Coaching is incredibly hard. It’s not telling people what to do and when to do it. There is guidance and influence that comes into play a bit. But no business or team or community that’s being led is better than the output of the teams within them. Coaches create the difference between exceptional and dysfunctional teams. With out the right recipe in coaching your team will lack motivation. Most of the teams you come into to contact with that need a great coach are looking for someone that is not self-centered, cares about them as a person first not as a product, and puts the teams’ interest first before their own.
I love coaching. It aligns with my desire to help others become the best version of themselves possible. My primary goal is to help whatever team I’m working with be motivated. To see beyond the moment. To truly fall in love with and be challenged by what they are trying to achieve. Sadly, some are still using self-centered ways to drive their teams or relying on barking orders. “DO what I say,” approaches to coaching is NOT coaching. A very controlling management style is still very present today in our cultures.
Today’s work is so incredibly different. It’s very agile. It can pivot on a dime. Access to tools and ideas or innovation are in our pockets. We’re immediately able to connect personally virtually with just about anyone we want. Our motivation as a coach is to help others do a better job, not just do the job. This is what I would say is the single best contributor to performance, motivation. Unless your compelling as a coach, the team will wonder into something else to find motivation because they can literally pull it up any time they want in the palm of their hands.
“Based on a gallup survey, analytics estimated only about one-third of the workforce is motivated at work.”2017 Gallup Survey
If there are 10 of you in the office right now or in the public communities you serve in, that’s almost 4 of you not motivated. That was in 2017. It’s probably closer to 40% or 50% in 2020. Coaching is the perfect model and best equipped to motivate. Bringing clarity to learning and development as well as distributed power (working through others) more evenly is key.
Coaching is a marathon in approach. It’s long term. Coaching is not focused on just short term gains, but slow steady climbs up and to the right over time. Great coaches can tap into as well as realize people’s emotional needs that affect motivation. They have high emotional intelligence. A great coach cultivates a culture of warmth, trust, and freedom or a sense of ownership in the teams they motivate. They do this through equipping them with responsibility, allowing them to do the best work of their lives, and get out of their way. They consult and give honest direct feedback.
A coach will not be threatened by their team’s efforts in creating comfort zones for them to express themselves. Creating this psychological safe zone breeds trust through out the team. Those teams communicate more, they take more risks, and they perform. A coach realizes this super power as it accelerates the team’s morale. The team will start to solve their own problems in this type of cultured environment. They believe quicker in the purpose and vision.
I feel completely less stress as well because the workload is a shared workload. As more of the team takes on challenges in the cultured environment of trust a coach creates, more people jump in. Command and control is too much. Coaching is about sharing power, not keeping it to myself. It allows me to stay focused on the big picture. It allows me to check into the vision and purpose. I find a coached team when done really well confides in me with their concerns or issues. I get ahead of it and react a lot less. I also get to know my team as individuals much more.
How about organizations that focus on coaching as a way to improve work culture or community culture? People leave bad bosses. It’s that simple. Rigidity does not breed trust. A coaching approach to leadership laterally and horizontally in an organization can pivot. They’re incredibly agile. A coaching approach bridges divisions and unites. One of the biggest things I’ve experience in a company that centers their culture in coaching, it’s contagious!
As an individual coach, my best work experiences or community experiences where when I was able to release someone’s block on their potential. When I could actually help them create their own breakthrough. That moment when they discover their own power is incredible. Coaching conversations either done formally or informally are the best ways to connect deeply with your teams. It shows them you care. There are really only two things you need to ensure you master during those connections: incredible active listening skills and an ability to ask deep challenging questions. There’s a really bad temptation you’ll face to tell them from an advice posture what you think they should do. DO NOT DO THAT.
People need help, but they don’t need advice. They need to be empowered to figure out their true strengths. Some questions I love to ask in these sessions (which work great in real time in the moment or formally schedule moments):
What’s working? What’s not? What do you think you can do differently? What are your opinions?
Just asserting yourself with what YOU believe is the right path is not helping them discover their true potential. It’s actually limiting it.
Coaches give great “feedforward.” No, that’s not a misspelling. I know what feedback is. But, I’ve mostly discovered feedback as a vehicle to tell people what they did in the past and typically is negative. Feedforward gives them an idea of what they can do differently for the next time. It’s guiding. Feedforward is long-term in it’s intention or purpose to help someone become motivate. Highlight in the future what someone can do better instead of keeping them in the past where they often ruminate.
Coaching is the model for today’s culture in work and in the communities we serve. It naturally prioritizes building strong relationships, development, and support for one another on the team. Teams that are coached are generally incredibly happier. Three techniques we went deep on to be a better coach were:
- Coaching conversations as often as you can have them formally or informally
- Provide feedforward feedback
- Review your progress and help the team see theirs
- Create some great development and learning opportunities along the journey
The best way I learned to be a coach was to be coached myself by a highly recommended coach. Find one that models what we talked about today above. We need you! The world needs you!
Thanks for reading and checking me out today.
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