Coaching For New Team Leaders
Finding Your Starting Point
If you lead a group of people, you clearly understand the many demands of your time. Most managers will find they spend the majority of their time reacting to the issues of the day, mainly people issues. If you could only find a way to reduce these issues so you could spend more time on building the team and producing the results that your managers expects out of you. In comes the idea of Coaching!! Learn some basic coaching skills and you will discover just how impactful it can be in your results.
Why Do I Need To Coach?
One of the most common questions we hear from new leaders is why do i need to coach team members when it is just so much easier to just tell them what to do? When we get to the point where we understand the process and benefits of coaching that answer becomes clear.
Coaching is a process that fills the needs and desire our team members have. The easiest way to understand this is to think of yourself. Do you desire to have your manager spend some dedicated time with you, providing feedback on your performance and listening to what you are working on and where you want to do in the organization? Most of us do. It makes you feel important when someone spends that kind of time. It gives you clarity around how you are performing and where you can focus on to improve. No different than those that you lead. To show your team members you care about them, you spend time with them.
What do your team members need?
As mentioned above, your team members really have the same needs and desires that you have. Specifically, the need for Significance, Community, and Contribution.
The need for Significance simply means that we do not want to get 'lost' in a sea of others. I do not want to start and end my day feeling like no one really cares about me as a person, only that I comply with the specific requirements you have placed on me as an employee. Coaching fills the significance need simply by taking dedicated time to have meaningful conversations. Meaningful does not mean it has to be just about policies and procedures, but maybe more about me and how I am performing. And better yet, what I think I can do to improve.
Community simply refers to being part of a larger group, a feeling that I belong. We can accomplish filling this need with activities such as team meetings and team building events. It can also be accomplished by team goals. When I get together with others and learn new skills or create monthly goals, I feel that I am now part of this community that has a common goal or objective.
And finally Contribution. How does what I do every day help you as the manager, and the organization, accomplish the goals and objectives you have? Coaching fills this need by providing effective and timely feedback. "Great job", or "remember to smile when we are speaking to a customer". Simple conversations between you as my manager and me that tell me just how I am doing. And then sit down with me once in a while to provide me with specifics, like what are customers saying about 'my' performance.
How Do I Begin To Coach?
When you first begin to learn about Coaching, it can be overwhelming. At the heart of coaching is the ability to ask deep, insightful questions questions that help the team member discover the best answer or direction on their own. But that is not an easy skill to learn, it takes time. In our Coaching program we begin simply with the process of providing feedback. We use the 'SBI' model which simply means take them back to the Situation, walk them through the observed Behavior, and then discuss the Impact. Simple right? But we do not just provide feedback when someone does something wrong!!! We need a healthy balance of positive feedback. We actually want to provide twice as much positive feedback as negative or 'constructive' feedback. So this is a learned skill to train our brain to look for positive behavior as well.
Later in your development you will learn about what we call Development Coaching. This is simply meaningful conversations we have with team members that that we ask great questions, and allow them to do most of the talking as well as problem solving.
So as a newer leader of a team, I want to encourage you to start learning about Coaching Skills. Begin with simply making it a point to tell people on your team about how they are performing. Find those great performances and simply share your observations with the entire team.