If you’re a manager, and we all are, how do you give great coaching? What needs to happen to provide your team a needed edge in our constantly changing markets? I have found there are several keys to providing leaders great coaching. I thought you might enjoy seeing how great coaching can both empower and engage your team in higher levels of performance than you thought possible.
The first secret of great coaching is that there must be trust in the coaching relationship. If we want extraordinary performance from our teams, trust is the foundation. As M.R. Covey shared in his landmark book, The Speed of Trust, both people engaged in the coaching relationship must trust each other. When I work with leaders who have not had training in coaching, I find that most struggle in creating a trusting partnership with their managers and employees. If we expect trust, we must give it.
The second secret of great coaching is that you must see your people as equals when coaching them. I’ve worked with many autocratic leaders in my career. They spend so much time maintaining the boss-subordinate roles, they miss the opportunity to engage their team members on a deeper level. Great coaching requires you to be all in. This may be uncomfortable at first, but as you get more comfortable you will be amazed at how easy collaboration can be with your different team members.
When I work with senior managers, I ask if they are open to sharing their own strengths with others on their teams. Once we all understand why we should work through our unique strengths, it makes a huge difference in our individual and team performance. I share my strengths with all my clients as an icebreaker. It allows them to better understand me, but also allows them to better understand themselves when put in a coaching opportunity.
The third secret of great coaching is you must be willing to challenge people with stretch goals. If you don’t reach for extraordinary, you won’t often get it. Take time to make sure that your team will stretch, but not break. I use a word that is generally overused in many business books, but is critical just the same. For your team to reach their stretch goals, they must create synergy between different parts of the organization. Creating a coaching culture helps you create a high performing organization.
Robert Hargrove in his book Masterful Coaching talks about creating an impossible future. This process and outcome changes the way your organization grows. He shares a several step process to help you do this even with the most structured individuals. In my case, my clients are both engineers and doctors. I will be sharing more about Robert ‘s programs on a blog later this month, but his book will help empower you to a different level as a Masterful Coach.
Finally, the bonus secret for great coaching is a sense of humor. Great coaching cannot and will not happen in stoic environments. If you want people to be more creative and innovative, you must create an environment where humor is not only used, but enjoyed. If you talk to my clients, they will share that humor has helped many of them achieve incredible breakthroughs because they use humor as to help get things done. Want to be a great coach? Learn to use humor. When working in a stressful environment, humor provides both connection and engagement to all who are involved. I’m always looking for funny stories and cartoons to keep my people smiling. Sometimes I’ll just hang a cartoon on the cubicle or office wall when I see my people struggling. It almost always brings a smile to their faces. If that doesn’t work, I’m very capable of becoming the butt of my own jokes when trying to get more creativity out of the people I’m working with.
Now you know what it takes to provide great coaching. What’s the one thing you’re going to do today to begin the process? Let me know how I can help. Thursday, I will be introducing you to a great writer who wants to help you with your writing. See you Thursday.