Posted by: Esther Groves, Sr. Consultant, TBD Consulting
Ok, first my disclaimer. Each time I have taken one of those communication style indicators like True Colors, DISC or Relationship Strategies I end up squarely, no-doubt-about-it, in the same corner of the room with all of the other relationship-oriented, people-loving people. So, no surprises that I have spent the majority of my career in the human resources / training and development field where I can bask in all those warm fuzzies. There was a short stint as an Operations Manager but I’d rather not go into it.
No one has ever had to convince me of the value of coaching. From my earliest career, my role models have been mentors who excelled at the human side of business and who provided gentle motivation to do my best.
In more recent years, I have made a point of studying those who have mastered not only the human side but also the profitability side, numbers, algorithms and all. I have managed to learn enough from them to downplay my “soft” side when necessary.
So, when I ran across Marcus Buckingham’s book, First Break All the Rules, while researching the topic of coaching for a class I was facilitating, I was excited to learn that research has shown that coaching isn’t just a feel-good activity. According to Gallup, through data they have gathered data far and wide on the subject; coaching and related activities boost customer and employee satisfaction and ultimately profitability.
I have been able to use that information to convince some otherwise skeptical mid-level managers I have known to try coaching (not telling, showing or demanding). What they have found when they follow a few simple principles is a sparkle of excitement, passion and motivation in another human being. As Marcus Buckingham points out, focusing on the human connection in some very specific ways reaps rewards for the business down the road. It makes me smile just to think about it.
Here are a few of those simple principles. Start here and I’d be willing to bet you will have people naming you as someone who has inspired and motivated them.
- Find a quiet space where you won’t be distracted (especially if you are coaching remotely)
- Give full undivided attention to the person you are coaching. Turn off the Blackberry, the computer and your ego.
- After a short warm-up conversation that demonstrates sincere interest in the other person, set the stage for the conversation. Agree on the purpose and the desired result. What do you need from the other person and what is your intent?
- Ask some good, open-ended questions and let people find their own good answers. Listen carefully for meaning and clues to the other person’s motivations and passions. While you’re at it, listen for resistance.
- When in doubt, ask another question rather than launching into telling and directing. That’s hard sometimes but it pays off in the end.
Most seasoned managers know what to do from here. Agree on an approach or goal; offer support, set timelines and follow up.
Let me know how it goes…
Look for my follow up next week.