Leading and coaching a single person, let alone an entire organization, can be a daunting endeavor. People and teams are complex. In any coaching situation, there are a number of ways things can go south.
The most effective coaches break down the coaching process into smaller objectives and then focus on sequencing them strategically. If you attempt to skip or bypass any of these stages, you’ll find your audience is much less open to adopting new success initiatives.
Here are five essentials to effective coaching, in chronological order rather than order of importance:
1. Build trust by developing a real relationship.
The best leaders concentrate more on their team’s success than their own. Anytime a leader’s actions don’t directly reflect this philosophy, there’s bound to be turmoil.
That's why trust is important. If trust isn’t established first, it’s going to prove very difficult to make an impact. A leader should never assume that their title commands trust -- it needs to be earned. This requires not only time but also a real intentional focus on getting to know each team member and their goals and ambitions.
2. Listen, listen, listen.
I’ve made the mistake of working with a new team member and immediately going into diagnostic mode, trying to fix everything at once. By barging in and starting to prescribe solutions instead of listening intently and carefully, I rushed into feedback that lacked contextual understanding.
I was doling out advice that lacked the surrounding critical nuance required to really make a difference. The art of listening not only shows your team member that you care and want to hear from them, but it also does wonders to build a solid relationship foundation.
3. Use positivity as your base.
Great leaders are fundamentally great encouragers. At their core, they are people who bring out the best in others by supporting and leading in such a way that they radiate energy.
These radiators are naturally good at developing relationships. Effective leaders have a desire to build relationships that strengthen with time.
In other words, the longer they last, the more powerful the level of trust and connection. Real depth will rarely ever be established between two parties if one operates from a base level of negativity. The most influential directors in any organization know, if nothing else, they must impact others through positivity as a permission-to-play rule.
4. Aim for one target.
Relationships lead to trust, and positivity produces receptiveness. Establishing these powerful connections creates the right setting for a leader to actually coach and mentor.
The key is for the leader to focus their sights on one goal for each team member at a time. Generally, while you are asking a team member to stretch and grow in one area, they’ll also be required to continue to be competent in many other aspects of their job description.
Because so many business roles today are multi-faceted, it’s increasingly more important to identify a singular breakthrough area at a time. A more targeted focus not only will greatly increase the likelihood of quicker progress, it also will create confidence that other goals can be achieved in the future.
Related: 11 Habits of Truly Happy People
5. Be a consistent presence.
Every team member you get to lead will have enough ups and downs in their lives without a boss that adds on. Effective leaders are consistent in their temperament, messaging, availability and mission. Just like advertising, a consistent, cumulative approach is highly effective at building and creating change and improvement.
Libraries across the world are filled with insightful and sophisticated ideas on how to lead and make an impact. The best leaders take a variety of ideas into account and adopt a style that suits them. No doubt, there are diversified leadership styles and approaches that can all have significant impact.
However,it's hard to find effective approaches that don’t emphasize the five essentials of developing trust, listening attentively, positive reinforcement, targeting and consistency.