Coaching employees is an essential step in creating a positive work culture. Happy employees need opportunities for continuous improvement and a chance to thrive in their roles. Strong customer experience relies on good coaching and training, and managers themselves must work on improving their own skills as a good coach to ensure the success of their work environments.
In a productive work environment, managers find coaching opportunities in day-to-day interactions, looking for teachable moments to help employees improve the way they work. In addition, periodic reviews and one-on-one sessions create an important two-way dialogue between managers and employees to help create a mutually developed plan for improvement.
However, quarterly reviews and pats on the back aren’t enough to make lasting business improvements. Managers need to consider the category of feedback they give, and if they are coaching the holistic employee. An employee may be great in meetings with clients, but struggle internally to keep their work organized. A different employee may have incredible technical skills, but come off as abrasive during when interacting with colleagues. Coaching needs to cover different categories, and hitting these different categories of employee performance helps create a more complete business professional. Business professionals benefit from comprehensive coaching feedback and, consequently, continue to develop as high performers.
Often, technical learning falls on the side of training, rather than coaching. Employees work in a group setting to learn the skills needed to do their jobs well. Despite this, managers can help coach the overall learning experience. Good coaches should help their employees self-reflect by asking them what skills they excel at, which the struggle with and how the manager and employee can work together to create a work environment where everyone feels successful. Managers give perspective to technical learning by explaining its importance to the employee and placing it in the context of the business. Moreover, managers help point employees in the right direction of help and support to improve technical skills. If an employee wants more assistance, managers either have an opportunity to give instruction or find someone within the company who can provide the most useful instruction.
Employees need guidance on interpersonal skills, and this category is particularly important for coaching since it receives such little formal training. Mangers have years of experience and have worked with hundreds of professionals, so they tend to be able to identify an employee’s interpersonal strengths and weaknesses. When an employee’s interpersonal skills are strong, their ideas and contributions tend to shine because they know how to present their ideas in a digestible, constructive manner. When a manager coaches interpersonal skills across an organization, the business environment thrives and office cohesion results in great customer satisfaction.
Great product/service delivery relies on planning, revision, adjustment and time for contemplation. When an employee has time to do all of this, he or she can deliver the best work possible. The only way to have enough time for these different activities is through organizational skills. Great work requires advanced planning and building in time for unexpected requests. Unfortunately, organizational skills tend to be under-coached. Managers try not to micromanage their employees and want to show flexibility by acknowledging that individuals have their own methods of working. However, managers have career experience, and are required, by the managerial nature of the job title, to be highly organized. Coaches should give employees enough independence that they feel respected, but also offer suggestions for getting work done in a more efficient, organized way. Advice on how to organize calendars, block out individual days and stay abreast with many simultaneous tasks/projects is invaluable information for less-experienced employees.
Next time you consider the way you coach employees, think about the different topics you cover in your coaching sessions. How comprehensive is your coaching? Are you only covering specific technical skills in your coaching style, or are you cultivating the entire employee? Great service delivery requires great professionals, and professionals can’t be great unless they continuously improve a diverse set of technical, interpersonal and organizational skills. By evaluating their own coaching approaches, managers can accelerate the learning process for their employees and turn junior staff members into multi-talented professionals who will innovate and drive business.