If you’ve read our article on coaching, you understand coaching has two focus areas—performance and development. Here, we will discuss how coaching improves performance and how you can leverage it to drive your team forward.
What Is Coaching for Performance?
Coaching for performance is a coaching method in which leaders close gaps in their team members’ performance. This may involve:
- Acknowledging and encouraging desirable behavior
- Calling team members out if they are not on the right track
- Offering team members thoughtful challenges that encourage them to improve upon their weaknesses
- Holding team members accountable for their responsibilities and goals
Why Is Coaching for Performance Important?
No matter their role or how long they’ve been at the organization, everyone has opportunities to stretch, grow, and contribute more value to their team, clients, and business.
Coaching for performance encourages team leaders to measure and improve employees’ performance consistently. Moreover, it allows team members to have direct access to leaders who can guide them through the maze of expectations and competencies required of them.
Studies show that coaching has increased organizations’:
- Sales by 10 to 19 percent
- Profit by 14 to 29 percent
- Customer engagement by 3 to 7 percent
- Employee engagement by 9 to 15 percent
Organizations and industries are constantly changing, which merits regular discussions with people about their performance. These discussions should be conducted in a way that motivates team members to take action.
The Top 5 Benefits Coaching Has on Performance
Research shows over 70 percent of coached employees benefit from improved work performance. Let’s dig deeper by navigating through the top five benefits it has on performance.
Self-awareness is linked to performance and career success, and feedback is key in building self-awareness.
A performance coach drives self-awareness among team members by providing feedback on the results they produce. This visibility can help employees understand how to achieve their goals better.
Building greater self-awareness may include:
- Acknowledging and encouraging positive and desirable behavior
- Calling people out when they are off-target or must make improvements
- Reviewing their strengths and weaknesses
In addition, coaches understand feedback is a two-way street—that coaches must also be coachable. Commit to your team’s self-awareness by starting with your own and periodically asking for input on your coaching strategies.
If employees feel a bit too comfortable in their positions (e.g., doing the bare minimum, refraining from pushing back, sticking to the status quo, etc.), performance coaching can reinvigorate their job and performance.
Coaching can help team members:
- Challenge themselves. Good coaches will take time to find thoughtful opportunities that will help team members leverage their strengths and work on their weaknesses. For example, if an employee is good at problem-solving, you may have them collaborate with other departments to find solutions to ongoing departmental problems. This can take your employee out of their comfort zone and motivate them to put their best foot forward.
- Become better contributors. By helping team members with their strengths and weaknesses, they can become better contributors to the organization. Placing them in situations where they feel motivated can help team members reach their full potential.
Change is inevitable in business, but it can cause a lot of stress and challenges for employees. Coaches can help employees adapt to and manage change with the following skills:
- Adaptability: Leaders who act quickly are two times more likely to make change happen than those who are not as nimble.
- Innovation: Coaches can encourage team members to share their ideas and learn from one another.
- Strategy: With coaching, employees can understand how to break down complex challenges into smaller, more manageable steps.
- Communication: As said by Steven J. Stowell, Ph.D., Eric D. Mead, and Cherissa S. Newton in Coaching for Results:
“Coaching is a two-way communication process between members of the organization (leaders to team members, peers to peers, team members to leaders) aimed at influencing and developing the employees’ skills, motivation, attitude, judgment or ability to perform, and the willingness to contribute to an organization’s goals.”
Coaching ensures team members are headed in the right direction in their tasks and strategies by helping employees map out a plan for moving forward.
Rather than being micro-managerial, good coaches fuel creativity and help individuals identify the best solutions. Together, coach and team members assess risks involved and establish accountability for commitments made.
Over 70 percent of coached employees foster better relationships, and over 80 percent feel more confident.
Employees can feel better prepared to tackle challenges and contribute more to the team with better accountability and candid coaching conversations. These benefits can fuel greater employee morale.
What Are the Best Coaching Techniques for Performance?
Coaches can foster performance in the workplace with the following three techniques.
Be Candid Yet Caring
John Wooden, a celebrated college basketball coach, said, “A coach is someone who can give corrections without causing resentment.”
When giving constructive criticism, it’s essential to be candid yet caring. You want to motivate and empower your team members—not cause resentment.
Coaches can display support to team members in the following ways:
- Emphasize what’s in it for them: Help the employee understand why a change in behavior or work ethic is worth their time. Whether that’s meeting team goals or providing better service to clients, offering an explanation can provide more context into the situation. It can also help them understand that their actions affect more than just themselves in the workplace.
- Avoid blaming or shaming. Leading with blame and shame will not create a productive conversation; it only fosters distrust. For example, instead of saying, “Your thoughts on XX are wrong,” say, “I think we have different perceptions about XX. Tell me your thoughts.” Always strive to keep the conversation neutral, and make the effort to explore and acknowledge your team member’s viewpoints.
Taking a candid yet caring approach improves your chances of helping your employee achieve the right results and foster a more powerful relationship between you both.
Select the Right Coaching Style
There is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to coaching. Different issues and circumstances will necessitate different types of coaching.
For example, a high-stress situation that requires a quick turnaround on a project may require a coercive coaching style. Instructing a team member on what to do and how to do it may help yield the right results.
On the other hand, a project that requires collaboration may warrant a democratic style of leadership. This style involves giving team members an equal voice in decision-making and ideation.
Here are other applicable performance coaching styles:
- Holistic coaching: Holistic coaching is rooted in the belief that everything is connected. A coach can give a team member insight on their position in the company—how does their role affect other teams? How does their performance affect the company’s revenue? This can help foster a sense of inclusion and encourage team members to put their best foot forward.
- Integrated coaching: Coaching sessions are built around broader organizational initiatives. A leader can initiate this coaching style if they would like to encourage their team member to think big picture. How can they use their strengths to bolster long-term organizational strategies?
Whatever circumstances you face, stay focused on the goal—use it to initiate the right performance coaching style and win results.
The only way to become a better coach is through feedback. Research illustrates high-performing companies are more likely to evaluate managers’ effectiveness as coaches compared to their counterparts.
Gathering feedback from team members is a great way to identify objective behaviors linked with positive business outcomes. Though you have an idea of what you believe entails good coaching, your team members might think differently.
Therefore, conduct feedback sessions where employees can express what is working and what isn’t. This is a proactive way to refine coaching techniques that cultivate better performance in your team members.
Feedback fosters better self-awareness—a characteristic that is crucial in high-performing leaders. One study illustrates that coached managers felt more aware of their strengths and weaknesses. With a better understanding of themselves, the managers felt more confident tackling challenges.
Drive Your Team’s Performance with CMOE
If you’re looking for more ways to coach your team toward success, be sure to look into CMOE’s coaching workshops. From our Courageous Conversations workshop to our Coaching Skills Training programs, we are committed to helping leaders like yourself initiate positive and measurable changes in team members.