by Philip Nucleus Sia I
When you hear the word coaching, what probably comes to mind is the idea of telling people what they need to do, like in a basketball team’s huddle. So when you take on a role in the corporate world that requires leading people, you’d probably see it normal that bosses would do the same. While it is true that you sometimes need to give instructions to people, there is more to it than just that. Let us learn and see what other things comprise the recipe for good coaching so we can be more influential in leading people.
Coaching involves building a relationship. As a pre-requisite to coaching, it is important that you know who you will coach. Knowing their personality will help you choose the right words and the motivational points that will influence the person. While you do not need to know every minute detail about the person to achieve this, you have to learn about the reasons that your employee is working with you. Every person has a dream or a goal, albeit some are not aware how they can achieve them. As a leader, you have the power to help the person realize those goals by guiding them. Let them see how their actions now can help them get to those goals. When doing your coaching, you can connect their personal goals to the tasks they need to do. This provides them with the inspiration to work on tasks with less supervision. In a country like the Philippines, where we value the concept of “pakisama” (getting along with others) very much, being a leader requires that you know who you are working with in order to be effective. So go talk to your direct reports about personal matters, say hi to them every day. Thank them for coming to work. Ask them about how their family members are doing. It isn’t prying into their privacy. It is learning more about them so you would know how to help them.
Coaching requires listening. While it can be tempting to be the one talking during your coaching session, it woulld be great to show your employees that you can listen. You have probably experienced at a certain point working with a manager who only gives orders. How does it make you feel? Does his actions positively influence how you work? Does it inspire you? Needless to say, very few people would like someone who does not listen. When you listen, not only do you encourage the person to see you positively, it also allows you to filter between excuses and real reasons. Ask questions to solicit a conversation. Let the person tell you what happened based on their perspective. This will allow the person to think through and reflect on their own mistakes. Not all questions are good however so you have to be cautious about what you ask. Questions that assume that the employee is at fault may result to further damage such as, “Why didn’t you do anything about it?” Questions that start with “Why” generally encourage a defensive behaviour so stay away from questions like those — use What, Where, When, and How. Questions such as, “What happened?” “Where do you think you can make a difference?” or “How could you have helped the situation?” are very powerful questions that allow your employees to reflect. Encouraging this kind of reflective thinking helps people get out of their learned helplessness, which may minimize your supervising work later on. It is important to ask questions that are blame-free and neutral.
Coaching must have a call for action. After each of the coaching sessions, it is important that we ask the person what they will do if they are faced with a similar situation. This allows you to check what learning they got from your coaching. This also provides them with accountability and ownership for their promised solution. If the action solely came from the leader, employees may be impartial about the required action thereby resulting to a lower level of commitment. This commitment increases when the leader knows how to solicit an action item coming from the employee themselves. Sometimes, when employees could not come up with solutions, it is important for a leader to guide the employees through a series questions. Your ability to do this will help improve your scope of influence among your direct reports.
If you would like to learn more about how you can be a more effective coach to your direct reports, or if you would like to learn the art of asking questions that will guide your employees, you may attend our workshop on coaching. We also offer in-house workshops. Please contact us through (02) 433 3342 or (+63) 998 562 49 85.