The Best Ways to Coach Your Employees

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

One thing that I hear from senior leaders is how much enjoyment they get from coaching and guiding members of their team. They recognize that today’s aspiring leaders want guidance and want to get it in a way that is tasty and digestible.

My colleague, Michael Couch and I discuss some of these strategies in our soon to be released book, Strategy Driven Leadership: The Playbook for Developing Your Next Generation of Leaders, which will be out in late November.

Here are 3 ways for you to strengthen your coaching skills:

1. Focus on behaviors: People are understandably defensive when you use personality constructs (“you’re too critical”) but they can’t argue with empirical evidence. “When we were talking about project objectives, you raised your voice and told David that his ideas made no sense.” People want to improve, and they need specific feedback on what they can do differently to be more effective.

2. Keep a scorecard: I tell people that we want to see a decrease in the frequency and intensity of ineffective behaviors and an increase in the intensity and frequency of desired behaviors. Behaviors are measurable and telling the colleague in the above example that you “appreciated how they listened more to what David was saying and found ways to agree with his important points,” sets the stage for fewer ineffective actions and more successful ones.

3. Make it real: 70% of your learning experiences should be real and not from a book or lecture. It makes me nuts when someone says that they are going to going to a conference to learn (fill in the blank). People learn by doing and as a coach, you want them to practice it and try it out in a real-life experience. If you’ve got a new sales technique you are wanting one of your team members to demonstrate, make certain that he or she sees how other’s perform it, practices it in front of the team, goes out and does it with a colleague and then comes back and processes what they learned so they can do better next time.

Your Challenge This Week: Reflect on how you coach your team members and if you are directing rather than guiding them. Focus on one of the tools listed above and have some fun. You’ll find it makes your job easier and your everybody’s work more effective.

© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2019


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