When you think of coaching, what comes to mind? Most likely, you automatically think of someone leading their sports team to a championship, right? Now, while a coach is someone we often associate with sports, coaches are also managers and mentors in the workplace, guiding us to our own professional victory.
Coaching is one of the greatest things a manager can do for his or her employees, yet it’s often overlooked. The reason for this is that many managers may feel like they do not have time to coach, or that their employees are doing fine, so there’s no need to coach. While this may seem logical, the truth is that there is always a need for coaching.
To put it into perspective, think about your favorite sports team for a minute. Where would that team be if they did not have their coach? What would they do if they didn’t have their coach encouraging and directing them? For starters, the team, even though each member is talented, would probably feel a little lost or misdirected. They would probably just do whatever they thought was right, because no one was around to tell them any different. This is exactly what happens when there’s a team or department at work without a manager coaching them.
Coaching is vital to the success of the company and to each team or department. It is through coaching that managers connect with their employees, because it is through coaching that they show how much they care. Managers show they care by praising employees for what they do right, and they show they care by helping employees get on the right track when their performance is not up to par.
Coaching isn’t easy, but it is essential. When it comes to coaching, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Praise good work often and use positive language.
- Coach as soon as you see or hear the behavior taking place.
- Give specific feedback on behavior and performance.
- Treat all employees fairly.
- Lead by example.
- Let your employees know that you care.
- Make coaching a priority.
Since finding the time seems to be a common obstacle to good coaching, it’s important that managers don’t view coaching as an addition to their job. In reality, coaching is their job. With managers being in very visible and influential positions, they have the ability to lead their teams to victory, or let their teams fall. No matter how big or small a team may be, the practice of management coaching is critical.
It’s a good idea for managers to keep track of how often they praise their employees. One way to do this is to start each week with a tally sheet containing each employee’s name. This will make it easy for managers to note—with a simple tick or tally mark—each time they praise an employee throughout the week. At the end of the week, this informal “praise report” will yield valuable data about the manager’s coaching efforts. This tally sheet will also help to make praising become a habit!