Building a Culture of Coaching to Create Agile Teams
John Madden once said, “Coaches have to watch for what they don’t want to see and listen to what they don’t want to hear.” This is true when leading workplace teams, as well. How often do we breathe a sigh of relief when we complete the arduous task of “the hire?”
At best, our organizations have an onboarding process that helps the new team member find their desk, their way around the workplace, and a written roadmap for training and success. Typically, what happens is the team member is shown their desk, the break room, signs new hire paperwork, and then is encouraged to “dive in,” bringing the skills and attitude they were hired for to the team.
More than 40 years of research substantiates that coaching an employee to success starts from the first interview through to the last day of employment. As a consulting organization, we always ask ourselves and our clients we advise on any number of issues, “Is it that you don’t know how or that you aren’t committed to it?” The good news is both are easily solved. We have developed a process for employee recruitment, education and retention that is proven to improve employee performance, which is good for the entire team.
The 3 steps towards employee satisfaction and performance
Using a 3-step approach, we have increased employee retention and team performance an average of 35% within 6 to 9 months. Each step is vital to success and is equally important. The 3 steps are education, goal setting, and ongoing coaching. Each step has a strategic and tactical component that is easily implemented so the “how to” is easily defined and accomplished. With most things, the “commitment” is the challenging part and the difference between success and failure.
Our favorite tool for this process is DiSC Agile EQ™. Using this tool, a manager can easily look at their behavior and the team member’s behaviors to identify where a mindset shift will support the tasks that are required for optimal performance. As certified consultants, we work with managers to demonstrate the power of combining the personalized insights of DiSC® with active emotional intelligence development. Team members discover an agile approach to workplace interactions and learn to navigate outside their comfort zone, empowering them to meet the demands of any situation.
Using this powerful tool, the manager and team members discover how to bring a deeper understanding of their internal potential and commit to strategies and tactics to build agility. By discovering the instinctive mindsets that shape their response and interactions, the team member finds their own opportunities to stretch into social, emotional, and workplace situations.
2. Goal Setting
Using DiSC Agile EQ™, the manager and the team member set specific mindset and tactical, job-related goals to ensure a path forward. Poor performance can always be summed up with the two qualifiers previously discussed – they do not know how, or they are not committed. Both start with the mindset. Goal setting is always intended to change performance, but without a mind shift, setting goals will not have the desired outcome.
The greatest indicator of future success depends on alignment. Self-alignment is the first step. If an employee is not self-aligned, over time their commitment will wane. First, the most important thing a manager can do is discover the seed within the employee that motivates them to show up to do their work. Secondly, the manager should work with the employee to set practical tactical goals that will help support the individual’s pursuit of self-actualization and mastery in life and at work. Using this method, the employee self directs and changes behavior and performance.
Finally, the goal-setting conversation needs to happen immediately and consistently. Too often managers take a “wait and see” approach. This method never works. As soon as a target or goal is missed, the conversation needs to occur.
3. Ongoing Coaching
There are many methods for coaching. We recommend a method that ensures self-alignment that supports team alignment with specific measurable mindset and tactical targets. Remember that you should be educating the team member from their first interview that your company follows a culture of coaching, and that each team member is responsible for self-motivation and accountability.
In our firm, we say we provide a fertile farm with acres of possibilities and it is each team member’s responsibility to bring their seed of greatness to the farm. We will provide tools and nutrients and together we will harvest an amazing crop.
The 6 steps to high-performance coaching
Coaching your employees shouldn’t be limited to their first months within the company, or during trainings and workshops every once in a while. Instead, aim to provide constant coaching and support to your employees, so that they don’t lose motivation and stay engaged and involved. These are, in our experience, the 6 main steps towards high-performance coaching:
1. Establish a culture of coaching
Many organizations use “huddles” and team meetings that are task-driven and ignore the importance of mentoring. 75% of millennials surveyed report that mentoring is more important to them than the salary they will collect. Companies that give lip service to mentoring but fail to follow through will experience higher non-performance, higher turnover rates, and lower profitability.
2. Be direct
Use the DiSC Agile EQ™ to use straightforward conversation to address specific topics. Use specific observable behavior that the employee self-identifies with your help. Remember we are focused on the behavior that keeps them from staying committed.
3. Keep the employee self-aligned and the team aligned
Remind employees about the commitments they made to the team, which support their personal goals. This method keeps the solution with the employee, which is the difference between long-term success and failure.
4. Accept that failure is a possibility
What if? Discuss with the employee the outcome of 100% pass/fail. This step is the one we find managers struggling with the most, and it is as critical to the success of the employee as all the other steps.
5. Follow up
Always remember to set up a follow-up date, for everything. This step ensures that the manager and employee are working together toward a solid plan for optimal performance. It also keeps both parties motivated to move forward and involved and excited about the process. Make follow-ups a priority.
6. Find the confidence within your employees
It is not enough that you believe in the team member. You must find the belief within them. This is not as difficult as it might seem. Over 30 years of managerial experience has taught me that everything that anyone needs to know to improve their situation is within them. The key difference between those who succeed and those who fail is a coach or mentor who is willing to help them uncover the greatness within.
Ready to get started? Download one of our simple coaching forms to assist you. Give at least 15 minutes per month to a coaching session that is dedicated to self-alignment with specific targets.
Want help creating a culture of coaching within your organization? Schedule a 15-minute free consultation on how we can help you get started!