Supplements are so prevalent here in the United States that they have their own storefronts, loyal fan-bases, and are even touted across cable networks due to their popularity. Scientific evidence shows that some of these are beneficial to our overall health, but on one condition- they are most effective in conjunction with overall healthy behavior like diet and exercise. You can't take a magic diet supplement, for example, and expect to lose weight, all while pounding cheeseburgers and beer (wouldn't that be AWESOME?). So, in order to get the most out of your supplements, you need to support it with a healthy lifestyle.
"Supplemental" coaching can be viewed in the same way we look at dietary supplements. In order for supplemental coaching to be effective, you need to have a strong and comprehensive coaching plan and culture in place.
Supplemental coaching should be implemented just how the name suggests- in ADDITION to, not in PLACE of full-fledged coaching.
Simply assigning a supplemental coaching strategy will not only fail to accomplish your overall coaching goals, it would demonstrate to the person you're coaching that you simply don't have time for coaching. The following are ways to assist in implementing supplemental coaching techniques into your coaching culture:
- Be consistent- Consistency does two things- first, it establishes routine, where an employee can expect that supplemental coaching is just a part of their daily coaching expectations; and second, it provides a sense of equality across the office. If you look at a school setting, what do teachers do? They practice routines daily to make sure expectations are met and executed, and to create a sense of equality among students. The same theory applies to the workplace. Not only does consistency support a coaching culture for your employees, it also holds you accountable for implementing the supplemental techniques.
- Follow through- As stated, you're ultimately the one to support the coaching culture. Now, you might say, "Well, I can't do everything for them!" That's not entirely wrong, however, as someone who endorses coaching, you need to provide the structure in order to let coaching flourish. You can't talk a big game and not be willing to play. Make sure you set up expectations and guidelines, and simply follow through. Give them the tools, and let them build the culture with you.
- Check in- Supplemental coaching only works if you eventually check in to see if they're making progress or changes. If you were to just give someone a deadline, you'd probably check in at some point to make sure the work is being done, both accurately and in a timely manner. The same can be said with supplemental coaching. By occasionally checking in on their progress, you're demonstrating a couple things. First, you're executing quality control to see if they're doing what they're supposed to; second, you're demonstrating investment in the process. If your coworkers, employees, or teammates see you demonstrating concern, especially praise for their hard work, they'll be more apt to put a bit more in themselves.
- Adapt- Here's the thing with coaching, teaching, or interacting in general- sometimes a prescribed way of doing something won't resonate or work with certain people. Does that make that person difficult to work with, or resistant to change? Not necessarily. It's important that you do some self-reflection in the process of coaching by asking yourself a few questions like: "Was the way I said that helpful or hurtful?" or, "What can I do to make my coaching more impactful?" That being said, if the issue isn't with you, turn that into a coaching conversation with your employee to get a better understanding of their needs and how you both can address areas of concern.
Dietary supplements aren't a quick fix, and neither is supplemental coaching. In order for both to be successful, they need the support of a healthy way of being. Supplemental coaching has the potential to take your coaching culture to the next level by increasing engagement with the process. It also takes on the age old task of saving time, with many techniques not requiring the presence of the person delivering the coaching. That said, it's important to keep in mind the necessity of remembering the key phrase, "supplemental". This does not replace the need to coach in the traditional sense, it simply supplements it.