As a part of our ongoing discussion about key strategies for successful managers, I’d like to chat about Manager Coaching:
You hear about it all the time.
Coach your people.
Are you coaching?
How well do you coach your team?
You know, you really do need to coach more….
So what the heck does that all really mean?
To be honest, I could write a book about this (oh wait, I did ☺)
But for today… let’s distill it down to the key elements:
Set individual performance goals: Last week we discussed KPI. KPI is for each individual ROLE. Individual performance goals apply to each individual person, within a role.
Goals should be based on skill, experience and capacity.
Every employee should have productivity goals (methods of evaluating their actual production for the organization) and development goals (ways to evaluate their growth and skill building). Goals should be evaluated regularly.
Meet with your people, consistently: I can’t say this enough. When you meet with your team members, 1:1 regularly, you increase performance and decrease performance issues. It takes time to get into a rhythm, but it always pays off. People want time with you and if they trust they will get it, it will minimize interruptions for you and it will help you mitigate issues before they become problems.
Have a consistent agenda that you follow: A consistent agenda allows you to cover the same information with every employee, every week or month. Topics can include Projects, KPI Outcomes, Hot List, Benchmarks, Personal Development, Support Requests… and much more. Whatever applies to your team. Create an agenda alongside your team members… they’ll tell you what they want to talk with you about. And ensure that both those Productivity and Personal Developmental Goals are included on the agenda for review.
Diagnose performance gaps and address them: Performance breakdowns occur for one of two reasons (or both).
Employees don’t have the SKILL SET to do the job.
Employees don’t have the MINDSET to do the job.
Either way, you can coach.
If they are lacking skill, figure out a way to teach them what they need and BE SURE TO CONFIRM THEY’VE LEARNED WHAT THEY NEED TO LEARN.
You don’t have to be their teacher, but you are responsible for confirming they’ve learned. In other words, please avoid just sending them to a training and assuming they’re all done. Most times, they aren’t. They need follow up and sustainability measures to ensure they actually apply what they learn.
If they are suffering from a poor mindset, you must help them see that how their thinking is contributing to their outcomes. I’ve recorded many podcasts on this topic. These two are likely the best to review if you believe you have someone on your team who has a crappy perspective about their work, company or colleagues.
Be ready to listen, much more than you speak: Talking too much is a manager trap. You think if you can just explain things enough, it will change their behavior or results. It won’t.
The best thing to do with employees is have, at-the-ready, a bunch of powerful questions that gets THEM to reflect on how THEY will solve their own challenges and / or performance.
You may be a technical expert in whatever field or department you manage.
You aren’t an expert in them. They are.
Let them discover themselves through their conversations with you… and for that to happen, you must get out of the way with all your talky-words.
It’s a discipline to slow things down and ask questions… but it can be done.
And the practice of asking question is at the heart of being an effective coach.