Coaching is intentional. It is seeking out daily opportunities for interacting with employees, with managers.
Coaching in business is much like sports:
1. You have to attract the right players. We all know the cost of a bad hire. It's easy to hire people and it's difficult to let them go. It's like a marriage. It's easy to get married but hard to get divorced.
2. When they're in the door, give them the training they need. They need to know your rules, why you're in business, what you stand for, what your brand is. Practice and coach from the sidelines before you put them in the game.
A huge key to retention: what you do every day and the relationship between you and your people.
If you coach well, it shows up in the numbers, lower turnover, and higher customer satisfaction. Energized, satisfied employees are happy to work there and the customers know it.
There are many curves in your industry. There are many things out of your control. What's in your control is how you treat your people.
You need to give people a new opportunity to show you what they can do every day.
50% of world/life satisfaction is determined by the relationship a worker has with his or her boss, according to the Saratoga Institute.
We spend so much time at work that it really correlates to life satisfaction.
The top three reasons people leave their jobs:
1. Their relationship with their manager.
2. Lack of meaningful work. Not that it has to fulfill our life calling. But there must be some element of meaning and purpose in work. If you can find what they're passionate about, you find how to nurture them. Do they love interactions with your customers? Let them interact with your customers.
3. Lack of opportunities for growth and development. Let them know your training opportunities and ways to advance. Give them whatever opportunities you can to keep them.
A coach's winning game plan:
1. Create an environment that fosters trust. They can go to you with ideas, with issues.
Get to know your people on a level beyond the surface. Know their kids' names, who they are outside the job, what motivates them. Do this in an informal way.
Share your dream. Who are you and what do you stand for? Be consistent with your expectations, practices, and principles. Play by the same rules that govern others. Don't choose favorites. Don't have one set of rules for managers and another for employees. Don't pit people against each other.
Be honest about what you can do and not do.
Manage your morals. On any given day, you can be up or down. They're dancing around you. Employees are taking their cues from you. You'll have bad days. But how you screen that is important. Find a trusted colleague you can talk to about your day but don't download on employees.
Create a blame-free environment. Don't get caught in the middle of triangles where "he said" and "she said."
Provide support without removing responsibility. It's a fine line to draw. Our workforce has complex lines.
Show confidence in them. They want someone to notice they're doing a good job.
Run interference and remove barriers for them if you can.
2. Communicate a clear direction and purpose.
Here's where we're going.
Here's why it's important.
Here's how we're going to get there.
Here's your job in getting us there.
People want to be part of a larger game. Is it to be the best in customer service? Is it to win the World Series? What is your vision? Do your front-line employees know? Most of the time they don't.
Share the rules of the game. State specific expectations and targets. If you don't let them know the guidelines, they'll fill in with their own rules. They can play within the rules as long as they know them. Include this in the interview process: be very, very clear about what you expect.
3. Develop players
Prepare your people for what's coming. A great coach understands
the levels of employees:
a) Rookies. Provide them a safe environment and training. No question is too basic. They have to feel safe. Pair them with the best mentor. Build in time for regular feedback. Start with a lot and ease up as your go along. Ask them: what do you still feel uncomfortable about? What are you concerned about doing the first time? Listen to their ideas. Instill confidence. Build in accountability.
b) Solid Contributors. 70% of people are in this category. They're not superstars They're not ready to fire. They're often overlooked. You need to give them frequent and accurate performance feedback. You need to hold them accountable to goals. Recognize the areas they do well. Hook them up with superstars for training. But don't overtax your superstars. Ask their opinion on job-related matters. They have ideas. Catch them doing good things. Find out what they like most about working. They're working, they're showing up. Ask them. I bet you'll be surprised.
c) Superstars. This is approximately 10% of your workforce. Ask them for ideas and then do something with them. Engage them. Have them help you problem-solve. Delegate to them whenever possible. The worst thing in management is to hold on to all responsibility. You get stressed and they get no chance to grow. Let them know how they contribute to the team. Be very specific. Encourage them to mentor and train others.
d) Falling Stars. Ask yourself the following questions: have I given them adequate training to do the job? Have I made my expectations clear? Do they understand why it's important to do the job correctly? Am I holding them accountable for performance? Your job is to raise the bottom, not lower the top. If you don't deal with it, morale goes down and performance goes down. Hold people accountable for negative behavior and performance. Do it sooner rather than later. When you meet with them, know the facts and state them clearly in the conversation. Let them know specifically and upfront why you are talking to them. Point out the gap between expectations and performance. Share the impact of their performance on customers and on their team. Don't allow them to divert attention away from themselves. Bring it back to them by saying "I'm talking about you today." State the consequences if things don't change. Request an action plan in writing. Ask them "Do I have your commitment to change?" Look them in their eye. They need to be able to say at least a grudging "yes". If they say "no," that's their answer. They're out of there.
4. Provide your players with feedback and recognition.
Let people know their contributions are important and valued. Know your people. What do they want? Public recognition? A note? Recognition at a sales meeting? Be specific about what they did and the effects of their actions on the organization.
It's the things you do consistently over time that make the difference.
A lot of this is common sense. But it's not common practice.
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