Back in my developmental years, I was placed in a four-week fast track program for leadership development. One week of this program was run by a couple of former IBM executives who would teach us how to present, engage others, toast others, dress, and be motivational. Right out of the box, we were given 15 minutes to prepare a two-minute presentation on any subject, and we would be videoed. The results were laughable when it came to mannerisms and expressions.
They used this as a teachable moment, as effective coaches would, and turned around an embarrassing situation for many into a learning experience. We realized that when people learned and became happy and confident, they then became motivated to do more. We also learned that being motivated had a significant impact on our performance and how those we lead would perform.
McKinsey points out, “As organizations look to the post pandemic future, many are planning a hybrid virtual model that combines remote work with time in the office. This sensible decision follows solid productivity increases during the pandemic. But while productivity may have gone up, many employees report feeling anxious and burned out. Unless leaders address the sources of employee anxiety, pandemic-style productivity gains may prove unsustainable in the future.”
What lies down the road has challenged us to rethink our organizational and operational structure and objectives and has called upon us to be leaders and important coaches for our employees and teams. This has been especially true as we reintroduce them to the hybrid workweek or to returning to the workplace.
We must put on our coaching hats and coach our employees in relationships and communication that enable us to help them:
- Develop a clear and concise understanding of cultural changes and revised strategies and goals
- Enhance their contribution to the business in the evolving work environment
- Achieve growth themselves and foster growth for the organization
- Improve upon their weaknesses
- Further develop
- Reinforce their strengths to overcome the challenges the future holds
Here are some coaching tips to help you do that:
- Recognize that coaching is a very formal process, and the responsibility should be taken seriously.
- Prepare yourself to understand your employee’s needs and develop a mutually agreed upon set of realistic goals.
- Overcommunicate. Speak often about reopening plans, goals, policies, and expectations. Ask for their participation and contribution.
- Consider developing a well- thought-out and detailed plan of the objectives and steps that you will take during the coaching process. This should be personalized to the individual.
- Develop measurements and analytics that baseline and chart the improvement and enhanced effectiveness of the employees you are coaching.
- Understand that coaching is not mentoring or counseling the employees.
- Prepare the tools to engage the employees in focusing on how they can make the necessary changes to adapt, become more effective and be more successful.
- Work at establishing trust with the employees. It is essential that they feel safe and comfortable in working with you. Without trust, there can be no coaching platform.
- Exhibit strong interpersonal relationship skills, soft skills and establish the fact that you are credible in this effort.
Our goal is to move employees toward enhanced performance. We might encounter employees who are not ready for coaching, who are quite negative at the time, or who feel the process may be a waste of time.
In these situations, being in control is essential. We must be able to offer these employees the individualized attention they require. It is essential to gain their trust and help them understand and believe that the result of this effort is focused on their development and their improvement.
If we are the right coach for the employee, we will be successful in helping them to improve. If we are not, then we need to recognize it early on and step out. In the latter scenario, it is essential that we look for the appropriate person to do the coaching. At the end of the day, it is the employee who will benefit from the coaching, and we must understand that we may not always be the right person for this.
Our coaching responsibility is to develop an open relationship with employees so that they are receptive to new ideas, change, becoming more agile, adapting to the ever-evolving environment and demands, and moving to the next level or performance. Work is an essential part of our lives, and our employees deserve to enjoy theirs. We should help employees with what they need. Their success is our success. Their growth is the company’s growth.
Dennis Gershowitzis the founder and principal of DG Associates.