If you were to review the memories of your youth, chances are there is a teacher, friend, family acquaintance or maybe a coach whose name you still remember.
You’ve interacted with scores of people over the years and their names and faces tend to fade. Yet, there is probably that one person who is indelibly imprinted in your mind, a unique individual who had a positive impact on your life, someone who played a key role in shaping who you have become. A person who in some way acted as a coach to support your personal growth, point you in the right direction or help you get back on track when you headed down the wrong path.
How would your employees respond if you asked each of them if they felt they had a coach at your company; someone who was there to support their professional growth? Providing supervisors and managers with the skills to be effective coaches for your employees is critical to decreasing employee turnover, increasing employee morale and exceeding your customers’ expectations for service.
Consider the following ideas for improving the coaching skills of your management team.
Give them the tools for the job. In a research study conducted by InTelegy Corp., ineffective management was one of the most common reasons for people leaving a company. Employees felt supervisors received no skills training on how to manage people in a company environment, skills like leadership, motivation, coaching, development and discipline. Hire a specialist in the coaching field who can provide your managers with the skills to be more effective coaches. Check out www.coachu.com, a global provider of coach training programs.
Understand learning styles. We all learn and absorb information differently.
A good coach understands the learning style of the individual they’re coaching. If someone is a visual learner, they learn by what they see or read. Auditory learners learn by listening. Kinesthetic learners learn by feeling or experience. We all learn using a combination of visual, auditory and kinesthetic abilities but, for most of us, one of those styles is dominant. An individual will learn and retain more if information is presented in the learning style they prefer.
Help generate small improvements. John Wooden was one of the greatest collegiate basketball coaches in history. Wooden kept diaries on each of his players. He kept track of the small improvements he felt they could make and then, at the end of practice, he would share these thoughts with each player. His unique insight and his unprecedented achievements – a .806 winning percentage, 19 conference championships, 10 national championships, seven straight national titles and four unbeaten seasons – have stood the test of time.
A good coach works daily to improve the small things that help the team perform at its best.
Know employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Use a personality-profiling tool to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of every person your company is thinking of hiring. A personality profile assessment will help you determine if that individual has the sales skills you are looking for in your sales people, for example. A personality profile will help supervisors coach individuals to increase their performance.
Understand individual values. A good coach knows that each of the players on their team is an individual and that each has different values when it comes to motivation and encouragement. The style that a coach uses to motivate and inspire one individual may not work for anyone else on the team. Each of us has our own beliefs and values concerning what is important and what motivates us to improve our skills. Managers who are good coaches make sure they invest in one-on-one dialog with the individuals on their team. A good coach asks questions, listens to understand what is important to each person and then incorporates that knowledge into their coaching style for each individual.
A manager with strong coaching abilities can be invaluable in retaining and motivating your employees and helping them develop their skills. Wouldn’t it be great if, 20 years from now, someone asked one of your former employees to identify one person who had played a big part in their growth and their response was, “There was this coach at this company…”
David Saxby is president of Measure-X, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based measurement, training and recognition company that specializes in customer service and sales skills training for utilities. He can be reached at 888-644-5499 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Measure-X Web site at www.measure-x.com.