WHY COACH YOUR TEAM?
Gone are the days coaching is a 3rd party and external profession. Coaching is not a position or profession, but a CRITICAL SKILL of leadership. It is the only skill that enables the potential in others that we lead.
Many leaders THINK they are coaching, when they are talking to their employees. They think they are being the coach, when they speak (or nag) for hours on end in meetings that go on for 3 hours. And yet, they wonder why their employees still do not understand what to do.
Coaching has a few key criteria, so read on…
1. LISTENING HARDER THAN YOU SPEAK
This can be truly challenging for leaders and business owners, who grew from the ground up with knowing what to do in most facets of the business. They were all the roles (rolled in ONE), from being the programmer, cook, admin, cleaner, customer service, sales, marketing, etc. When CEOs and business owners hire people in this department (to serve their functions and roles), we end up telling our department team leads how to do their jobs!
When we hire managers and team leaders in this position, we must be listening harder than telling and instructing. They are hired because they have the skills for their jobs, and at times (most times), they will know how to their specific job functions than we (business owners) do. So, GET OUT OF THE WAY!
Listening is also important, because employees will tell you how they can be more effective at their jobs. They will tell you the support that they need, the obstacles, the systemic changes in the organization, etc; and all we need to do is listen.
Remember, we listen to UNDERSTAND, not listen to RESPOND. Too many leaders are listening to respond with an answer and a solution, and that’s not True Listening. When you listen hard enough, you can even listen to what your employees are NOT telling you…
2. ENABLING YOUR EMPLOYEE’S POTENTIAL
When you coach, you are enabling your employees to challenge themselves. You are peaking into their thought process around, where they could be better. Its not about what YOU THINK, and where YOU THINK they can be better. What makes the difference is that they are processing and analysing their own abilities, and looking for areas for improvements.
Employees you coach are more AWARE than others. If you need to be telling your employees all the time, they will lose their ability to think for themselves, and WORSE – you will always need to tell them what to do!
3. HAVING AN APPETITE FOR MISTAKES
In enabling your employee’s abilities, you as the leader, will also need to have a stomach for mistakes and errors. Knowing that people “learn from mistakes”, and I am sure YOU did too! – your role is the leader is to have an appetite for their mistakes.
Most people are Kinaesthetic in the way they learn. Very few people are Visual – reading a set of instructions or a manual, or Auditory – listening to advice over the phone or a simple briefing. Being a Kinaesthetic person, one would need to try and attempt, fall badly and fumble, and learn from it.
But if we are the kind of leader that cannot allow mistakes, then how will one learn?
This is something that perfectionist-type leaders struggle with. They will be busy trying to ensure that their team members don’t fall and make errors, that they get exhausted. Leaders just need to teach, and coach, and give employees the rein to try. And when they mess up, make sure they learn from it, and not “throw-them-under-the-bus”.
I always say this – our roles as Leaders are unique. “When we succeed, we share the credit. When they mess up, we take responsibility.” ~ if you are not ready for this, don’t lead.