Wednesday, 7 November 2012

What Does Being An Effective Coach REALLY Mean?

Monday 28 November, 2011
What exactly does it mean to be a "great coach"? I talk with leaders all the time who tell me that they have been coaching for many, many years and they don't need any more training on how to be a great coach. But just because you have spent many years coaching employees does not necessarily mean that you are any good at it ...
Is your coaching creating collaborative relationships in your organisation? Is your coaching enhancing the skills of your employees? Is your coaching making a difference to your company's bottom line? Answering those questions will help you to determine if your coaching is effective.
With a focus on behavioural management and servent leadership, here are the five most prevalent behaviours of ineffective coaching:

5 behaviours of ineffective coaching

  1. We do not model what we want our employees to do

    The best way to teach others to do something, is to do it yourself. I observe leaders coaching their employees to be better "team players" when they are not demonstrating good team building behaviours themselves. One of the best ways to become a stronger coach is to start by introspecting into your own behaviours before we start coaching others on their behaviours.
  2. Analyse your language when you are speaking with others

    We talk in terms of perceptions instead of behaviours and we end up in defensive conversations. Once we start modelling the desired behaviours, then we need to communicate those actions to our employees in terms of behaviours, instead of perceptions. Instead of telling your employees to "communicate better", "be more compassionate with your customers" or "be more focused" it is critical that we talk in terms of the behaviours that demonstrate this.

    Do you talk in terms of adjectives such as "good listener", "better communicator", or "more focused"? Or do you talk in terms of behaviours - such as "making eye contact", "asking questions" or "offering alternative solutions"?
  3. Are we questioning constantly?

    Speaking of the behaviour of "asking questions", we as leaders need to do this behaviour much more. We tell rather than ask questions. When we tell rather than ask questions, our employees feel talked at and they will have a tendency to tune out. But when we ask questions, we engage our employees in the conversation.

    When our employees are engaged in the conversation, they will be an active participant in managing their own performance. Remember the word "empowerment"? The most important behaviour that we as leaders can demonstrate that will create more empowerment in our employees is asking questions.
  4. The use of passive words

    When we tell our employees, "You might want to think about doing it this way ..." or "I think you could probably get better results by doing this ..." we will be less likely to get results than if we use assertive language. Please recognise that I did not say "aggressive" language. We do not want to be aggressive as leaders, but we also do not want to be passive. Assertive language helps to create collaborative relationships while still clearly stating your expectations.
  5. Shared vision

    The fifth most prevalent behaviour that is detracting us from getting results is that we do not practice with our employees to ensure that we both have the same vision of success. We tell our employees what we want them to do, but we don't give them enough opportunities to show us that they can do it.
We tend to settle for less than our standard rather than continuing to practice and continuing to give feedback. I find myself reminding leaders, "What we tolerate becomes your standard". As soon as well tell an employee, "That was a good job" we have just established the standard. Are you telling your employees "good job" but you still want more or better? It's important to change our word choice to reflect exactly what our expectations are.

It is important to remember that our goal as a coach is to inspire change in others. If we are not experiencing changes in our employees' behaviours, but we say that we are coaching all the time, we need to go back and examine our coaching behaviours.

Personally reflecting on your behaviours

  1. Are you modeling what you want others to demonstrate?
  2. Are you communicating in terms of behaviours?
  3. Are you asking questions to engage your employees and gain their commitment?
  4. Are you communicating assertively to clearly state your standards while building collaborate relationships?
  5. Are you practicing the behaviours with your employees to support their ongoing growth and success?
What does it take to be a truly effective coach? Start by examining your coaching behaviours and looking for these details so that you can continue your journey to being a more effective coach.

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