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How are your coaching skills?

New research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), highlights coaching as a cornerstone of high performance, a successful change management tool and a vital driver of business success.

According to Dr. John McGurk, Adviser Learning and Talent for CIPD,

“Maximizing value for business should be top of any organization’s agenda and coaching aligned to business objectives can be a way to achieve this, through driving high sustainable people performance.”

Being an effective coach is more than giving your employees a high five every now and then. While recognition is an important motivator, and I’m not discounting it, there is  a lot more to it than that.

High fives are nice but effective coaching is better

Coaching is about driving up employee engagement and sustaining it so that employees are motivated to perform. Because as Charlie Judy over on HR Fishbowl outlines,  disengaged employees can cost you. Huge.

As a manager, what can you do to become a better coach?

Give meaningful feedback on a regular basis

This sounds like a lot of work, but in the long run providing feedback on a weekly, monthly and/or quarterly basis makes the coaching process a lot easier.

Here’s why:

Employees want meaningful feedback on an ongoing basis. Make it a point to sit down with your employees to discuss progress, challenges they may be facing and to provide guidance where needed. Doing so ensures employees stay motivated and engaged in their work.

These reviews don’t need to be as long or as detailed as your annual performance review session. Instead they are a structured forum for giving employees feedback and for checking on progress.

Be clear about goals and expectations

Help employees see how their work matters to the organization. Doing so ensures employees:

  • Know what is expected of them
  • Know the organization’s high level goals and priorities
  • Understand how their work contributes to organizational success
  • Find meaning and value in what they do

Reward, recognize and appreciate!

There are lots of ways to reward and recognize employees beyond giving them a bonus. However, you need to ensure your rewards and recognition are rooted in performance. That’s the only way they work as motivators.

Employees need to feel that their company rewards performance fairly and equitably so make the process consistent and transparent. That said, sometimes the recognition an employee is looking for is simply a ‘thank you’ or ‘job well done’. Verbal praise is after all, a strong motivator.

So go ahead and give that ‘high five’ but make it meaningful.

Provide opportunities for growth and development

Want a motivated and productive team? Keep them learning. Have ongoing discussions with them about short and long term career goals, and give them new challenges and opportunities to develop their skills and experience. This kind of investment in employee development can improve employee retention and positively drive business performance.

The above four tips cover off a lot of the employee needs commonly recognized as contributing to employee engagement. Implementing them can improve your coaching skills and make you a better leader.

You might also enjoy reading David Creelman’s white paper, 5 Performance Management Tactics to Boost Employee Engagement for a bit of inspiration.

What can HR to do support managers in becoming better coaches?

  • Provide access to leadership training to develop your managers’ coaching skills
  • Provide your managers with the prerequisite tools, systems, policies, and best practices for writing employee performance reviews, evaluating employee performance, and identifying potential skill, competency, and behavioral gaps that can be addressed through development planning
  • Consider automating your performance management process so that performance feedback, progress on goals and development activities can be easily tracked and measured

Managers, think about performance management as something that can help drive engagement and performance. Don’t think of it as a chore. See it as a process for becoming an effective coach.

* Image source: a very funny article about National High Five Day. Who knew?

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