I'm going to say it- it's easier to coach someone else than it is to coach yourself. Just think about it, how often do we latch on to giving our two cents when it comes to anything? From giving our friends some advice on a new diet, telling someone how to optimize their workflow, to relationship advice and how to handle conflict at work. All of these things require little or no acceptance or awareness of how we execute any of those things. This distancing is why we prefer to focus on others rather than ourselves- it just feels better. You feel like you're being helpful, you're accomplishing something by giving someone advice or coaching someone, you're fostering a relationship, be it at work or in your personal life. But, when's the last time you asked yourself this question: Did this person really need to hear what I just told them, and why did I feel it was necessary to share that with them?
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?
Think of the number of interactions we have each day – how many of those interactions are more than two minutes long? And at the end of the day, how my of those interactions do we actually remember? When we have conversations, being prepared is the key to helping your customers love what you have to offer them in a short amount of time, not just with your product or service, but with you as a person. So the big question is: how can a salesperson be genuinely interested in a transaction and a customer without coming off as overbearing?
As someone with a background in counseling, and as a citizen who pays attention to the world around them, the world can be a tough place. Instead of avoiding difficult subjects, we know that genuine human connection can help ease some of the burden. Some of these difficult subjects like workplace culture, engagement studies, and emotional intelligence are trending for a great reason- companies are owning the fact that embracing each of these areas is key towards their overall success as a company. So, you know you need to focus on these things because they keep popping up everywhere- the news, social media, word-of-mouth around the office, mandates from upper management. Great! You've embraced the first step of the process, which is gaining an understanding. Then that begs the question- now what?
Leaving little notes on your employees’ desks, taking 30 seconds out of your day to let someone know something specific that they have done that you appreciate, or calling a meeting just to let your team know that what they do is appreciated are all ways that positivity can drive a positive and productive workplace atmosphere. So what happens when positivity is missing?
There are two sides to parenting – the enforcer, and the pleaser. Most parents try to opt for the middle: represented by the coach. In many ways, the middle ground in parenting and coaching is the balance between enforcer and pleaser - someone who looks to lead but must also follow the cues given by those we are trying to coach, whether those people are our children, our employees, or our sports team. We look to that coaching figure as the authority but also the guiding hand.
This is the first part of a series from Alyssa Zickert, our new Coaching Strategist here at Progress Coaching. Let us know what you think in the comments!
Sometimes we must reach down and reconnect with our roots – in business, our roots are the employees that help build companies from the ground up. The most valuable connection any manager can possibly make in the office can be made in many ways, with the most effective being outside the comfort of the manager’s office- building valuable trust between manager and employee.
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.