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Tagged: employee performance

Good Coaches Should Inform, Not Condescend

August 24, 2017

Managers and directors must be good coaches. The very nature of managing a staff team requires those in charge to make individuals within the team more skilled, smarter, and happier due to career satisfaction. Unfortunately, some managers fail to handle teaching moments with grace and sensitivity, and leave their employees feeling like a failed performer, rather than a valuable member of the team.

The reality is that high performers often rise to positions of management, and these same individuals sometimes lack the soft skills necessary to be a good coach. In a sense, they need to be coached on how to be a good coach. Coaching is a difficult skill that requires a sense of compassion, awareness, critical thinking and creativity. Simply put, a good coach should build employees up, rather than breaking them down. Here are some approaches managers should keep in mind when coaching opportunities arise:

Solution-Oriented Discussions

Every good discussion between management and staff should focus on a common goal that is desirable for both parties. Establishing a common desire and end goal helps align thinking and shifts the conversation in a way that is collaborative for the employee. This collaboration empowers employees to feel like partners in their own success, as well as the company’s. 

Inviting Employee Feedback

By creating a collaborative environment, managers create opportunities for employees to share experiences and opinions the managers might not otherwise see. Often, employees feel forced to tell white lies out of fear of sounding like they have bad attitudes. When there are legitimate issues with business processes or approaches, employees are often afraid to point them out due to fear of appearing to make excuses. When this happens, management misses out on key learning moments that might be holding the company back. It’s incredibly important for employees to feel comfortable expressing dissatisfaction with certain processes in place so that managers hear about blind spots they might not independently identify.

Specific Actions Instead of Vague Ideas

A good coach should always focus on specific actions employees can take to improve. Without clear directions, employees leave constructive feedback meetings with anxiety and agitation, rather than clarity and purpose. The more specific a manager can be, the more likely the employee will change behavior and feel confident in her/his actions.

A Pathway to Success, Rather Than Repercussions for Failure

When employees receive criticism, their big-picture concerns come to mind very quickly. They worry about job security, finances and the stability of their homes. Managers need to diffuse this sentiment by explaining how constructive feedback sets employees up for long term success. Instead of being concernedabout job security, employees should have confidence that their job security will be enhanced by coaching sessions. They should feel they can bring more value to the company and become a better, more important employee as a result.

Measurable, Small and Meaningful Goals Set by Coaches

Once employees feel comfortable and have specific actions they can take to improve, there should be a plan of action for them to gradually improve. Giving employees small, modest goals makes those improvements achievable and gives them something realistic to work toward. Coaches should explain how these small improvements are valuable, and follow up with praise when employees show concrete improvement.

When working with employees, managers should always give staff members the benefit of the doubt. People almost unanimously show up to work with the intention of performing well, and managers need to maintain this mindset, rather than doubting their team members. Business is highly personal, and points of constructive criticism are most effective when framed in the context of helping, rather than hurting, employees. Managers who do this well see low turnover, high performance and company culture that is built on a solid foundation of trust.

How Manager Development & Training Benefits Your Business

May 4, 2016

Professional development is an ongoing responsibility shared by both employees and their employers. However, managers and human resources personnel are often tied up in handling the paperwork of employment – hiring, firing, benefits, and grievances – leaving little bandwidth to focus on developing employees’ resources, talents, and career journeys.

Most businesses conduct some kind of periodic employee performance review, but miss the opportunities and advantages of structured follow-up and support. “Crisis” cases may get the attention they need, but middling and high-achieving employees can be left without a clear path forward to continued improvement.

Here’s the truth: Continued employee development can’t fall off the priority list.

manager development trainingThis is true for employees at all levels of the company, and especially relevant for managers. Managers are the cornerstones of a company’s internal culture. Their behavior, attitude, and ability to lead and nurture their team are directly correlated with employee satisfaction and engagement, which in turn influences the customer experience.

Off-the-shelf training materials and one-time leadership seminars are appetizers at best. Unfortunately, they won’t fill you up, and the effects tend not to last once employees are immersed back in their day-to-day duties. There may be a temporary boost in morale, productivity, and performance, but without continued support and attention, it won’t be long before they slip back into their comfort zones until it’s time for their next review.

Manager development is manager empowerment.  

In order for managers to effectively lead, coach, and nurture their employees, they must be nurtured themselves. You wouldn’t expect someone who lives on fast food and soft drinks to suddenly get up and compete in the Tour de France. Likewise, without proper “nutrition,” managers lack the supportive structure to deliver their best performance.

manager development trainingCoaching and training are not just about learning and sharpening skills, they’re about empowering staff to excel in each and every position, to collaborate effectively as a team, and to effect positive change in the workplace.

Empowered managers and employees:

  • feel valued by their employers
  • enjoy coming to work each day
  • are genuinely invested in the success of the company
  • resist the distractions of workplace conflict and politicking
  • are unlikely to look for other jobs, and
  • regularly engage in proactive, positive behavior.

These attributes ripple out to all areas of job performance. Even customers will feel the effects: customer interactions tend to go more smoothly, and issues get resolved more easily, when employees feel empowered to take action.

Development starts with data.

Collecting and evaluating data is essential to measuring progress and determining the effectiveness of a development initiative. It’s the first step of CSP’s Manager Development Training solution, forming a baseline from which to move forward with a targeted coaching program.

manager development trainingData also allows CSP to customize each program to each business. Every customer service climate will differ, even between separate locations of the same business. Within those climates, customer expectations and needs will also vary, and thus the key drivers of satisfaction and success along with them. CSP uses each business’s data to illuminate what those key drivers are, and tailor the Manager Development Training program to empower managers and employees to have the optimal effect on those attributes.

Consistency creates accountability.

What these customized programs share in common is a consistent structure of ongoing support. Not only does CSP create a path forward toward organizational improvement, your team also benefits from our years of experience guiding companies through times of change. Obviously, we want the effects of this training to stick, so change management techniques are reinforced from the top down throughout the training process.

As the program takes shape, we supply materials, conduct workshops, and regularly check in to evaluate progress. This consistent, committed approach to development is critical. It’s unlikely that managers will slip back into their old ways when there are measures in place to hold them accountable. Without those measures, there’s always the risk that other priorities, responsibilities, deadlines and duties will wind up distracting their attention from their job performance. That’s why leadership books and seminars so often fade from memory before companies can see the benefits.

There’s also something to be said for third-party objectivity when it comes to in-house matters. Managers commonly fall victim to a type of tunnel vision when they can’t see beyond the walls of their own office. CSP has seen it all, and we capitalize on that 30,000-foot view of organizational management to help each business navigate its own journey forward.

To learn more about Manager Development & Training, contact CSP’s John Berigan by email or by calling 800.841.7954, ext. 101.

 

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