It seems like workers everywhere are worried about their future, being asked to do more with less, and generally stressed out. How can HR and managers respond? How should you coach your staff or clients?
7 reminders for coaching
- Tell the truth and share whatever you can.
Treat worry with honesty and transparency. Employees generally want the business or organization to succeed. Show your respect for them by being honest. If they aren’t performing well, let them know and focus on skills they need to develop. If a 360-degree review or leadership assessment shows areas of concern, don’t hide them. If you don’t have an answer about the future, promise to reply by a certain date. Reply even if you still don’t have any concrete answers. Provide industry or local economic information to help provide a larger context for your discussions.
- Coach with a focus on the future.
There will be a future even if the employee’s future won’t be with your organization. Learning new skills, building upon strengths, setting goals, and learning optimism will always be important and increase one’s confidence. A failure may indeed be the reason why a person is being coached, but it’s also because the organization or manager believes there’s a future for the one being coached.
- Identify what is positive now.
Even if you’re coaching someone needing to improve his or her performance, focus on a positive future, even while presenting a challenge. Helping your employees or clients identify what is under their control moves them to a more positive space. Even though things might be stressful right now, stress can be lowered through meditation and focusing on what is in your control.
- Acknowledge concerns and insecurity.
Address rumors directly. Give your employees a little time to express their specific worries. Address the worries you can.
- Help them discover their talents and resources.
You can offer time management, delegation, creative thinking, classes, or support, but that’s not coaching. You’re directly instructing them. You’re helping them explore options and have their own insights. You’re listening, giving feedback, providing structure, and letting those being coached arrive at their own solutions.
- Revisit the initial goals of your coaching relationship.
Coaching isn’t showing someone the ropes. It’s a relationship based upon a purpose and structure. It’s a commitment. You’re working on real issues and toward a goal. Remind your employees or clients of their goals. Review how well they are doing. Consider coaches in sports and find a way to measure success you can both agree upon.
- Master your coaching tools.
If you’re using an assessment, consider getting certified in it. After all, your knowledge and experience are also tools. If you’re unsure of your skills (such as active listening), ask for feedback from your colleagues. Consider meeting with a coaching peer and mentoring each other.
What if you’re coaching someone you suspect won’t be around in six months either because of a decision made by the employer or the employee? Investment in a person is never a waste. Employees leave and sometimes they return. Or they refer a great new hire.
Coaches can discover and address problems sooner than someone less involved with an employee. Coaching shows a commitment to the employee and builds their commitment to the organization.