Monday, January 02, 2017

Coaching -- The Secret Ingredient to Effective Leadership

A prerequisite for effective leadership is the ability to coach your employees. Don’t confuse coaching with mentoring. There is a subtle difference between coaching and mentoring.

Coaching means; To help improve performance by encouraging, motivating and directing others to achieve their goals.

Mentoring means; becoming a confidant – leading through the use of past examples and experience.

Coaching is the frontline to improved employee performance.

Mentoring is a skill required for selected employee long term development. We are going to focus on coaching in this article. Coaching is proven to work when these two factors are present. First, the employee is willing and wants to grow, second, there is a gap between where they are now and where they want to be.

These two basic factors are absolutely essential for you and the employee to solve problems, create a new life, and turn a business around, to increase sales and profitability, and design and implement a plan of action.

The Five Key Objectives of Coaching

1.Identifying the obstacles to success and helping the employee overcome them. Personal and professional success comes much more easily when you have a strong coach or mentor.

2.Better decisions are a result of the willingness to discuss ideas and concerns. Winners are always seeking feedback from others.

3.Expand the self imposed horizon and boundaries the employee has created for themselves

4.Setting individual goals and objectives

5.Identifying and working on individual weaknesses that can impede success

It’s about Leadership
Make no mistake, coaching and mentoring is about leadership. It is difficult to be a coach or a mentor without leadership skills. Coaching and mentoring is all about the development of others. It requires effective development activities and projects related to current and future performance expectations. It requires the unique ability to recognize potential skill and ability in others that is worthy of development. A good coach or mentor possesses an innate ability to motivate and inspire others to achieve stretch goals. They have the ability, the knowledge and the sensitivity to generate an adaptive style according to the individual and circumstances at hand earning respect and trust

Some of the key characteristics of coaches and mentors include the following:
Remember the old saying, “You will end up playing just like you practice”.

Development of Others:
•The ability to help employees determine the skills and abilities necessary for growth
•Recognizes potential for leadership
•Creates appropriate development plans
•Skilled at constructive feedback
•Avoids the role of enabler and holds people accountable
•Rewards and recognizes success

•Believes in the ability of employees and empowers them
•Provides opportunities for employees to develop
•Allows employees to take credit for success
•Provides guideline but does not get in their way

•Exceptional listening skills
•Maintains eye contact
•Takes notes
•Assures understanding by asking for clarifications
•Restates communication often to strengthen understanding of issue
•Uses servant style body language that is open and non threatening
•Speaks clearly and concisely
•Asks questions
•Maintains a positive attitude at all times

•Demonstrates high self esteem and regard for others
•Encouraging attitude and concern for individual feelings
•Acknowledges accomplishments
•Always talks positive about others
•Aware of his own limitations
•Motivating influence

Decision Making and Follow Through:
•Commits to a course of action
•Makes decisions openly
•Accepts responsibility
•Establishes priorities
•Sets completion dates with expected deliverables
•Anticipates needs and takes action
•Takes calculated risk but considers all aspects of the issue
•Develops alternative solutions
•Keeps appropriate people in the loop


Preparing for a formal coaching session is as critical as the actual coaching itself.

In spite Of how well you know the employee and how confident you are in your coaching abilities; preparation and practice determine how successful you will become. Coaching is not an easy task. People have different values, different principles and different life experiences. All these things combined and mixed with your company culture and work environment contribute to their response and performance on the job.

Conducting Successful Coaching Session Suggestions

•Prepared by determining your key objectives
•Put the employee at ease by being open and using positive body language.
•Define the reason for the discussion.
•Ask the employee how they feel about their progress.
•Express your concern about the area of performance you feel needs to be improved or discuss the area of performance that they excel in.

Coaching is a leadership skill. It applies to excellent performance, average performance and poor performance equally.

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