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The Importance of Employee Coaching

Managers are under a lot of pressure. They have to keep employees engaged, maximize their performance, oh and do whatever it takes to ensure they stick around for at least a few years. That’s a lot of weight on one person’s shoulders – and that’s where the traditional management approach falls short. The top-down, authoritarian, hierarchical style of traditional management misses the key to true management success – relationships.  

Coaching employees is more than just the latest workplace trend; it’s about building a relationship that brings out the best in people. When your mentality and approach shift from traditional management to a coaching framework, you’ll find much of that pressure on management is alleviated. Rather than focusing on control and making things happen to produce your desired results, a coach’s number one priority is building trust and helping employees help themselves. Where a traditional manager might “call the shots,” a coach takes a collaborative approach, often listening or asking questions more than offering advice or giving direction (more on that later). 

Why Coach Employees? 

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, you might be asking… why do you even want to coach employees? The way we’ve been doing things seems to be working just fine, right? 

Well, research is in favor of this “trend,” showing it significantly contributes to organizational success. According to the Human Capital Institute, 51% of organizations with strong coaching cultures report a higher revenue than similar companies. On top of that, 62% of employees in those organizations rate themselves as highly engaged – compared to the whopping 36% national average for employee engagement.   

Clearly, there’s something these “coaching cultures” are doing right. So how do you begin to coach your employees? Let’s dive in shall we? 

How to Coach Employees 

While it’s true that in coaching cultures employees take more of a driver seat than they do with traditional management approaches, that doesn’t mean managers just sit back and watch on the sidelines.  

Think of a sports team. Not only does the coach know the rules of the game and what it means to “win,” they also know the strengths and growth opportunities for each of their players. They are actively involved in the game – from the sidelines – by offering encouragement, feedback, and support in the moment. Which brings us to a few hallmarks of great workplace coaches and how you can begin to coach your employees. 

  1. Coaches know the end goal and set clear expectations. 
      • The business world isn’t all that different from sports – you have to know what “winning” looks like. Managers, when operating from a coaching framework, have the responsibility of providing employees with clear objectives when it comes to performance, behaviors, and values. As a leader, you have to know the end goal in order to help your employees get there successfully.  
  2. Coaches know their employees. 
      • It’s not enough to just know the goals, though. You also have to know your team members. What are their strengths? What are their growth opportunities? What motivates them to do and be their best? Knowing your employees arms you with the insights you need to elevate their performance and engagement to the next level. More on that here. 
  3. Coaches offer support and feedback in real-time. 
      • Imagine if a coach could only offer feedback to their players after the game. What would be the point of that? It’s those in-the-moment celebrations, the real-time reminders that push players to keep going when things are getting tough. The same goes for your employees. Whether they’re struggling with a project or they’ve just completely nailed a difficult task, celebrating their wins and supporting them through their struggles real-time offers the advantage of bringing improvement faster.  
  4. Coaches ask questions and actively listen. 
      • While coaches do know the goal and what could be done to get there, they know it’s far more important that their team members are “bought in” to the task at hand. In other words, if you were to tell your employees what you expect of them, and then go on to tell them exactly what you want them to do to accomplish that, they might be left wondering why you don’t just go do the job yourself. A coach, on the other hand, has collaborative conversations with employees where they ask questions to allow the employee to identify where they stand relative to their goal and what they can do to get to where they need to be. 
  5. Coaches hold their employees accountable. 
      • Coaches are anything but permissive. They don’t let their players’ performance slip, they’re on their case if they skip practice, and they’re not afraid to call them out if they’re not giving it their all. When managers operate as coaches, they act similarly. The goal here isn’t to harp on your employees or constantly point out their flaws, but to remind them of the end goal, to keep them focused on what matters. By maintaining an open, ongoing, two-way conversation, managers can quickly catch when employees’ performance or engagement is beginning to lag. From there, they are positioned to take action that will bring them back in alignment.  

When to Coach Employees 

While there isn’t necessarily a “wrong” time to coach, there is a best time – as in the moment as possible (see point #3 above). However, it’s important to bear in mind that while you’re providing support and feedback to your employees you can overdo it. Too much positive feedback and you’ll begin to come across as ingenuine; too much constructive feedback and your employees will feel bogged down.  

Not only that, but overzealous coaching can easily creep into the “micromanagement” territory, where managers are constantly checking in – and no one likes that. Remember, at the heart of managing like a coach is the prioritization of relationships and people. As a manager, your job is to bring out the best in your employees. Your aim is to help them uncover their potential, their goals, and then support them as they take action to get there. Use your discretion and your knowledge of each individual employee to determine which scenarios require more involvement on your end, and which are best for the employee to navigate more independently.  

Want to learn more ways to embrace and implement this culture of coaching in your organization? We’ve got you covered. Head on over to our Learning Library to check out our current guides and eBooks that walk you through how to get started.  

Managers are under a lot of pressure. They have to keep employees engaged, maximize their performance, oh and do whatever it takes to ensure they stick around for at least a few years. That’s a lot of weight on one person’s shoulders – and that’s where the traditional management approach falls short. The top-down, authoritarian, hierarchical style of traditional management misses the key to true management success – relationships.  

Coaching employees is more than just the latest workplace trend; it’s about building a relationship that brings out the best in people. When your mentality and approach shift from traditional management to a coaching framework, you’ll find much of that pressure on management is alleviated. Rather than focusing on control and making things happen to produce your desired results, a coach’s number one priority is building trust and helping employees help themselves. Where a traditional manager might “call the shots,” a coach takes a collaborative approach, often listening or asking questions more than offering advice or giving direction (more on that later). 

Why Coach Employees? 

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, you might be asking… why do you even want to coach employees? The way we’ve been doing things seems to be working just fine, right? 

Well, research is in favor of this “trend,” showing it significantly contributes to organizational success. According to the Human Capital Institute, 51% of organizations with strong coaching cultures report a higher revenue than similar companies. On top of that, 62% of employees in those organizations rate themselves as highly engaged – compared to the whopping 36% national average for employee engagement.   

Clearly, there’s something these “coaching cultures” are doing right. So how do you begin to coach your employees? Let’s dive in shall we? 

How to Coach Employees 

While it’s true that in coaching cultures employees take more of a driver seat than they do with traditional management approaches, that doesn’t mean managers just sit back and watch on the sidelines.  

Think of a sports team. Not only does the coach know the rules of the game and what it means to “win,” they also know the strengths and growth opportunities for each of their players. They are actively involved in the game – from the sidelines – by offering encouragement, feedback, and support in the moment. Which brings us to a few hallmarks of great workplace coaches and how you can begin to coach your employees. 

  1. Coaches know the end goal and set clear expectations. 
      • The business world isn’t all that different from sports – you have to know what “winning” looks like. Managers, when operating from a coaching framework, have the responsibility of providing employees with clear objectives when it comes to performance, behaviors, and values. As a leader, you have to know the end goal in order to help your employees get there successfully.  
  2. Coaches know their employees. 
      • It’s not enough to just know the goals, though. You also have to know your team members. What are their strengths? What are their growth opportunities? What motivates them to do and be their best? Knowing your employees arms you with the insights you need to elevate their performance and engagement to the next level. More on that here. 
  3. Coaches offer support and feedback in real-time. 
      • Imagine if a coach could only offer feedback to their players after the game. What would be the point of that? It’s those in-the-moment celebrations, the real-time reminders that push players to keep going when things are getting tough. The same goes for your employees. Whether they’re struggling with a project or they’ve just completely nailed a difficult task, celebrating their wins and supporting them through their struggles real-time offers the advantage of bringing improvement faster.  
  4. Coaches ask questions and actively listen. 
      • While coaches do know the goal and what could be done to get there, they know it’s far more important that their team members are “bought in” to the task at hand. In other words, if you were to tell your employees what you expect of them, and then go on to tell them exactly what you want them to do to accomplish that, they might be left wondering why you don’t just go do the job yourself. A coach, on the other hand, has collaborative conversations with employees where they ask questions to allow the employee to identify where they stand relative to their goal and what they can do to get to where they need to be. 
  5. Coaches hold their employees accountable. 
      • Coaches are anything but permissive. They don’t let their players’ performance slip, they’re on their case if they skip practice, and they’re not afraid to call them out if they’re not giving it their all. When managers operate as coaches, they act similarly. The goal here isn’t to harp on your employees or constantly point out their flaws, but to remind them of the end goal, to keep them focused on what matters. By maintaining an open, ongoing, two-way conversation, managers can quickly catch when employees’ performance or engagement is beginning to lag. From there, they are positioned to take action that will bring them back in alignment.  

When to Coach Employees 

While there isn’t necessarily a “wrong” time to coach, there is a best time – as in the moment as possible (see point #3 above). However, it’s important to bear in mind that while you’re providing support and feedback to your employees you can overdo it. Too much positive feedback and you’ll begin to come across as ingenuine; too much constructive feedback and your employees will feel bogged down.  

Not only that, but overzealous coaching can easily creep into the “micromanagement” territory, where managers are constantly checking in – and no one likes that. Remember, at the heart of managing like a coach is the prioritization of relationships and people. As a manager, your job is to bring out the best in your employees. Your aim is to help them uncover their potential, their goals, and then support them as they take action to get there. Use your discretion and your knowledge of each individual employee to determine which scenarios require more involvement on your end, and which are best for the employee to navigate more independently.  

Want to learn more ways to embrace and implement this culture of coaching in your organization? We’ve got you covered. Head on over to our Learning Library to check out our current guides and eBooks that walk you through how to get started.  

Post Categories: Insights
Date Published: Apr 14, 2022
Post Categories: Insights
Date Published: Apr 14, 2022