7 Step Process For Coaching Your Team to Success

When providing guidance to our team members, it is imperative that we take the time to develop the people who make up our talent pool. As leaders, we need to see beyond their current skill set and help them reach for greater possibilities. When you invest in building your team members, you are investing in your company’s future growth.

That’s why as leaders, we need to have a process in place for coaching our team members to increase their performance and reach their goals. Using a process allows us to obtain consistent results for all members of our team, yet gives us a framework to make small adjustments to accommodate individual characteristics.

Here are seven steps to a coaching process for building your individual team members.

1. Identify Opportunities

The first step of the coaching process is to identify the coaching opportunity. Typically, this opportunity may be through one of three different paths:

  • A colleague identifies an opportunity in another person

  • The person identifies an opportunity for himself or herself

  • A customer, vendor or other outsider identifies an opportunity

These different opportunities may come from taking on a new job or project that requires a new skill, come out of performance reviews, be identified after a mistake occurs, etc.

Regardless of the source of the opportunity, you should assess its coachability. For instance, you cannot coach a process, only the people involved in the process.

Multiple opportunities may arise, and prioritizing becomes essential or you may consider multiple people for the diverse new needs. You must make a commitment with a specific result before coaching can take to insure the best outcome.

2. Picture The “Should Be”

Once you have identified the opportunity, take the time and pinpoint what the situation will be like when your team member has bridged the gap. Most managers skip this step, resulting in confusion, misunderstandings, and frustration for everyone involved.

When considering the “Should be”, create an actual picture that is framed in the present. Make sure that you associate action with each step, define the behavior requiring improvement, and identify the gap between what the person is doing and what they should be doing.

In this step, you provide all of the necessary information ahead of time, so that everyone involved feels like success is attainable.

3. Establish the Right Attitudes

When you work with others, you must ensure that all parties have the right attitude for success. You should begin every coaching opportunity by assessing and encouraging a positive learning attitude. The person you are going to coach should believe that he or she can change, is coachable, and isn’t resentful of the situation. The person must be able to see what is in it for them to be motivated to success. Otherwise, they will see your activity as an attempt to manipulate them to attain an outcome.

We also know that our attitude as the coach is equally important. If the coach does not have a positive attitude, it is unlikely that our team member will succeed. People will live up or down to our expectations; thus we must aim high and support the people we plan on coaching.

In coaching upward, motivation may be different on the part of the person coached. It usually requires more selling and subtlety on the part of the coach as well. It is a good opportunity to practice Dale Carnegie’s Human Relations Principles.

4. Provide Resources

In order for a coaching process to be successful, the appropriate resources must be available. This includes time and most importantly, a personal commitment to succeed by everyone involved. Other resources may include money, equipment, training, knowledge, information, and upper level buy-in and support.

Ensure that the appropriate resources are in place and available. Over promising and failing to deliver causes frustration for everyone involved. This type of behavior can make everyone feel like they were set up to fail leading to an atmosphere of mistrust.

5. Practice Skill Development

Once the resources are in place and the skill has been explained and demonstrated, it is time for our people to practice and apply what they have learned.

In order for knowledge to evolve into a skill, our people must practice it and perfect the skill with the help of a coach who ensures that they are practicing the correct skill. Practice also allows the coach to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement while witnessing the skill in real time.

We must always coach to ensure that our team members will welcome our perspective and learn from our observations as opposed to being defensive from our comments.

6. Reinforce Progress

Reinforcement is a critical part of the coaching process. It can come in the form of positive and negative words, gestures, and even silence.

When coaching others, it is important to provide feedback in a way that is sincere and allows the other person to hear what you are saying. You might think that all positive feedback is acceptable. However, if feedback is shallow or meaningless, it probably will not have the desired effect.

Likewise, negative feedback can cause the recipient to shutdown and not learn from our observations. Careful and sincere wording and congruent body language are essential to good communication.

Another aspect of reinforcement should be establishing and communicating a measurement system that will enable some degree of self-motivation and management. You should to this in a manner that is motivating and not manipulative. People stand a better chance of succeeding when they sincerely want to grow. A commitment such as this will create the best result. Proper reinforcement will also build in an accountability and follow-up aspect that will increase the chances of success.

7. Reward

Recognition and reward can be one of the most difficult things we do, especially in the workplace. In order to reward people, not only must you recognize their accomplishments, but you must also be comfortable verbalizing recognition.

In order to recognize your people, begin by conditioning yourselves to look for the positive in your people and become comfortable expressing appreciation. Once you begin recognizing the strengths in others, they will be motivated to do a better job and get more recognition. This creates an atmosphere of constant improvement reinforced with positive results.

Larry Prevost
Dale Carnegie Instructor, Social Media Evangelist
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