Having worked in retail agriculture, I understand the pace required to get everything done - right now - on behalf of our customers.
Over the last few months, my role has shifted and I've had the privilege of focusing on developing people for multiple organizations of varying sizes. One of the things I've come to enjoy the most is coaching people in small group settings, or what we call "mastermind groups". This new experience has given me a different viewpoint on the challenges and struggles that everyone has and are trying to fix. I've personally witnessed incredible results for the individuals I'm coaching, for their managers, and for the organization as a whole.
If you're a manager who's trying to balance all everything – customer demands, senior management requests, development needs of younger employees – I can tell you that, as someone who's sat on both sides of the table, coaching is an invaluable tool to explore.
And, if you're asking yourself, "Why should I hire a coach for my employees?"...look no further.
Here's a list of the top eight reasons why you need to hire a coach for your team.
1. Changing Behaviors Takes Time...Leading change doesn't happen overnight. Your employees must have the right attitude and exhibit the right behaviors. It takes time and commitment to recognize the good and to call out the bad. In fact, that's one of the things I enjoy the most about coaching – calling people out on their excuses! Here are some of my favorites:
- Rationalizing why they didn’t get something done.
- Justifying why the decision from senior management was wrong and why they shouldn’t have to do it.
- Distracting away from the real issue by pointing out where others have failed.
- Kidding themselves about their actual commitment to the goal at hand.
- Overpromising with no intent to follow through, because they know they will not be held accountable anyway.
Do any of these sound familiar?
Hiring a coach can cut through all the excuses to get them to be REAL WITH THEMSELVES first.
Real results. Real time. Real impact.
2. …And It Takes a Village.
When an individual realizes that multiple people – both inside and outside their organization – are all invested in helping them hit their goals, it is extremely motivating. Multiple people bring multiple perspectives to the problem – and the possible solution.
It takes excellent communication for everyone to be on the same page, but when this happens, they can be extremely effective! As a coach, I look for opportunities for the manager to reinforce my message, and I look for messages that I can reinforce for the manager. Sometimes this means accountability, sometimes it’s tough love, and sometimes it means a word of encouragement. Each individual on your team likely needs something different from you.
Do you know what that is?
3. Accountability is Lacking
A large part of what we do as coaches is hold people accountable to what they say they are going to do. That seems like common sense and yet, if we know what we need to do, why is accountability so lacking within our organizations?
One reason is that we have never been taught how to hold people accountable. We make assumptions based on experience. Just being around a situation, however, does not equal understanding and it does not mean execution! We need to set expectations and confirm understanding before we can hold employees accountable for a lack of performance.
4. We Learn What’s REALLY Going On.
When someone is barely surviving in a relationship at home or with a loved one who is making terrible choices, it is impossible for this “black cloud” to not follow them to work. It affects their attitude, their creativity, and their energy – which means their results will suffer. Trying to breach this topic yourself can get extremely messy. You want them to know that you care, but you don’t want to get too involved. You also need to keep the lines of accountability clear at work for the future. Having an outside coach can be extremely beneficial in this unfortunate situation, because the coach can listen and provide perspective without getting too involved.
5. Create Clear Divisions When Needed
If you work in agriculture, there's a decent chance that you live in a small town where it’s inevitable that your family will be involved with your coworkers’ families outside of work. Between school, sports, childcare, and church activities, your relationship with your coworkers does not end when you leave work on Friday.
On the one hand, this is great because it builds stronger relationships across multiple areas of life. On the other hand, it can also make it extremely uncomfortable when someone is not pulling their weight at work.
Hiring a coach from outside your organization removes the emotion and cuts through to get down to the facts. Did you get the desired results?
6. Give Them The Feedback They Need
Many Baby Boomers rose through the ranks in their careers in an environment that said, “If the boss isn't calling you, you’re doing fine.” In other words, no news is good news.
While that may have worked for some, that's not the best solution for everyone anymore. According the Harvard Business Review, Millennials want feedback 50% more often than your other employees.
Are you giving them what they want?
Coaching is hugely important for “the next generation" of ag leadership. If you aren't giving them the feedback they want, they will find it somewhere else (and you don’t want that).
7. Have a Sounding Board for Decisions.
As a manager, you're sometimes faced with difficult decisions like, “Is this person 'in the right seat on the bus'?” or “Are they even on the right bus?” Who do you turn to in these situations?
When I was a manager, I appreciated having a mentor that I could turn to when I needed to hash out possible solutions to difficult problems. As a coach, I can help you figure out how to deal with a given situation by simply listening and dissecting what I perceive the situation to be, based on my outside perspective.
Most often, managers know what they need to do. They just need encouragement to get them over the hump and into action. This outside perspective can be huge in helping a manager make the best decision for everyone involved.
8. You Simply Don’t Have Time.
If you're a manager, you often don’t have extra time to work on the people development needs of your team. People development is what we tend to call “important, but not urgent”. This makes it very easy to move it to the backburner when the latest fire breaks out on Monday morning.
So rather than beat yourself up about not getting everything done, why not ask for help? As a manager, you may know what you need to do, but there are simply not enough hours in the week to do it right! When you hire a coach to work with your team, you are freeing yourself up to focus more of your attention in another area.
If you want to help your team make progress, be more productive and be more likely to reach goals – yours and their own – I would strongly encourage you to consider coaching as a valuable resource. Those in your employ are the future – make sure they're ready to make it a good one.