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.
I recently read an article written by Travis Bradberry entitled, "Nine Types of People Who Never Succeed At Work", and it immediately got me thinking. This quote stood out to me: "None of these behaviors are a career death sentence because they can be eradicated through improved emotional intelligence. All it takes is a little self-awareness and a strong desire to change."
Let's face it- we all work with people who fit the characteristics that Travis details in this article. But this begs the question- do you simply wait for the employee or coworker to become self-aware on their own schedule, or do you intervene and propel the change?
Coaching is the new leadership. The days of leaders commanding and demanding people with little to input are way behind us. People crave strong leaders, but they also want an opportunity and a platform to share their ideas and insights.
When you think about conflict, or confronting someone, does it make you nervous? Doesn't it make a lot of people nervous? I want to share a notion with you that conflict, in certain moments, can be unbelievably healthy. Let me give you a couple of examples.
One of the toughest things that we go through is our ability to recruit employees. The toughest thing we need to consider is that the world is shrinking and it is very easy for candidates to find out what our organizations are like as well as specific managers and their leadership styles. A brief example might be a candidate going to work for a company and not knowing much about the company. What will the candidate do knowing he or she may have multiple offers from different companies? They may go to LinkedIn and see if they know anybody at the company. This is where a manager's personal leadership brand becomes evident or least it’s perception. A candidate might call someone at the company to find out what that boss is like. On one hand what if the boss has a reputation of not being very engaged and occasionally flies off the handle yelling in staff meetings? On the other hand what if the manager is engaged and has developed a relationship of being positive in a great developer of talent?
The most fundamental mistakes managers make when they're coaching is that they coach to the situation and not to the issue(s). Let me give you a brief example. Let's say you walk by and you hear three people at the water cooler gossiping and talking negatively about other people. You hear them demonstrating very mean spirited comments. They are really being poor teammates and employees. Often, we might address those situations feeling like we've corrected them when in fact we have not even started to coach to the real issues which might be poor attitude or a lack of teamwork or not upholding corporate values and principles. We tend to have managers thinking about coaching as an apparatus to fix things or to adjust people.
What's been a pleasant surprise in the last two years is that the coaching industry and the coaching movement has gone from this concept of, "It would be nice to coach if we had time," to organizations stating, "We must coach our employees." This has been, needless to say, refreshing.
This still begs the question- how do we motivate our managers to coach?
This article is not about how to coach, but how to continue to push our managers up that hill, since time is not an ally when so many managers today wear so many hats.
I bet when you first read the title you thought it was over the top. This is from a company we worked with years ago that had less than 15 people when I first started working with them. I'll never forget the day this conversation took place. It still reminds me of the value of teaching coaching and what I do for a living.
A manager of one of our clients sites was extremely upset with one of his employees. He was in the "lobby", but due to the small size of the company, everyone could hear what was being said. The manager got in the employee's face, began to yell, literally called the employee stupid and began to use profanity. In the spirit of time I'll cut to the end of the story. The employee was extremely upset and abruptly left the company quitting without a two-week notice.
When we have to do something associated with conflict and confrontation, people tend to get very squeamish and hesitant to even do so. But, in the meantime, they'll go off and tell others of their frustrations, resulting in "Water Cooler Talk"!
One of the questions I receive frequently from managers is about getting their managers or executive team to coach them. They often fear retribution if they bring it up- as if they are crossing a line. When we provide our program to organizations, everybody says you should start with the executive team, which I agree with, but often it gets pushed down to management levels below the executive team. Executives are incredibly busy today, but so are managers below this level!
The coaching industry is growing by leaps and bounds. With that being, said I think we have to be very conscientious of the reasons why we need to coach and not just for the traditional reasons of engagement and performance development, but more organizational reasons as well.