Everyone can benefit from developing skill as a coach.Whether you are managing a large organization or you are a solo-preneur who spends all day talking to potential clients, don't underestimate the power of the words we use during “coaching” opportunities.
Young professionals turn to mentors and supervisors to BE coached when starting their careers. The next step for young professionals is to become better coaches themselves, improving the people around them. That advances their company and career paths faster.
Related: Can Coaching Help Your Business?
Learn what is important to the person you are coaching. Find out what in your dialogue is most important to the person. That will help you measure everything else they talk about. Understanding their motivations, whether money, freedom, recognition, mastering a skill or being loved, will help you make a better connection when coaching.
Don’t let coaching conversations with you become venting sessions. Be forward focused on the person making impactful changes for the future, instead of complaining about their problems. If the session turns into negativity fest, get them to share what they are thankful for.
Help them discover solutions they can own because they came up with it themselves. People buy into a solution they discovered more readilty than what you prescribed. Asking the right questions helps the person become clear what path to take.
The last thing leaders want to do is disconnect themselves from their team-members when there is an opportunity for improvement. Below are three phrases we tend to default to in conversations that can become relationship dis-connectors.
1. Why didn’t you? Instead of being the broken record asking why didn’t you (fill in the blank), ask “what will help you better achieve this next time?”
After they state whatever they need to happen, make sure you get a confirmation statement by asking, “If you had (fill in the next blank), then this result will happen?” That allows us to understand the root cause of the issue.
If this situation occurs again after checking in, or if the request in the previous question doesn’t carry any weight, test the importance of the result to the person by simply asking, “How important is the result to you and your career?”
By phrasing it that way, either the employee will realize they need to make some changes or you will realize you need to make some changes connecting results to the big picture. Worst case is you need to make a change to your personnel!
2. You should have. Team members check out and stop listening when the leader says “you should have.” That is the “time machine” approach.
You are addressing mistakes so the team member learns from them and they don’t happen again. Coach the person through how they will approach the situation differently in the future. Many leaders substitute “you should have” with “next time you should” but the best approach so your team members change their behavior is “if this situation happens again, how would you handle it differently?”
Don't give them the answer, so they are engaged in the dialogue and need to think. Work with whatever they anser. If they state the correct way to handle it in the future, they will be more confident and likely to do it because it was “their idea.”
If their response is still wrong, take the opportunity to educate them on other options. Regardless, they are thinking and learning versus checking out of the conversation because it started with “you should have.”
3. Do you understand? People, natually, want everyone to think they are capable and smart enough to comprehend what’s going on. They don’t like to admit when they don’t understand, especially when it is an employee speaking to a manager they want to impress.
Don’t assume your team members understand the task or why the task is important the first time they hear it. An employee, or even a potential client listening to a sales professional, might not have the confidence to say they do not understand and ask you to re-explain it. A gentler approach is to simply take a ”time out” after important presentations or task initiations to make sure you are both on the same page. Ask “am I making sense or would it be helpful if I lay it out in another way?”
These simple changes in your leadership conversations can help you to better connect and grow both your team members and relationships with your clients.
Related: The Benefits of Employee Coaching