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There are a number of things that coaches do. The following list summarizes the most important:
• Coaches set goals. Every organization makes plans and sets goals to achieve them. One key job of coaches is to work with their employees to set goals and deadlines for completion. The best coaches don’t create these goals in a vacuum; they involve employees in defining their goals and setting deadlines for completion. They then get out of the way and allow their employees to determine exactly how to accomplish the goals.
LEADERSHIP: THE PEOPLE THING
• Coaches support and encourage. No one ever said that business was easy, in fact, it can sometimes be downright difficult. As a result, it’s easy for employees—regardless of their level of experience or expertise—to become discouraged. Coaches keep close tabs on their employees to monitor their emotional states of mind. When employees need a boost, these managers are there to help provide it.
• Coaches emphasize team success over individual success. The best managers know that it’s important to put the emphasis on team and team performance, not on the one or two standouts who invariably are a part of every team. Winning takes the combined efforts of all team members and singling out one or two stars only serves to demotivate the rest of the team.
• Coaches can quickly assess the talents and shortfalls of team members. No employee is strong in every area; some are proficient at certain tasks while others are proficient at a completely different set. It’s up to coaches to determine their team members’ strengths and weaknesses and then tailor their approach to each. If, for example, an employee is great at customer relations, but needs help with filling out sales reports, the manager can concentrate on providing support for the employee’s development of better reporting skills.
• Coaches teach. Coaches are often more experienced at performing certain tasks than the employees they manage, and one of their key functions is to transfer this knowledge to employees so that they can perform at a high level of expertise. Smart coaches take the time to teach employees the skills they need to succeed in their organizations in a nonthreatening and inclusive way.
• Coaches inspire their team members. Employees respond positively to sincere encouragement from managers. Coaches make a point of supporting and inspiring their team members, helping them to consistently bring their best efforts to their jobs. Experienced coaches know that teams of inspired individuals can move mountains when
The Management Bible
it comes to achieving their organization’s goals, and they help them do just that.
• Coaches create environments that allow individuals to be successful. A company’s culture has to support and reward employees’ giving their best efforts, otherwise, they won’t bother. Managers are in the perfect position to create environments that encourage employees to make their own decisions and to make (honest) mistakes without fear of punishment. Smart coaches know that this is the way that they will get the best performance from their employees, while keeping employee morale and spirits high.
• Coaches provide feedback. While it’s important for managers to keep track of how employees are performing, it’s just as important for managers to communicate this information to their employees on a timely, candid, and complete basis. With this information in hand, employees can understand in which areas they need to improve. They can then request manager support (in the form of training or other resources) in helping them improve their efforts.
COACHING IN THREE EASY STEPS
As we point out earlier in this chapter, one of the key things that coaches do is to teach their employees. One of our favorite teaching models is what we call the show-and-tell method. Show-and-tell coaching consists of three distinct steps:
Step 1: You do; you say. In this first step, the coach meets with her employee and explains a procedure or task in general terms while performing it. So, for example, the coach explains how to fill out an online purchase request while actually sitting at the computer, bringing up the proper screens, and filling in a sample request.
LEADERSHIP: THE PEOPLE THING
Ask Bob and Peter: I am the Cyber Cafe owner in Malaysia. I don't know why my staff members here are so lazy, and the motivation or encouragement that I am giving them is really not effective. What can I do to encourage my employees to be better workers?
The big question is: Why are your employees unmotivated? To answer this question, you'll need to look very closely at your organization and at yourself. First, you'll need to find out if there are demotivators in the workplace. Do your employees have the tools they need to do their jobs well? Are they paid a fair wage? Are they trusted and invited to share their ideas with you? If not, you have a problem. Identify demotivators and neutralize them. Next, create a system of rewards and recognition that will encourage your employees to be motivated and excited about their work. To do this most effectively, you'll need to ask your employees what motivates them, and then find ways to make these things happen. Some employees are motivated when the boss tells them they did a good job. Others are motivated by being given more responsibility, authority, or learning opportunities. Still others are motivated by material things such as cash, gifts, or awards.