Grooming and promoting talent from within remains one of the most cost-effective paths to improved productivity, but evidence shows that most companies are struggling with employee job satisfaction and retention. Effective coaching skills for managers and those who lead others offer hope for organizations to retain the best and brightest.
A competitive pay and benefits package gets the right employees in the door. Good training prepares them to react properly to recurring problems. Neither, however, is effective in motivating employees or developing their individual talents. The result is that employees fail to reach their potential, become demoralized, and either leave or shift to autopilot.
Coaching Employees For Success
Coaching is an ongoing process of developing personnel through highly individualized communication, interaction, and feedback.
At many companies, the role of management is seen strictly as administrative and supervisory. A largely procedural, one-size-fits-all approach is applied in monitoring employees and ensuring quality control. Because supervision involves only the negative — what employees are NOT doing — it is motivational only to the degree that employees are afraid of losing their jobs.
Coaching differs from the evaluative and reactive nature of supervision by focusing on employee guidance and development. Coaching is both proactive and positive, and involves the following:
- Understanding each employee’s unique strengths and weaknesses
- Helping employees overcome barriers to their success
- Identifying each employee’s individual motivators and tailoring incentives toward them
- Communicating strategic direction and company goals
- Helping employees to understand the bigger picture
- Informing employees of their individual roles in the company’s operation
- Communicating company expectations
An effective coach is adept at communicating goals while leaving the “how-to” up to the individual employee. A good coach is removed, yet accessible — providing guidance, context, and perspective while avoiding dictating a set process.
A successful coach intervenes directly only when necessary to remove a stumbling block or prevent an error that would create substantially negative consequences either to the employee or the company as a whole.
Successful coaching helps employees understand goals and expectations so that they may act instead of waiting for instruction. Well-coached employees are creative forces who can be counted on to provide solutions that their supervisors haven’t considered.
Because coached employees don’t have every solution dictated to them from above, they tend to take greater ownership of their work and demonstrate greater responsibility than employees who are not coached. Coached employees are also better prepared to maximize their potential by utilizing their own unique talents and approaches to problem solving.
Coaching benefits supervisors by freeing them from day-to-day micromanagement and allowing focus on long-term strategic goals. Coaching facilitates loyalty, high morale, and job satisfaction among those who are coached This tends to create lower turnover and increased productivity.
The Coaching Mind-Set
Becoming a successful coach requires letting go of some short-term control. This can be difficult for certain personalities. It’s important to remember that coaching is not about creating a state of anarchy but rather about empowering employees with the ability to work in an autonomous manner whenever the need arises.
Coaching is about teaching and leadership. It requires effort, patience, and insight toward what makes your employees tick. If you’re ready to add to your management arsenal, start the process of coaching your employees for success today.