Are you a good coach? Have you asked yourself that lately? Have you asked it of someone else? Legendary basketball coach John Wooden would argue that “you haven’t taught until they have learned”. In fact he felt so strongly about that very fact he wrote a book with that phrase as the title.
There are mistakes that managers/coaches make creating cracks in the foundation that can adversely impact the coaching process before it begins, starting with:
- A mindset that personal conversations are a waste of time. Nothing could be further from the truth; employees report that managers who invest in them as people are far more engaged that those who have managers who don’t. Conversation sets the stage for coaching.
- Feedback is a problem. In a recent poll, a whopping 60% of employees report receiving no feedback to feedback that is not meaningful or helpful. Part of this is tied to the fact that many leaders avoid difficult conversations. Avoiding painful topics could fill several Tuesday Tips – but, in short, we set the stage for failure by naming it ‘difficult conversation’. That sets the limbic brain in motion for fight, flight, freeze or appease – reframe the feedback as an ‘important conversation’. There is a difference.
- Distractions/Cancel 1-1 meetings. Studies show managers who meet regularly with their employees are 3 to 4 times more engaged than those who don’t. Why – see all of the above. Regular meetings create regular conversations. And, hopefully deeper conversations where relationships are built – important conversations are more fluid. Distractions are a prime complaint of employees. Managers who ‘are not listening’ but pretending to, are distracted by whatever is tugging on them, create a problem. Unfortunately some of this distraction takes the form of managers talking about themselves too much. Talking about oneself is pleasing to your own brain, yet a formula for communication breakdown.
All of the above can be managed. It begins, as most things do, with self-awareness.
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