Coaching is moving beyond the football field to enter the workplace, with surprisingly winning results. Employees who work at Wal-Mart, for example, are coached instead of written up when they do something wrong. The company believes that coaching is a way to not only point out behavior that’s not conducive to productivity at the company but to turn these kinds of incidents into teachable moments.
Being coached at work doesn’t have to be a terrible experience, and most companies don’t even associate coaching an employee with negative or disciplinary actions. Rather, coaching is a method of not just teaching someone a new skill, but also teaching them how to be an effective leader. Every company should have some form of coaching in place because it’s a great way to set benchmarks and create goals to build leaders.
Be sure to not confuse coaching with mentoring. Mentoring focuses on relationships between less-experienced and more-experienced professionals, whereas coaching focuses more on tasks and hitting benchmarks in direct hopes of being promoted, etc. Mentors serve as long-term partners to help guide less-experienced workers through every step of their careers. Coaches, on the other hand, help workers reach more short-term, job-specific goals.
Good workplace coaches share the following successful traits and strategies.
In order to be successful at coaching multiple employees, you need to have a solid game plan. You’ll want to spread your attention evenly throughout all of the people on your team, in order to maximize the potential of your office and the company as a whole. Managers who have a game plan to start coaching their employees should lean on their own experiences in the process of helping each employee through the kinds of similar situations that are sure to come up.
It’s extremely important for a coach to be available whenever one of their employees needs them. A lot of issues arise when coaches are too busy with their day-to-day work. Coaching is a commitment, and if you’re not able to put in the time and effort, it will be much harder to deliver better employees, better managers, and a better company.
If you can, set aside time each week to talk to each of the employees you’re coaching. It’s much better to have ongoing contact with them than to go for weeks upon weeks without having any type of follow-up.
Coaching isn’t for your average manager. It takes hard work to coach and train employees into becoming managers and beyond. You need to develop a vision of where each employee can go. If managers are willing to put in the hard work to coach, develop, and train their associates, the effort will pay off.
Coaching employees is not for the faint at heart. Not every manager is meant to be a coach and not every employee who is coached is meant to be a manager. Finding the perfect balance can be challenging, but understanding the key success strategies and traits of a good coach will help jumpstart your coaching initiative.
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, is an author, speaker, Human Resources professional, and workplace social media expert who has a passion for recruiting, training, and all things social media. She is the president and CEO of Xceptional HR, and a leader in the HR community with more than 12 years of industry experience. The author of Tweet This! Twitter for Business, Jessica was named by HR Examiner as the second most influential recruiter on the Internet and the seventh most powerful woman on Twitter. She is a columnist for both SmartBrief and The Huffington Post, in addition to Blogging4Jobs and Human Resources One on One. Jessica has been interviewed for professional articles in CIO Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, SHRM’s HR Magazine, and on CBS. Jessica earned a Senior Professional in Human Resources designation in 2008, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Business from Kansas State University. Originally from a small town in Kansas, Jessica currently lives near Oklahoma City with her husband, Greg and daughter, Ryleigh.