Coaching is a skill all managers are talking about these days. The reasons and the benefits are written about in many articles, and there are many courses to be found teaching the skills and allowing managers to practice. But still, coaching could be applied far more than it is today.
So why is there this gap? So many managers know that they should coach and what the benefits are, and they are still not doing it?
For many the entry point for coaching is simply too high.
And in this article I will share a way to lower the entry point. It will reduce the threshold to coaching and get managers started easier.
Remember all the things you need to think about when you want to coach a subordinate?
These are a few points to think about before the coaching actually takes place and there are many more check points around the whole process.
And what else is going through your mind when you think about coaching?
Making things confusing, adding the risk of making mistakes, and making it awkward to fit into the daily routine, or even the imagination of not being able to deal with situation are good reasons for any person not put something off and not do it.
For many corporations coaching is on the agenda, however. It has been communicated, taught, and it is expected. But for managers starting out, wanting to look smart, make an impact, and get coaching right, coaching becomes a task that is put off easily for tasks that are safer to do.
Here is a lower entry point to coaching. This is a level at which anybody can get started tomorrow, without a coaching training, without a huge amount of preparation and planning, with no risk for failure. You simply start with your E.A.R.S.™.
Of course you need your ears for coaching. You know that coaching is about asking questions and it is the answers that will fill your ears, and listening becomes a skill to develop. But that may already a step higher.
E.A.R.S.™ gives you four simple steps that you can apply to any person, subordinate, or even a peer. It has a conversational character with a coaching approach. It moves people because it helps them to get clarity and intention for their actions.
E – Explore the Expectations. Anybody has expectations; in fact, all actions people take, they take out of the expectations to get an outcome. If people are clearer about their expectations, their actions become more deliberate, distinct and passionate. These are things that are much appreciated in business, because they increase the chances for success. A short conversation with your subordinate before their important meeting will sharpen their focus on what they expect and have their mind prepared to deliver their best performance.
A – Attend and Appreciate. The biggest value you can bring to your team is showing up and showing appreciation for their work. How difficult can that be? Even if your mind is busy and your calendar is crowded, showing up and attending a meeting that your subordinate considers important increases the chances of success for that meeting. And all you need to do is to appreciate the way the team has been working, collaborating, interacting, and focusing on results during the meeting. You don’t even need to judge anything or anybody, because you know nothing is perfect at the beginning. Make sure you have things to appreciate. Share more detail than just saying ‘good job’. Prepare and think first and detail, what was good, what made it good, why was it good, and if they wanted the same result again, what should they be doing more?
R – Repeat and Reflect. After the meeting you have the opportunity to repeat the appreciation you have given one more time. Strengthen the actions that were good and repeat those moments that made a difference. People are always looking for more awareness and certainty about their strengths; and the stronger they become the more resilient they will be in the face of adverse situations.
You can also invite them to reflect on situations they felt they were not certain or not aware of in their actions and behavior. You may even offer some more facts from your observations to create more insight.
S – Share the Success. People don’t like to share and tell others about their own successes, but you can. This is especially important when you are their leader. In fact, sharing their successes in public makes your people see that you believe in them, and that you have trust in their skills, so why not do it while they are around and can hear you say it? Don’t wait until there is an official annual event, or a formal review, share their success as much as you can. Focus on certain actions or behaviors that you observed and that you consider having a specific impact on the outcome. This way you are gradually leading your team to copy successful behaviors, creating a culture of learning and performance.
As you see, E.A.R.S.™ doesn’t require any preparation, you don’t need any specific coaching skills, and it can be done with very little planning and time effort. The benefits to your team are a focus on behaviors and actions that lead to successes, and results. That increases your team’s engagement leading to better results. And that is what you are most interested to show.
All the best in leading your team to success!
Find out more about Colin Luthardt, an Accredited Certified Coach with international coaching experience and international keynote speaker. Colin has studied Strategic Intervention at the Robbins-Madanes-Training center. He is the author of Speaking theLanguage of Leadership that is available on Amazon. This true story is about a group of good managers that increased their efficiency by nearly 50% by becoming great leaders.
He owns the concept of Its Four Sides® of Leadership, which is specifically suitable for managers who want to develop their effectiveness focusing on leadership issues that matter and changing their communication rather than their personality.
E.A.R.S.™ is a trademarked method by Colin Luthardt