Why engage in coaching at work? In doing so you, as the manager, help others to develop their skills and talent. You help others become fully productive. You help people to learn and you create an environment for continuous improvement.
An effective manager listens first, asks questions, provides constructive and positive feedback and is open with sharing creative solutions.
Coaching at work isn’t easy. It can be time consuming, frustrating and when you have your nose to the grindstone, coaching can be the last thing on your mind. While it may appear easier to slip into dictatorial mode, in doing so you will undo all the good done to date.
Coaching requires you to devote time and resources to the task. That means putting aside whatever else is taking up your time. Clear the desk, create a good space and have a conversation.
Coaching at work moves your team member forward from where they are at present, to where they want to be in the future. Sometimes this may be achieved in a single coaching conversation; other times it may take several conversations.
While information coaching at work often takes place, structured coaching sessions will likely produce the better outcomes, especially in complex or changing situations.
Because coaching is about moving a person forward, it is logical for any form of coaching to be goal-focussed. This should be the first question asked. What is the team member looking to achieve, and what will the future look like when they have achieved their goal?
Having identified and agreed upon the goal, it is then helpful to discuss the present situation. What’s taking place? What impact is that having? What are you and the person being coached seeing and hearing. This conversation will provide a baseline, explore feelings and perceptions and identify evidence of a need for change.
Then it is time for exploration. This is the fun part. This is where you both open your mind to the possibilities by exploring what the team members options are for achieving their goal. There is always more than one way to acheive a goal. Sometimes a proposed action may make someone unnecessarily uncomfortable. It may be more likely they will succeed if steered into a slightly more comfortable option.
Then you need a plan. Nothing complex. Actions to be taken and timeframe for taking them. Ask, if you do these things, what will happen next? Will it bring you closer to your goal? What reporting process will be put into place to provide you with assurance of progress and to enable you to provide the team member with positive reinforcement?
At this stage you can step back a little. Give your team member space to implement their plan. Remain available to provide support as sought, however try to avoid micromanagement. If you have structured a reporting process then you will know if things are on track, or otherwise. It is during this phase your team member will do most of their learning.
The final phase of the coaching process is where you and the team member meet to review progress, outcomes and learning. This is also the time to consider any ongoing goals and coaching.
If you follow the process set out above you will create a positive enviroment within your team, those within your team will be encouraged to contribute their ideas and collectively they will achieve their goals.
I’m John Coxon and since 2002 I have been a mentor and coach to managers within the social services sector. If you are looking for support to develop your coaching at work skills, email me or SMS your interest to 0424103971. It costs nothing to explore the options.