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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Why Doesn't Coaching Work?

Coaching works. Sure it does, if it's done correctly. So why is it that so many managers say that they coach their people, but it doesn't seem to improve their performance more than for a short time? It appears that we need to explore whether or not we're coaching correctly. This post isn't about the mechanics of coaching, although you can find info about that right here.

We all have deadlines, don't we? We're expected to be more efficient and effective than ever before...get more done with less. Along with all our own tasks and duties we, as managers, have to help our people be better, too. It's all about continuous improvement, right?

We're told we need to shadow and coach our folks. Our answer is "we teach and coach our people LEAST twice a year...and since we only have to evaluate them once a year, that's twice as much as we're required to do." OKaaaaay. That's a problem. We often see coaching as an event instead of a process. We look at coaching as "See one, Do one, Teach one" and that leaves the CRITICAL component out: follow-up. Maybe we should modify that adage to "See one, Do one, Teach one, Follow-up regularly". I don't know. It just doesn't have a "ring" to it anymore.

It's true, however. Coaching often succeeds or fails based on our team members internalizing what we teach. One of the best ways to help our people integrate our teaching into their work habits is to make follow-up and feedback regular components of our group's schedule.

Yes, it in an investment on our part and we may have to realign priorities and scrutinize our task lists to ensure we're focusing on the right opportunities. I submit to you that regular coaching that includes follow-up and feedback are right opportunities.

Do you think coaching is all I've cracked it up to be? If so, how do you ensure it happens along with everything else you have to do?

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