According to an Association for Talent Development (ATD) survey, only 27% of organizations regularly or consistently coach their employees. However, over 50% of the same respondents indicated that they believe coaching contributes to improved communication, greater employee engagement, better transfer of learning to on-the-job skills, and an increase in general productivity. Most leaders view coaching as a formal, in-depth discussion—but in today’s fast-paced business climate, coaching must also occur on the spot in everyday conversations. This type of coaching interaction, or Express Coaching™, is a highly valuable tool for leaders, managers, and influencers and is the catalyst for building a coaching culture.
What is Express Coaching™?
Express Coaching™ is designed to be quick and accomplished through short, in-the-moment coaching discussions that take place at opportune times throughout the workday, and as teaching opportunities arise. There are many opportunities for leaders to touch base with and coach employees in the moment:
- Express appreciation and acknowledge the efforts of others
- Check in with team members about progress
- Notice a mistake or issue as it is occurring
- Share straightforward positive or corrective feedback
- Give advice, instruction, or explanation
Short-form coaching can be done in a variety of settings, such as walking to your next meeting, when you see that someone is stuck or needs help, and when you make an observation and want to share your impressions right away. It’s a powerful leadership and influence tool in meeting the needs of the modern workforce. In fact, the Success Factors and Oxford Economics Workforce 2020 Global study indicates that Millennials want informal coaching and feedback from their managers on a far more frequent basis than their counterparts. Many participants in our Coaching TIPS2™ program say that they struggle to engage in formal coaching discussions as often as they should, so Express Coaching™ is a good solution for coaching others in a frequent and timely way.
How to Improve Your Everyday Coaching Conversations
When done effectively, Express Coaching™ can make a significant difference in a leader’s ability to develop team members, build relationships, elevate performance, and ultimately build a strong coaching culture. Here are some important tips to keep in mind that will help your Express Coaching™ conversations be as effective as possible:
1. Choose the proper coaching format. Express Coaching™ is best for addressing everyday conversations, providing employees with recognition, or discussing tactical issues that have clear, specific guidelines. Ongoing performance issues or development-planning conversations are better suited for in-depth coaching conversations.
2. When “express” coaching opportunities arise, limit the length of the conversation and keep it very focused. If the coaching topic requires more time to be introduced and explored effectively, schedule time for an in-depth conversation.
3. Describe the coaching topic in a straightforward manner and check with your coachee to ensure that he or she understands. This tip is applicable for coaching conversations of all kinds, regardless of their length or format.
4. Build strong and trusting relationships with your team members. Express Coaching™ is most effective when you and the coachee already have a well-established relationship built on mutual respect.
5. Be observant and prepared to act quickly when a coaching opportunity emerges. Paying attention to your team members’ positive actions and acknowledging their contributions is a great way to provide encouragement and keep employee morale high. It is also a chance to share constructive feedback and to teach and develop the organization’s talent.
Express Coaching™ can’t replace in-depth coaching, but it is a powerful tool to engage the workforce and improve performance. Regularly and consistently coaching in both formal and informal ways communicates to your team members that you are committed to creating a partnership with them to support their long-term effectiveness and success.