are based on personality tests, blanketing entire groups of individuals who are just that – INDIVIDUAL! So how can an engagement study accurately portray the personalities of each person on your team by putting them into categories rather than coaching to the individual themselves? Just a heads-up on that one – most of the time, leaders will adjust their coaching only to the groups of personalities that the engagement study believes that people with all sorts of different personalities might fall into. That strategy is time-effective, sure, as you can coach the individuals in each category the same, but not the most accurate strategy out there.
When thinking about coaches of athletes, we typically picture the in-game situations. High-intensity, focused instruction paired with cheers and positive affirmations are the general structure of a coach’s interactions with players in a game or match. But what about practices? How does the coach play a part outside of the intense game play in helping the individuals they are coaching become better at their craft? And how do they get the individuals to remain ENGAGED?
I think every manager, leader, supervisor, trainer and coach has had this thought at some point in their career: What do I do with someone that isn’t engaged – are they even worth coaching? Gut instinct says, “You can’t change the way a person is.” However, after some consideration of a strategy, you can help the individual find their place. Often, lack of engagement comes from either lack of understanding or lack of knowledge on how they play a role in the company. And, for the record, every person is worth coaching to some degree. It all depends on how far you’re willing to reach to find their true motivation.
I've been in the practice of teaching and training managers how to coach their employees for over 20 years now. One thing that's been around even longer than that are assessment tools. Those tools are quite valuable, but we started to realize something. Many of these assessment tools are based on personality, and the output is usually canned pieces of information that require managers to interpret the data on their own in order to create a plan or coaching strategy specific to what they learned. This can be very complicated, convoluted, and quite frankly very difficult for managers, especially those who aren't yet skilled in coaching. In order to make this process easier for managers to immediately apply assessment results to tangible coaching strategies, we at Progress Coaching have created the Dual Assessment Strategy.
While the industry has many valuable tools there is a tremendous opportunity of using a dual assessment strategy to bring the manager and employee together for common ground, greater understanding of one another, and a framework to apply coaching strategies. Progress Coaching has created such a strategy using two custom assessment strategies:
Maybe it comes from an idol – someone you’ve looked up to for ages. Maybe it comes from something that motivates you personally at home. Maybe it’s an interaction you had with someone that gave you a huge boost of confidence. Whatever that maybe is for you, everyone has a source for inspiration to be the greatest that comes from outside your company’s walls.
As I was scrolling through my phone this morning, I came across a recent article on Forbes, "Doing This for 5 Minutes Every Morning Can Make You Nearly Twice as Productive". Turns out my daily ritual of scrolling my phone before I even consume coffee isn't setting me up for success. Luckily, I'm not alone. More than 7,000 people have taken the free online test “How Do Your Time Management Skills Stack Up?” 66% of people check their email, while only about 34% make a plan for the day. How does this translate to your day? Check out the article above for some really interesting data analysis.
Many people have been in a situation where they are questioning if it is “their place” to step in to coach someone else. In determining your role as a coach, there are factors that should be taken into consideration, such as the impact that your coaching might have on the situation, your relationship to the individual, and that individual’s supervisor if you are not it.
Throughout my daily life, I try to illustrate connections between great customer service and coaching. It's apparent when a company truly embraces what it means to have a great culture when you experience it consistently across an organization. I welcome the millennial stereotype of brand loyalty when it comes to working with or spending money with companies that move beyond simply "talking the talk" and wholeheartedly take on the "walking the walk" piece. It's easy today to fall into a trap of simply believing a company's promise, whether it's a proclamation that their green initiatives go above and beyond their competition, or that their attention to detail and lack of frivolity is why you should purchase their product. The way I sort through this over-saturation of abundant promises is through speaking with a customer service representative.
The phrase "role-playing" universally tends to conjure up sighs, eye-rolls, and groans. Even though this is the typical case, can we all agree that we don't get better without practice? One of the reasons role-playing get such a negative connotation really has nothing to do with role-playing itself, rather it’s based upon how we give one another feedback.
Confidence is a very brittle thing and can be broken in an instant. One of the most fundamental examples of this is when people role-play or practice inside a corporate meeting. After the practice session is completed feedback is provided and for whatever reason people seem to unload on constructive feedback. They will provide one or two things the person did well and then lead with the phrase such as "here is what I would do if I were you" and then they begin to provide multiple counts of constructive feedback. Rarely do people ever leave these meetings invigorated and the proof is when role-playing or practice is announced most people usually roll their eyes and dread the thought of doing it but why? These sessions indicate people typically do not have confidence associated with practice just due to the nature of how the feedback is provided.