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Blog Post

How to Support Your Employees During Coaching

Amanda Sollman

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If your employees are participating in one of our training+coaching programs – whether that's Millennial Mastermind, Agribusiness Relationship Mastery Experience or The Thriving Leader – we offer leadership team members and/or managers the opportunity to participate in a short biweekly with our coach(es). The main purpose of these calls is to:

  1. Share what we're hearing from your employees. Now, this doesn't mean rat them out or tattle. Instead, it is an opportunity to share themes, successes or common frustrations that come up.
  2. Offer suggestions on how to support your team. Based on what we're hearing, we might have suggestions on how to best support individuals and groups throughout the coaching process and beyond.
  3. Make sure we're on the same page. In addition to sharing what we hear, we also want to know what you're seeing – and make sure that those things jive. If an employee is sharing success with us, but you don't see that, that's an opportunity for us to work together and address the disconnect.

These meetings are invaluable in the coaching process – they help you help your people more effectively. Because, while hiring a coach does give you a unique perspective that you might not get on your own, we can't be everywhere. If we're truly going to help each individual grow, it takes both a coach AND an effective internal leader(s).

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Helping your people be more successful

Not everyone has employees going through coaching with us, though (at least, not yet!), so I asked our coaches this question: "What advice would you give to managers on how to support your employees during coaching?"

Since this question applies whether you're working with an external coach – like our team – or you're focusing on internal coaching using managers and other leaders within the organization, you should be able to take this advice to heart regardless of your current situation.

Here's the advice our coaches offered up:

clearly communicate your expectations

We've stopped counting how many coaching clients we work with that have no idea what their company's business goals are or what their contribution to those goals should be. Especially when it comes to sales targets, volume goals, new business pitches, number of farm calls, etc. – traditional business key performance indicators (KPIs) – it is incredibly important that you communicate with your employees what your expectations are.

In our business, we commonly say, "Clarity + Certainty = Execution." If your employees aren't clear on what they're supposed to be accomplishing, you shouldn't be surprised when they aren't executing on the sales goals or customer relationship development you want. They must understand what you expect of them.

Be ready for everyone to need something different

All of the managers and organizational leaders we work with are busy. They're managing up and down the chain of command and, in many cases, they also have client or customer responsibilities. It can be easy to want to create a cookie cutter approach to professional development, in order to streamline the process and keep everything moving as efficiently as possible.

That won't work in a coaching program.

Each of your employees brings a unique set of strengths, skills, challenges and experiences to the table – which means the way you support Steve's career growth may not look the same as the way you support Jenny's. By working with their coach, though, you can come up with an individualized development plan for each person that outlines their goals and provides the tools they need to get there.

Ask what your employees are experiencing

The coaching experience is new to many people and may not be like any professional development they've gone through before. Ask your employees what they're working on with their coach and how you can help them reach their goals. Have a conversation regularly about what the employee is learning in coaching, and explore any new insights they might be gaining.

As an employee, it can be easy to feel like you're out on an island and that your manager doesn't care about what you're going through on a day-to-day basis (especially if it feels outside the traditional boundaries of "work" and "personal" life). By showing genuine interest in their coaching experience, a manager can demonstrate that they are invested in the success and well-being of their employees.

Recognize that it's hard to leave home at the door

Coaching is unique in that, in most cases, we approach employee development through the lens of the whole person. What happens at home impacts success at work and vice versa. If you want a coaching initiative to be successful, it is important to recognize that there is no such thing as a "work life" and a "home life" – it's just LIFE. By helping your employees achieve fulfillment in all areas, you are more likely to have team members that are happier, engaged, and loyal to your organization.

Manager engagement is critical

If you expect a coach to solve all your personnel problems, you're going to be disappointed. However, if you're willing to work in partnership with a coach to identify and support the needs of each individual employee, you may be surprised by the new levels to which your team can rise.

Interested in learning more about our coaching programs? Shoot us an email.

Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

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