Employee Retention

Coaching the “Whole Person”

Coaching the "whole person" is the best way to get engagement and results. But what exactly is the "whole person?"

Coaching_the_Whole_PersonOver the years, we’ve heard from many clients that getting real engagement and results through their coaching programs can be a challenge. When we look at our clients who are getting results from their coaching, we see a common thread and it’s this advice that we give to those struggling: Coach the “whole person.”

In order to be effective at coaching and developing someone, we have to coach the whole person, not just aspects of them. But let’s take a step back and look at what we mean by coaching the whole person.

If you look at the graphic on this page, you can see these words around the person: experience, intelligence, values, ethics, attitudes, maturity, skills, education. They are all part of what goes into making up the whole person.

Lots of managers focus on just one or two of those aspects. That approach doesn’t usually deliver results and then they question the ROI and wonder why they should bother coaching at all.

If you coach the whole person, your level of engagement will be much higher. And with higher engagement, as we all know, comes better results.

That’s because in any coaching situation there are relationships. There’s a relationship between the manager and the employee. There’s a relationship between the employee and the work they’re doing. There are all these different types of relationships going on and those create dynamics.

What we counsel our clients to focus on is the relationship between the manager and employee. How is that playing out and what is the manager doing to address all these aspects that make up the whole person. If we look at maturity, attitude, ethics and values, these are all about who we are; how we see the world; and how we interact with people. To really coach this part of the person, you have to take time to get to know what makes that person tick. Then you have to use that knowledge to shape the way you interact with them when you are coaching them (or any time, really).

The Platinum Rule

Often what happens, though, is that managers will approach an employees the way they would like to be approached, assuming that must be how everyone wants to be approached. That’s the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But, to coach effectively, you have to approach them the way they want to be approached. That is what we call the Platinum Rule: do unto others as they would do unto themselves.

We encourage our clients to use the insights that come from our assessments to understand this part of a person. To encourage the manager to understand how the employee’s temperament affects the way they work and interact. We also strongly encourage the manager to understand their own profile so they can understand how their own style can work in favor or against their goal of helping this employee succeed. That’s what the McQuaig System is designed to do; to uncover these hidden insights and empower companies to develop people to their full potential.

If you’re not using a behavior assessment tool like McQuaig, you can still take the time to try and understand what makes an employee tick; through observation and by asking them directly. Even that level of insight will help you to better coach the whole person.

What’s your experience with coaching? Is it working for you? What challenges do see in getting results? Let us know in the comments section. 

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