The number one skill leaders should possess is the ability to converse and thoughtfully react to situations. We call this the Situational Coach.
Situational Coaching is having the ability and agility to converse with people no matter the situation. This requires a coach to know what questions and what strategies to utilize specific to the situation. For example, let's take two various situations that are typical in today's workplace. First, what if we have an employee who's really performed well and is considered a high potential talent, but there are no job openings in terms of promotions? You know that this person might start to look for jobs due to the lack of opportunities, but you know that down the road that this person is a keeper and more importantly that the organization would benefit by maintaining this talent. What does that conversation look like? How does one even have that conversation? How does a coach even start that conversation?
The number one skill seems so simple, but so many factors are against it! People cannot do it well at all. Many things get in its way, like our own thoughts and objectives. People rarely do one valuable thing that builds clarity and trust- that's active listening, where you state back what somebody said during dialogue. Active listening plays a huge role in having effective conversations, which many people struggle with.
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:
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.
Without practice employees do not arbitrarily improve. Without practice we cannot observe skills and behaviors to reinforce. Without practice employees will not arbitrarily develop confidence. Without practice managers are allowing employees to practice for the first time in front of peers and customers. So what is a manager to do especially when time is limited? Here are five strategies we would encourage you to adopt when it comes to facilitating practice:
When I think about learning I think about employees who have gone to a class or maybe an online course and they’ve experienced knowledge dissemination or skill development. Where does coaching come in?
Let’s take two scenarios to illustrate this point. First, somebody attends an internal corporate workshop where he or she have learned the valuable material and engaged with his or her teammates throughout the company.
We hear it all the time "I don't have time to coach my employees" or "our industry is really different and our managers are working managers" or "we hire really good people" or ???
The fact of the matter is some of the aforementioned reasons certainly have some merit but what if managers could creatively build their own coaching programs and apply coaching strategies even when they're physically not present? What if managers were really taught how to address the two major reasons why they do not coach and provided real world assistance and support?
The Power of Progress! We've been teaching Progress Coaching™ for over 20 years I wanted to share with you a really cool concept: The Progress Initiative. The Progress Initiative is a movement organizations can take for talent development and retention as well as the cultivation of effective leadership.
Often, organizations will deploy a workplace engagement study to ascertain their employee's happiness and level of engagement. This could include their salary, their benefits, their engagement levels, their motivation, their team dynamics, or what have you. The purpose of the engagement study is to find out what's going on in the workplace. Often, organizations will do this on an annual basis which quite frankly is just not enough. Often, the results will be shown to an executive or upper management team only to have it sit there.
Starting a coaching relationship is not always easy to do and one of the things we teach in the progress coaching training system is something we call the awareness stage. The awareness stage is when we make someone aware of the opportunity to improve but the language and approach we use is as critical as anything. The goal of this stage is not to convince somebody that they have to improve, rather it's to make them aware of the opportunity, seek their emotional commitment to the area of opportunity, and ultimately establish a cadence associated with getting together.
The goal of coaching is ultimately to get people to look in the mirror step one and then take step two which is to take action on step one. The funny thing is very few people do step one very well. It's hard to be honest with yourself.
Here are a few examples of the challenges people have as it relates to being honest with themselves. Let's take a salesperson who's had a great year and when you ask that salesperson why they had a great year they tend to talk all about themselves. The next year they have a down year and you ask them what happened they tend to bring up extraneous things such as the economy or pricing issues or product issues. The funny thing is good salespeople sell during tough times.
Recently, I had a conversation with an organization where one of the managers felt like there would be greater traction with their end of the year engagement study results if upper level management participated in coaching and mentoring. He presented a true fear of having such a conversation as it was filled with political potholes and risk. What is a manager to do?