Coaching is a highly skilled and complex process… Most people have never had any real effective training either… yet we use the phrase “coaching” like it is easy… like everyone can do it.
But its not easy, most people can’t coach well…
I have had previous managers tell me “I’m going to coach you now” then proceed to tell me what needs to happen. I have also had credited coaches, go through the motions… one in particular just remembered the words I said and then reflected them back to me, which is part of a recognised coaching technique, but she didn’t connect with how it was being said… therefore completely missing the point and failing to help. Have you had a similar experience?
So what happens? In the most part we mistake coaching for giving feedback or for the famous seven why’s… we have all been there… Being hit with seven “Why?” questions in a row is like dealing with a 3 year old toddler rather than coaching!
We tend to mistake management (clearly defined expectations, provide rewards and consequences, then deliver a result) …for coaching (facilitate how a person thinks about an area that creates a self-motivated behaviour change)
This creates a great opportunity… becoming a great coach can set you apart from the crowd… It can boost your leadership capabilities to the next level…
Here are 4 strategies that, if applied, will instantly improve your coaching capability… no matter what level you are currently at.
It is VITAL that coaching sessions have great goals, over a timeframe – To achieve the best results, only have one goal and have a timeframe that is longer than one or two meetings (3-6 monthly meetings is a decent starting point).
The key thing to keep in mind here is… coaching takes longer than just telling someone to change and what the new expectations are… HOWEVER… coaching delivers results that last, that out-perform any command and control approach in the world!
Also… when I say “great goal”, to be more specific… ask what the result will look like? A good activity to help create the great goal would be to ask… “imagine what great would look like if you were watching it on video” then describe it.. You have the framework for a great goal right there.
IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU!
As a leader it is absolutely feasible that you are invested in the person you are coaching – You could have feelings or thoughts about their success being your success – which has the potential to tempt you into the world of persuading, cajoling and influencing… This is not coaching – at best it’s feedback… at worst it’s bullying!
However… it is about the follower… They might miss the target, they might not “get it”… they might smash the target, they might “get it” better than anyone believed possible. Either way, it is not the leaders fault or the leaders potency – Coaching is allowing people to see from their own point of view the changes to be made and the actions to be taken!
As a leader and coach success is giving the very best you can… what happens after is not about you!
ASK… “IF I KNEW?”
Approach the person and situation like you KNOW they have already been made aware of the changes needed in the past and probably tried to do something about it too!
If you do this, then the focus automatically changes to how can the leader help the individual get a different result this time… You know they have been given advice and feedback before, so there is no point in repeating that process… The approach now becomes that of a journey together – walking alongside the person you are coaching.
Approach each session like this… It’s not easy, but the impact you will have and you will personally feel will be staggering
BIG, MASSIVE, INTENSE, ATTENTION!
The bottom line is as a coach or leader we have to understand the person’s perspective, we need to understand how they receive and react to each moment. If you put all of your focus on the individual you are coaching, the level of information, commitment and improvement in yourself and the individual being coached will go beyond expectations!
Now there are a lot of skills that can be discussed within active listening and being present…and I will in a later post, however they all lead down the same road… Give every single ounce of attention you have in a coaching session and you will work coaching miracles! Try it and see…
The only advice I would give about this would be not to rush… it’s not a race!
Give your attention, give your time, and give your followers a leader who can coach them to achieve dreams!