Coaching and Parenting Have Similar Goals But It's a Big Mistake to Do Them the Same Way
Good parents want their kids to grow up confident and empowered with a positive outlook. Managers want their employees to grow the same way, but they won't if you treat them like children.
All people are born knowing they’re “enough.” At FPG, this idea is a core belief that guides every interaction we have, both with our clients and among our employees.
This sort of self-belief is most obvious in toddlers, who possess an infectious spirit of daring, curiosity and confidence. Unfortunately, that belief is often chipped away by negative reinforcement over time. Too often we’re told we aren’t enough so frequently we begin to believe it.
A leader's words.
As a leader, you have powerful influence on your employees. Words have untold power, both to build up and tear down. If you describe your team with negative words and thoughts, how can you then expect them to be the best version of themselves for you?
If there’s a more important lesson in the business world than instilling self-belief in your employees, then it’s a hard one to find.
Positive coaching and proactive parenting are more linked than you might imagine. Parents are constantly trying to feed their child’s positive sense of self to equip them with the tools to chase their dreams and find fulfillment later in life. A good coach is essentially trying to get his clients and coworkers to do the same.
To do this, though, we need to change the way we look at our employees. If you’re struggling with an employee, remember why they were hired in the first place. Do they still have those qualities and you’re not noticing them? Or have they actually changed?
Catch 'em -- in a good way.
Also, practice what I call, “Gotcha.” When you catch your employees doing something right, recognize them one-on-one and in front of their peers. When we point out behaviors in alignment with our standards, our employees are more likely to repeat them.
Finally, unleash their performance. Leashes represent anything holding them back, and many times they’re easily eliminated simply by calling them out into the open. If you know your employees’ leashes, you can help empower them to throw them off.
Related: 8 Steps to Personal Empowerment
At a recent seminar, an FPG trainer asked his audience to describe a salesperson using one word. The shouts from the high-level executives at the meeting were telling: “unethical,” “overpaid,” “high-maintenance,” “a necessary evil.” After the trainer met with the sales team and asked the same question, they responded with similarly barbed words.
Perspective creates outcome.
Author and motivational speaker Dr. Wayne Dyer writes, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” I believe that when you change the way you look at your employees, your employees change. If we view teammates as “a necessary evil,” how can we ever expect them to believe they’re enough?
We do this with our children as well. Imagine it’s the morning of the day of your child’s big test. Do you drown them with fears about the difficulty of the looming exam? Or do you build them up and mentally prepare them to have a winning mindset?
Setting your team up to achieve their goals begins with you. If it were your child, you’d provide an encouraging pep talk. You’d give them the tools and resources they needed to make their goals. Your employees need the same. It isn’t healthy or realistic to set your team up with a defeatist mindset and then expect victory.
The first key to making this a reality is to pre-frame your team to put them in the right mindset to do well. Remind them why they’re absolutely capable of making their goals; don't berate them with reminders of why it’s going to be difficult.
One of the best examples of this came from Welsh rugby coach Scott Quinnell, who told team in 2012 before taking the field, "If you don't feel those butterflies in your stomach now, when we walk out that door, they turn to dragons. Because they get bigger and they get stronger and we use them. And those dragons are going to breathe fire."
That’s a heck of a pre-frame.
Give your team purpose.
Meeting circumstantial challenges is a chance for them to unleash their brilliant minds and step up to the plate. If everyone’s rowing together, storms only provide a more rewarding memory once they pull through them, having rowed with more strength than they knew they had. We can’t really know our true capabilities until they’re tested, after all.
Make your team believe they can succeed. Gain their commitment that they believe they can do it, and make sure they understand why. At FPG, we talk a lot about programming, whether that’s changing old destructive programming or fostering better mindsets that focus on the possibility rather than the problem. Always provide your team with the positive fuel to achieve their goals, and you’ll always achieve yours as well.