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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Everyday Coaching, Part IV: Tips for Effective Coaching

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

This is the last of a four-part series on Coaching. In the last three sessions, posted over the last three days, I've covered:

Part I. Coaching -- Definition, Purpose and Application
Part II. Situational Coaching
Part III. Ongoing Coaching

Today, in Part IV, we'll cover coaching tips that haven't already been touched on previously:

1. Triangulate: When you're coaching for behavior modification with one of your team, think about there being three entities in the conversation: you, the team member and the activity or action being discussed. Then, it's not personal. And when discussing that third "entity", think about behaviors and not characteristics -- "separating the act from the actor" -- (e.g. "There appears to be an issue with tardiness here" instead of "You keep coming in late to work").

2. Let them know what's acceptable and what's not: Be very specific when you explain what activity is not working out and what you want to see instead. Help your person clearly picture "bad" and "good"; for example: outbursts at the customers = bad and a smile and bright attitude = good.

3. Do you have a role to play in the problem? Did your team member have a clear understanding of what was expected? Did you expect him or her to read your mind? What could you have done to ensure this problem never happened and surely doesn't happen in the future?

4. Feedback is a gift and if you're not providing it constructively, you're withholding the gift.

5. There's more than one way to skin a cat: Just because it's not necessarily the way you would have completed the task or duty, doesn't mean that it wasn't an acceptable way. If your people get the job done right, then that should be ok.

6. Success breeds success so don't dump all the changes you want made on the person all at once. Start off small or manageable and give your team member the chance to succeed. He or she should like it and feed off it for greater success in the future.

OK, so that's about it for me and my thoughts on coaching. Thanks again to Drs. Frankel and Otazo for their great insights.

REMEMBER: Coaching and Constructive Feedback can be impressive tools in a leader's arsenal and should be used regulary and consistently to help your entire team improve and flourish.

Good luck and Good Coaching.

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