In my work with clients as a professional coach and trainer, I've rarely come up against someone who doesn’t think coaching can have a positive impact on a person and company. More often than not, I see people who are frustrated that their coaching efforts aren't producing the results that they think it should.
Many of us want to get more from our staff, but we don’t know where to start when it comes to coaching in a constructive manner, nor the best steps to successful coaching. It's easy to make assumptions about what coaching is and how to apply it, making things up along the way. But at the end of the day, what's needed is a solid foundation that allows for growth.
The process of coaching is an amazing way to create positive change. It includes providing feedback, asking open ended questions, and providing direction and encouragement. That’s all very easy to say, but it can be a challenge to implement amongst the many other imperatives of a manager’s job.
Pro Tip: The Manager's Coaching Cheat Sheet offers insight into coaching employees with various personality traits!
Having completed education and training in the field of coaching myself, along with years of experience in coaching individuals, I have found coaching to be a very empowering approach. I'm a firm believer (from first-hand experience) that when managers apply a coaching approach to their management style, employee performance starts to improve. I’ve seen a number of tools to help managers, and one of my favorites for creating a strong foundation is this simple four-step coaching process:
This simple, four-step process for coaching can work whether you're focusing on a specific skill, mentoring someone through a big project, or working to improve an employee's self-awareness.
Managers can support this process by asking probing, open-ended questions that will trigger greater awareness for the employee at regular touchpoints throughout the process. As a coach, your role is about supporting them in taking action for change. It's about assisting them in building self-awareness, especially about their strengths, values, and purpose, improving performance, and advancing.
Your Coaching Toolbox
Coaching is also about building for yourself, as the coach, a toolkit for raising self-awareness and empowering your employees. In future posts, I’ll explore some of the powerful tools I have used that will help you be a more effective coach, including:
- Improving the onboarding experience
- Fostering the creative process
- Acknowledging and championing your employees
- Identify peak experiences
- Listening with intention
- Asking impactful questions
- Offering observations, perspectives, and pathways
- Using strength-focused coaching
Use this four-step coaching process as your foundation, and I think you'll find it to be a handy addition to your toolkit!