The Progress Coaching Blog

7 Coaching Techniques That Work

June 24, 2013 Posted by : Tim Hagen
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Employee Development


1)Question Back 
  • Often times employees will ask a manager how to do something or what to do. When a manager is short on time he or she will simply give the answer so they can move on, unfortunately this interaction encourages employees to develop a dependency on managers instead of independence and confidence to discover the answer for themselves. The question back learning technique prompts the employee to own the situation. This technique has the leader asking the employee “What do you think you should do “ or “if I were not here right now what would you do”.  
2) 3rd Party Observation
This learning technique helps employees realize their fear or apprehension with completing a task by admitting their fears. The technique lowers their defense by using a 3rd party of observation. For example, if an employee is hesitant to complete something or admit their challenge a manager might ask ”If the president were here right now, what would his or her impression of you be?” 
This forces the employee to view the situation and their behavior from a 3rd party perspective allowing them to judge the their circumstances without first person thoughts, feelings, or perspective.
  • This learning technique is similar to 3rd party question; we simply replace the 3rd party element with the word “hypothetically”. For example, if an employee were demonstrating a lack of skills in an area the manager could say,“Hypothetically if you could instantly improve any aspect of XYZ what would it be?” Asking a hypothetical question allows the employee to answer without feeling as though he or she needs to defend himself/herself. Setting up a hypothetical scenario gives the employee an opportunity to discover the issue or area of struggle without feeling attacked by his or her manager.
4) Silence is Your Friend 

  • When coaching or teaching on sensitive topics, it is often uncomfortable for both managers and employees. When addressing a hard-hitting issue it is imperative to allow employees to speak their minds. In these situations, silence, when used properly, can encourage more communication from the employee than any amount of questions. The natural flow of conversation follows that each person will speak one after the other. After the employee has come to a pause, he or she is expecting you to respond/speak next however, remaining silent creates a break in the flow of conversation. This unnatural gap of silence a actually a non-verbal cue that will signal to the employee that he or she should continue to talk, filling the pause and sharing more information than they originally intended.
5) Absurd Exaggeration 

  • This technique is exactly what it sounds like. You exaggerate the point to an absurd level to ensure your point is made. This can be very productive for employees who maybe have a negative outlook and/ or all other efforts have been exhausted. Creating an extreme scenario to amplify your message and break through to employees. A good exaggeration will get employees to see the foundation of your message and dismiss any irrelevant details the may want to arguer or defend.
6) Rating Questions 

  • This is a great coaching technique to use when training employees in knowledge, skill, or behavioral based challenges. Example: “On a scale of 1 tom 1o with 10 being outstanding and 1 being terrible how you would rate your ability to close customers from a skill perspective” The Rating Question technique will help you discover discrepancy within performance and create a dialog to discuss them. If an employee rates himself at a level 9 but you rate him at a level 5, the inconsistency becomes clear and adjustment can be made.
7) Teach the Teacher and Demo Me 

  • These techniques are geared towards knowledge and skill development respectfully. Reverse roles and ask employees to teach you or give you a demonstration on the desired item or knowledge or skill will validate whether or not the employee has the knowledge or skill. True knowledge is achieved when an employee is capable of teaching or demonstrating it. Let’s face it; it is awfully difficult to teaching someone else about a topic when you don’t know anything about it.

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About Author

Tim Hagen
Tim Hagen

Tim Hagen founded Progress Coaching, a Training Reinforcement Partner Company, in 1997. His entrepreneurial career began in college leading to positions in sales, sales management, and sales training for small and large corporations, and eventually ownership of several training companies. Tim is often a keynote speaker at companies teaching the value of coaching and conversations in the workplace. He possesses a unique combination of hands-on experience, academics, and innovative insight to solve the industry’s most common challenges specific to workplace performance. Tim holds a bachelor’s degree in Adult Education and Training from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

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