ISSUE 25 ISSN 1712-468
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The Two Key Objectives in Any Coaching Environment

Recently, I was coaching a businessowner and his team on how to improve their communication skills with each other. I had been working with this group for a number of months, but we weren’t making the progress I had anticipated.

In fact, it was becoming a very frustrating experience. We would work through various interactions that had gone the wrong way, then devise a plan on how to do better next time. Unfortunately, when next time came, it was as if they had not learned a thing and in some instances, the situation actually got worse!

As I thought about it, this came to mind:

My role as coach had only two objectives:

  1. to give them a renewed understanding of how to improve their use of what they had already learned in our time together, and  
  2. to stimulate their interest and desire to implement the training to obtain results.

The way those two goals will be accomplished is different for each person and each coaching environment.

As a coach, you must ensure your client receives a thorough understanding of your program and its value.

Getting a negligent worker or supervisor to promise to “do better” or “showing him how” is not coaching. The objective of any coaching is to get the person to understand and use what he or she has learned.

As I worked with this team, I learned six lessons in the process.

1. I needed to give them the reasons this communication program would work and information about its advantages.

That would mean fewer employee complaints, fewer grievances, and less turnover. There were, however, other indirect advantages to having my client improve his relationship with his staff.

  • Fewer “accidents”
  • Less scrap
  • More production
  • Less tool breakage
  • Better use of manpower

Have you given your clients the reasons for your particular program, why it needs to be implemented, and its short and long-term advantages? Can you break it down into financial savings or gains?

2. It is important that staff members understand the basic principles of the program.

As we worked on this transformation, I quickly realized certain points were not clear. I hadn’t done a proper job of explaining the “whys” behind the principle. By asking a few questions, I was able to determine which points needed clarification. Once they were, the team’s response was much more positive.

If you are looking for a great way to ensure your work as a coach is practical and vital, I suggest you apply various points of your program directly to a current situation or business problem your client is having.

3. Select a problem and work on it together.

That is the most helpful coaching advice I can offer you. Sometimes, your client needs help to identify the problem. Nothing confirms the usefulness of the training program you are suggesting more than working out a problem together.

4. Ask your client and staff members to work out a problem alone.

Have you been able to transfer knowledge to your client so he or she can solve the problem, using the methods you have taught? In the above case, I led the team to uncover another communication problem that needed to be addressed, then had them work it out alone. That increased their confidence in their own abilities and provided me with a great reason to call back at a later date.

5. Give people credit for good results and good effort.

Often, a determined effort to apply a program in the face of many difficulties is as worthy of credit as the actual results. Caution: Don’t overdue the act of giving credit.

6. Establish with your client and staff that occasional checks will be ongoing.

The supervisors being coached should understand that

  • they are expected to use what they have learned in the program,
  • they will be checked periodically on their effective use of this knowledge, and
  • they can receive tips on HOW to use it, month after month, as long as the coaching relationship is maintained.
By applying those six steps, I was able to help that team gain a better understanding of how to communicate with each other in a way that built credibility both inside and outside the organization.

Yours truly,

Neal Diamond

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