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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Everyday Coaching, Part I: Definition, Purpose, and Application

Part of my 5-part series on coaching: Intro, Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV

As we discuss coaching, we need to frame up the topic because it can be pretty broad. There are lots of different types of coaching -- sports coaching, personal coaching, life coaching, performance coaching, etc. In the case of this series on coaching, we're talking about leaders coaching their people at work.

So in that regard, what is coaching? Coaching is a training method used to help an individual or individuals reach a goal. First, the goal has to be set and then the individual(s) being coached need to understand what the goal is.

What results do you want from coaching your work team? We can talk about improved work performance and stuff like that, but what it really boils down to is getting your people to reach the goals you set (hopefully, that you and your team set together) and to reach them consistently. That means that your team does the right things whether you're present or not and they perform them in a positive manner.

Well, is coaching always the answer to get your people to perform the way you want? Drs. Frankel and Otazo pose a wonderful question in this regard:

"Could this employee do the job if his or her life depended on it?"

If the answer is "no", then you need to train your employee.

If the answer is "yes", then someone has an attitude problem and coaching might be a great way to help fix that problem.

So how do you know which it is? Well, duh, you talk to your people. You can find out what's going on with your people and it doesn't have to be awkward. More on that in Part III.

Look for Part II, Situational Coaching, coming up soon.

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