Coaching is one of the most important things a leader does—particularly with the modern workforce. At its most basic level, coaching represents a way to communicate openly, clearly, and candidly about important matters. At a deeper level, coaching is about sharing honest feedback, communicating expectations, identifying performance-improvement opportunities, and encouraging development and growth. Unfortunately, many leaders misunderstand or avoid the responsibility of coaching others, despite the fact that the process can be extremely rewarding for all parties. Coaching enables others to grow and learn from the experiences, activities, and journeys that we share with them. Ultimately, the coaching investment leads to positive action, new skills, and performance results that are critical to the coachees’ long-term success, as well as that of the organization.
The key to coaching excellence is having a practical framework or process to guide your coaching discussions. Whether you are using CMOE’s Coaching TIPS2™ process or another process, there are a few fundamental leadership principles to keep in mind as you engage in dialogue and build relationships with team members in both formal, one-on-one coaching and informal, on-the-spot coaching situations.
- Providing coaching on a consistent basis leads to trust, respect and strong emotional connections with your team members. They need to know that they will have frequent opportunities to engage with you and receive coaching from you—both when they are successful and when there are opportunities for change or improvement.
- Seek to understand what makes each of your team members unique and how to truly connect with them. As you develop a deeper level of trust and respect for others, you will be more effective in your coaching conversations and will communicate that you value their unique characteristics, knowledge, and skills. Remember that each coachee learns and absorbs information differently, so your coaching will be more effective when you match your style with their needs.
- Build a culture in your team or organization that values people over productivity. It is important that team members know that you care about them as people first and a driver of results second. This has to be established in the climate you create on an ongoing basis, not just during coaching discussions. Team members will notice whether your behaviors align with your espoused values and principles.
- Establish and maintain high levels of accountability. Most team members want to be held accountable. It demonstrates that you are invested in their success, the success of the team, and ultimately, the success of the organization. Recognize their efforts when they follow through as expected and use accountability setbacks as teaching and development opportunities.
- Be teachable and willing to learn from the insights and perspectives of others. Coaching, communication, and teamwork should be an enlightening for everyone and sometimes you will have breakthroughs with your own thinking by being open to information shared by others—inside and outside of coaching discussions.
Coaching is more than how you talk to people; it’s a way of leading others and an intrinsic part of achieving all goals, strategies, and targets. Commit to find the energy and focus you need to be a coach and leader who will positively impact the people around you and drive the results you seek. Doing so will help you build a lasting leadership legacy.