A leadership tactic that can inspire employees to give their best

August 1, 2014

Coaching Chalkboard[1]

By Connie Sue Centrella

Empowering employees in today’s business world requires a new dynamic in leadership. One way high-performing companies are accomplishing this is by adopting a business strategy that has been used for centuries in sports—coaching.

What does a coach look like? A coach is a lot like a teacher, a person who imparts knowledge and gives instruction. They look a lot like a trainer; someone who can inspire others to be the best they can be and give the best for the team. More businesses are putting coaching methods to work to inspire their employees to meet and exceed their potential. This article provides an overview of coaching as a new leadership style that is gaining popularity with businesses of all sizes and types.

Empowering new generations of employees requires a systematic approach to achieving productivity. That said, coaching is becoming the preferred leadership style for people managers and supervisors. It is more effective than previously used autocratic leadership styles, which include command functioning tactics of fear and intimidation to motivate employees. Today’s workers are motivated by encouragement, by being heard, and by positive feedback. In the same respect, today’s coaches back their employees both mentally and physically to inspire creativity, diversity of thinking, and responsibility.

The term boss has been redefined. Leader supremacy is outdated and ineffective. Achieving positive performance through a system of coaching opens the door to learning and is based on personalized, individual goals, constructive reinforcement, continuous feedback, and listening. These performance dynamics generate an increase in employee self-esteem and respect, while also creating a positive work culture.

Sustainable business growth does not come from managerial strategies such as cutting costs through layoffs, promotion freezes, or even a reduction in employee education and training. The overall success of any business is through a strong direct relationship between leadership and employees who understand the company’s goals and future strategies. Changing management techniques to a coaching model is a progressive and sensible business strategy.

The coaching model

Today’s coaches will practice management by walking around, spending one-on-one time with the employee whereby showing them they are an individual who is valued. The coaching model is organized in three areas: behavioural, procedural, and structural.

Behavioural: How employees can improve their skills related to their individual performance development

A leadership coach continually interacts with the employee to guide and restructure their behaviour patterns. They continually suggest new ways to obtain the desired behavioral changes to avoid repeating the same errors in their work performance. By constantly mentoring, the coach can reach an agreement with the employee as to how to accomplish a task in an effective and efficient way. Including the individual employee in establishing their specific goals inspires them to do better. The coach becomes the mentor, inspiring the employee to understand the vision of the company through individual assessments.

Procedural: How the employee meets his/her goals

A leadership coach meets with the employee one-on-one to discuss the processes and procedures necessary to meet the desired result. Guidelines are discussed and negotiated for sales quotas, profits to be generated, and in the field (e.g. the most efficient way to build a pool, install new equipment, as well as any corrective actions identified to improve performance).

Structural: How employees affect the organization’s goals

A leadership coach reminds the employee of the company’s overall business strategy. When employees understand the end result of their efforts and how their individual role contributes to the company’s success, a positive performance is the result.

Six elements for coaching employees to success

The key element to effective coaching is the ability to receive and provide feedback[2].

  1. State what is observed. Coaches must avoid arguments and offer specific examples of the employee’s performance, through open-minded, positive observation.
  2. Describe feelings about performance. Coaches will reduce defensiveness by providing personal feedback on how the employee can better focus on how to improve on poor performance.
  3. Explain the impact of the performance. Coaches should remind employees of the impact their actions have on the entire organization as well as their own performance.
  4. Solicit understanding and agreement of their commitment. Coaches should discuss the employee’s understanding of why they need to successfully complete their duties.
  5. Make suggestions on improvement. The role of the coach is to provide suggestions or demonstrate the task so the employee understands the procedures. The coach should offer tools and counselling to improve performance.
  6. Reinforce. The coach should reassure the employee that they are available at all times for support.

Effective leadership coaching can be implemented in any organization. Successful organizations are beginning to realize the traditional role of leader supremacy is not only outdated, it is ineffective. The new leader-employee partnerships are producing enthusiasm and commitment generating a highly productive organization. Human nature resists change. A manager’s ability to coach employees is paramount in achieving productivity.

Coaching employees is both an art and a science. Today’s coaching managers are mentors of tomorrow’s leaders. Together, they create a team of employees who are inspired to meet not only their individual goals, but achieve the company vision.

 

 

Centrella_HeadshotConnie Gibson Centrella, MBA, is a professor and program director for the online Aquatic Engineering Degree Program at Keiser University eCampus. She is also the director of education for Team Horner as well as a sustainability officer, having been certified in the principles of ‘green’ and sustainable business practices. Centrella, an industry veteran with more than 40 years of experience in the aquatics field, is a five-time recipient of the Evelyn C. Keiser Teaching Excellence Award ‘Instructor of Distinction.’ She is also a former pool builder with extensive knowledge in pool construction, equipment installation and manufacturing, and a National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) certified pool/spa operator instructor, having trained more than 1850 pool service technicians, retailers and instructors worldwide in the past 10 years.

Endnotes:
  1. [Image]: http://poolspamarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/bigstock-Coaching-C202C89C.jpg
  2. provide feedback: http://www.robertwlucas.com/pdf/EFFECTIVE%20FEEDBACK%20SKILLS.pdf

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