6 Steps Help You Coach Employees Effectively
Most employers do not always review the performance of their employees except the traditional annual review that most companies and managers do.
Sometimes, by luck, employees find the proper thing to do. But would you leave the progress of your organization at the mercy of chance and trial-and-error?
This is where intentional coaching comes to play. It is a reliable method that you can use to develop the potential of your employees.
It affords your staff the chance to achieve optimal results and deliberately grow their performance through mentoring, counseling, and feedback.
Instead of depending on what the review scheme brings to the table, you can directly sponsor your employees to carry out your organization’s bidding.
If you do this the proper way, it can be a suitable roadmap to your organization’s collective success. However, if you do it improperly, your employees may likely feel unappreciated and berated. The six steps below would help you coach your employees effectively.
1. Build Mutual Trust With Your Employee
The very core of a good coaching relationship relies on the every-day relationship between you and your employees. Starting a coaching session is fruitless without some level of trust.
For any establishment, trust works on three planes: trust between two people, trust between team members, and trust at the establishment’s level.
It is almost impossible for you to control the degree of trust in your company completely, but your ability to influence and instigate trust in your work environment is at your disposal.
Your environment may mean your coworkers, work team, or department.
When you cement a relationship based on trust with your employees in a smaller department in your organization, you’ll have better control to promulgate trust in the bigger division.
The following tips will better help you build trust with your employees:
Listen to What They Have to Say
One of the good traits of effective managers is their ability to listen to their staff with apt attention and respect. Endeavor that you get their feedback and follow-up when necessary. To show that you take them seriously, act on their suggestions and responses.
Inform Them if Necessary
Keep them in a loop by furnishing them with as much information as they need. Your employees would most likely not appreciate impromptu news, reviews, or other similar things from you. If they can’t express their ordeal towards you, I am sure you will feel it in their reactions.
Trust Them First
You’ll have to show them that you trust them first to win their trust. Assign a task to them, maybe an easy one, and give them the benefit of not supervising them. This seemingly simple act will place you on the borders of their hearts.
Any show of confidence you invest in your employees will foster a quality relationship plus; they will also respect you.
Lead Them With Integrity
When you keep your word in your dealings with your employees, then they’ll have a reason to trust you. Animate your integrity before them every day they see you at work. Do what you say and do it when you said you’ll do it.
Demonstrate to them that your actions are in harmony with the principles of your organization. Consistency is the most crucial factor here.
Because you are a leader, you must be right in what you do. An open show of competence in the presence of your employees without rubbing it on their faces will go a long way in motivating them.
When it is apparent that you don’t know something, admit it instead of engaging in annoying talks that would lead to arguments. When you own up to your shortcomings, your staff will learn to love you. When they eventually do, it would spell success for your organization.
2. Open the Meeting
When you want to start a coaching meeting, you must explain in a non-accusatory, non-evaluative way, the real objective you have in mind for setting up the meeting.
The most important thing is to state it in a nonjudgmental, friendly manner to your staff so they’ll know your motives.
a. Address Their Motivations
As a coach, you can assist people in discovering and achieving their genuine motivators. Performance and motivation have a direct relationship so that the more your employees experience motivation during work hours, the better they perform.
Below are three motivators that can increase the performance of your employees:
- Autonomy: Providing all the resources and information that your staff will need and not interfering with their work will help them perform better.
- Mastery: When you provide networking opportunities, educational material, and seminar training to your employees, you can increase their mastery in what they do, indirectly increasing their performance.
- Purpose: Most staffs desire a feeling of importance when they do high-valued tasks that are purposeful in some way to their organization.
b. Enhance Their Neuroplasticity
Neuroplasticity is a term that means the inherent ability of the brain to develop new neural pathways. It means that you can quickly handle more mentally challenging tasks as your brain becomes more plastic.
Just like muscles, your brain will be “stronger” when you engage it in a mental exercise. There are two basic approaches that you can employ to help your employees improve their mental capacity.
- Engage In a High-Mental Activity: Engage them in mentally challenging, low tension activities like puzzles, riddles, mind games, etc. Setting long-term goals for your employees instead of short-term goals would also help further to enhance their cognitive development. This is because every change, whether it is a short-term or a long term change, can causes changes in the brain and affect their mood. Hence, the more the change triggered in the brain, the more your employees tend to acquire greater mental capabilities.
- Learn New Things: The more your employees commit their attention to learning new things, the better will be their performance, and ultimately, your organization’s growth.
c. Appreciate Effort More Than Ability
Most people face harsh criticisms because of their outputs when there is no due consideration to the time and effort they put in the first place.
Even though results are essential, they are seldom the sole determinant for the value of a team member.
d. Listen More or Speak Less
Some employees consider it an attack on their person when they receive critical feedback from you.
When you grant your staff the privilege of sharing their concerns and recognizing their importance, you’ll make coaching a more desirable engagement.
e. Follow-up on Feedback
When you follow up on the feedback that your staff gave earlier, performance is a surety. When you ignore this process, your organization will pay for it.
3. Communication is Key
Effective communication in an organization is undoubtedly one of the major determinants of whether the organization will succeed or not.
It is intriguing to know that a lot of companies do not see it as an ardent necessity to improve their communication strategy.
Below are six suggestions to improve the level of communication between you and your staffs:
- Create an environment that encourages open communication with your team, where opinions are treasured and not criticized. If you act too unapproachable, you will create fear in your employees, and even when they ideas to share or questions to ask you, they may easily put themselves off due to anxiety. And this, consequently, can your organization productivity.
- Another mistake that you can commit here is to issue out a lot of work and expect your employees to do them in a very short time space without any error. Some employees may not appreciate the importance of priority until you explain it to them.
- Non-verbal and subliminal communication is also a huge determinant of productivity and efficiency. When, as a coach, you engage in activities that waters down the morale of your employees, productivity is sure to decline.
- A wide communication gap between employees and their managers are often a common experience in many organizations. When required, you can communicate through emails, post-it, text message, or you can even put it in writing. Add date and time if it is something sensitive.
- It is not possible to address a communication problem when you don’t even recognize that there is a problem in the first place. Allow your employees to know what you require from them in terms of communication. Most of your employees communicate differently, and it depends on you, as their manager, to find a way of making things work.
4. Get Them to Commit
Commitment to their organization is the bond a lot of employees feel with their organization.
On a more general note, when employees experience a feeling of connection with their workplace, they are most probably going to be committed to the goals and aspirations of the company.
These kinds of employees will have a greater drive and determination to do their work. It is your job as their manager to get them committed to their tasks.
Gaining Energy from Work
When employees derive energy from their place of work, they experience a feeling of goodness within them and put in more energy into the work you assign to them.
Aside from the regular benefit that your employees enjoy, your organization also stands to benefit from the energy gained by your employees during work.
During this energy gain, productivity tends to increase, and the will to push further will also be there. You should endeavor to set the right atmosphere for your organization to encourage team building.
Your employees will have a sense of commitment when they think that they fit into your organization.
They’ll exert increased effort and stay with the organization for a long time as they become more comfortable with your company.
Ensure that your employees recognize the corporate identity and help them fit in properly in this regard.
Set up a Challenging Workplace
Generally speaking, employees love challenge and variety in their workplace. When they feel challenged, it would make their hidden motivations obvious.
This would help them do their work to the best of their ability. Also, there is a direct relationship between the love to stay with your organization and the challenge at your workplace. Leave frequent feedback.
Let it be constructive and address improvement opportunities that include many challenges, but don’t also forget to encourage them.
5. Handle Excuses
All employees always have their excuse for why they didn’t do the tasks they should have done. Sometimes, their excuses are valid, while at other times, you will find it funny.
When you see a pattern, the right thing to do is to end it. When next an employee drops his favorite excuse, use these four steps below to handle them.
Start with a Question
Ask to know what they are thinking. Sometimes they may have a valid excuse why they did what they did. Don’t ignore or punish them for a legitimate excuse because it may dent your credibility and inspire future excuses.
Acknowledge Excuse Patterns
When your employee is fond of making a favorite excuse, bring it up to his/her attention. Let’s say he/she misses deadlines all the time, let he/she knows that your organization wouldn’t appreciate it.
Stress the Importance of Positive Behavior
You must explain the reason why your organization will appreciate some kinds of behaviors and detest some.
For instance, if your employee makes it a habit of coming to the office very late almost every day, you may like to make him/her understand the reason why coming to work early is important for your company’s growth.
You are only trying to make them understand that your organization’s standard should never be compromised. State it categorically and let them reach a consensus with you on how not to come short again.
Hold Them Accountable
You should strive to make them understand that they are responsible for their actions. Make it clear to them so that there’ll be no ambiguity.
But it is also very important that you give them a prelude of what they will be facing when they do not comply.
Almost all employees, when they are confronted, will make an excuse. Some of them are used to it already. You surely don’t want to be that person who is debunking excuses all of the time. If you’re going to stop excuses from coming entirely, get busy addressing the behavior first.
6. Provide Feedback
To be an effective coach, you have to understand the importance and value of issuing performance feedback to your employees.
Of course, you know the importance of feedback, as we cannot overemphasize this. But then, it is not just a pat on the back or a drop on the bucket.
There is a right way of consistently leaving feedback that would yield good results.
Below are the different ways you can provide feedback to an employee- it is immediate, painless, and would yield the result you desire.
Pay it Forward
This is quite easy. Do something good for your employees and ask for a return of the favor. What’s this good thing? Constructive criticism! Yes, that’s just it.
It isn’t an easy task to do, and of course, it is also not easy to give. But if you do it usefully and thoughtfully having the best intentions at heart, it would boost your employee’s productivity and increase their work.
When you issue feedback to your employee, it should be to the point, crystal clear, and task-focused.
General statements like “I do not like those reports; you should do better” or “Your work needs great improvement” will only put your employees in the dark and get them confused as regards to the work that they should be busy correcting.
Do not wait for Quarterly Review
Address issues head-on. If you don’t, they will multiply and recur many times so that they’ll assume a domino effect.
This would save you from the ton of issues you’ll be addressing when it is time for a quarterly review. If you act fast, you’ll be saving your organization, and yourself a great deal of work.
Make it Personal
Because your employees are humans too who don’t want their ego and pride smashed before the public, it is a wise thing not to criticize or shame them publicly.
Some employees don’t like to be the center of any attention, meaning that even if you want to sing their praise, you better do it in private.
This may not be true for some others that love public recognition. As a coach, you have to study the behavioral tendencies of your employees and know how to handle them properly.
Do Not Focus on Personality, Focus on Performance Rather
Focus on what your employees do and not their personality traits. This is to ensure that you do not mix work with emotions because a combination of these two can be catastrophic sometimes.
Concentrate on Individual Efforts
A major reason why reviews may appear the same over the years is because of the unchanging nature of human beings.
Reviews will change when there is an intention behind it. Not many employees like to hear about their deficiencies. To them, it is better not said at all. Some may even pick an offense.
Employee Feedback Goes Either Way
Evaluation is not a very easy task. It involves many things that you should do properly.
Hence, it is in your best interest to provide your employees with the opportunity of sharing their opinion during board meetings or even communicate it directly to you.
By doing this, you’ll know if you should up your game or if you’re already successful.
As a coach who wants to see that his/her company is functioning at its optimal level, you’ll easily appreciate the importance of assisting your employees in bettering their performance levels.
Coaching your employees for the sole intent of making them effective in what they do is a very powerful tool that can catapult your organization to heights untold.
If your employees are already effective, applying the principles we described here will improve their effectiveness to your amazement.