Coach to Take the Gold: 5 Workplace Coaching Practices that Give You the Performance Edge
With increased competition for resources, labor and market share, organizations are racing to find, develop and retain the best talent. Leading companies know that winning takes smart, dedicated people who are willing and able to work hard and work smart.
So how does your organization cross the finish line first?
The good news is, you don’t have to rely on innate athleticism or superhuman talent. In fact, every organization has what it takes to build a winning edge. You just have to create the workplace environment that unleashes it. And that means you have to focus on developing and encouraging leaders to coach.
A coaching culture will give your organization the advantage it needs to achieve its maximum potential and rise above the rest: skills will improve at every level, employees will be engaged, the pipeline will grow and overall business results will improve.
Getting Intentional About Building a Coaching Culture
A workplace coaching culture doesn’t just happen, though. You have to get intentional to make sure the right approach and skills are developed—and this is just as much about your leaders and managers as it is about the employees they’re coaching. A study by Bersin & Associates found that the organizations that effectively prepare managers to coach are 130% more likely to realize stronger business results.
The simple reality is, if you want to help your organization reach or even surpass its business goals and win the performance race, you need to equip your leaders with the right coaching skills, process and attitude to foster a safe, positive environment that encourages growth and constructive communication.
Here are 5 workplace coaching practices you should focus on with your leaders to create a coaching culture that delivers next-level results:
- Ask open-ended questions about goals and challenges.
Instead of asking yes or no questions or discussing baseline expectations, effective coaches engage employees by asking questions to really get to know them and their plans for the future. Employees who believe their leaders care about their potential will have the confidence and make the effort to improve their performance.
- Give constructive feedback on a regular basis.
Frequently giving feedback to employees lets them know how they are doing in the moment. Building good habits and overcoming challenges will only happen if leaders are willing to consistently communicate with their teams.
- Ensure employees know that you are listening.
Building trust is essential for helping employees and the business succeed. Employees who are struggling with a task or have ideas for improvement will only come forward if they know their voice matters.
- Recognize and praise employees when they improve and when they go “above and beyond.”
Put another way, leaders should be reinforcing the behaviors and skills they want to see because that’s what makes people more likely to continue doing them. When leaders give employees the recognition they deserve, it encourages them to keep branching out and trying new things. And note that this isn’t something that should just be reserved for a scheduled performance review. The most effective coaches are the ones who coach and praise “in the moment.”
- Believe employees can grow and improve.
This is one of the most important coaching practices—and often the single factor that separates the winning coaches from all the rest. Leaders who believe mediocrity is all an employee is capable of will create or reinforce a barrier that the employee won’t be able to break through. By the same token, leaders who believe their employees have greater potential will unleash that belief in their employees as well. It signals to the employees that the leader values them and sees the possibility within them, so they strive to match that level of success.
Winning in today’s challenging business environment starts with an organizational commitment and ecosystem that support coaching. Get intentional about integrating a workplace coaching culture, because once you unleash the ability, energy and focus for every employee, you’ll increase productivity, reduce turnover and gain a competitive foothold that will be hard to beat.