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Coaching is such a key part of leadership and management. In the first part, we discussed coaching oversight, overcoming fears, imposing rest, knowing your team members, and guiding and protecting. In this article, we’ll discuss developing performance, team-building and rewards of coaching.
Let’s get into it.
When you have a team member who absolutely nails an assignment or their role, the challenge becomes not dwelling on their success. This leads to complacency. Those who are excelling often need guidance, rest, change or a new challenge to continue developing their skills while maintaining peak performance. Adding in more learning opportunities for them will be invaluable. Try to support them with outside (or internal if the company is large enough) mentors in their particular field to add to their learning and development. Give them more responsibility—maybe try to induce some leadership opportunities.
Remember, not everyone wants to manage or lead. Some employees may just be great worker bees and that’s fine to just help them personally develop. Having at least twice-yearly reviews is great for helping to develop performance and a plan for furthering learning.
On the other side of the performance curve, there is the fact that not everyone you hire is going to be a good fit, especially on high-growth teams. Some can’t cope with the pressure, some can’t adapt to new demands and others may simply not gel with the team. From my experience, eight is the ideal number of team members or direct reports. It’s a number the military uses to great effect (a section in Infantry terminology).
With much larger teams, there is more likely to be at least one divisive person. While they may be great at what they do, they do so at the expense of the rest of the team. People like this need to be let free and released from the company into something that’s a better fit for them. Firing people or having people leave is always tough but it’s normal. A great coach focuses on pulling the team back together, restoring confidence, implementing any lessons from the experience and getting back to the fun of hitting it out of the park.
Pulling the team together is where team building comes into play — knowing your team members, imposing rest, alleviating fears, guiding, protecting and adding in some fun. After all, all work and no play make a sad day. Covid-19 has forced teams to take precautions and limit meeting together, but we can get back to the meeting and convening — whatever that looks like for your team. Crafting opportunities for co-workers to connect outside of work-related projects is a great way to enhance team building, momentum and overall success. Team building can happen anywhere your team can interact with one another and banter about anything other than work. Like all the aspects of coaching, team building is a key to performance.
Who doesn’t like to be rewarded for what they do? Unfortunately, the culture today is more about reward first than the task. I come from the old school of reward when something is done well, but do not over-praise so that praise becomes nothing. Be fair and honest. Advise if something is not done well and tell people when they have hit it out of the park. Rewards aren’t only monetary, it can be more time off, a promotion, a gift, equity in the company, a better parking spot or even just plain simple praise to the rest of the group.
In summary, what works for one employee may not work for others. The keys to coaching are to listen to yourself and to the person and people you are coaching; to build a plan that suits them; and to then be open to learning and adapting along the way without forgetting an element of run and reward. Targets can help guide you, but never be afraid to just have the courage to begin on a journey. No one is perfect and that’s just fine. Good luck and enjoy.