If you are searching for a structured process to manage a team capable so you get:
1. The results you want
2. When you want them
3. To the standard you have asked for
Then you need to learn the skills to be able to deliver effective Management Coaching.
Performance Coaching is a process that provides feedback, accountability and documentation to improve both individual and team performances.
Do this well, and it can be the magic formula to help your employees channel their talents towards helping you achieve your team goals.
Performance Coaching is a positive way to engage with your team and help them to develop and reach their individual goals.
This process also ensures team members are managed fairly and across an even playing field compared to other members of the team.
We use the term Performance Coaching but this process is also referred to as Performance Management.
We call it Performance Coaching because our research shows many people believe Performance Management actually means managing under-performance.
We asked the following question to over 100 managers;
“If you were to sit down with a member of your team and tell them you wanted to put them on to Performance Management, how would they react?”
The overwhelming response was that team members would react in a negative way.
So we don’t use the phrase Performance Management as we know this puts up unnecessary barriers straightaway.
So, what do you need to give successful and professional coaching?
Well, good Performance Coaches will always create an environment where members of the team…
1. Feel respected
2. Have a sense of self-worth
3. Good Performance coaches will be honest and fair
4. They will not be afraid of giving feedback
5. They understand how to deliver that feedback effectively
In management coaching, good coaches recognise the need to increase support as the challenge increases:
A good performance coach will also:
1. Understand people can make mistakes
2. Know they themselves don’t know everything
3. Actively seek out new and improved ways of delivering their coaching by learning from their own mistakes
4. Not be selfish
5. Understand that their own success is directly linked to the success of the person they are coaching
6. Not be in it for themselves
7. Always try and help others learn and develop
8. They are also structured in the way they coach
Good Performance Coaching follows a process, and the same process is used for everyone.
It really is a “wash, rinse, repeat” routine. The process we have found to be most successful is something we have very originally called “The Performance Coaching Cycle!”
Performance Coaching Cycle
Stage 1: Identify
Firstly, you need to identify the training gap. You need to pinpoint exactly what it is you want the person you are coaching to achieve.
These could be new skills you want them to learn, or changes in behaviours you want them to master.
1. Become more effective in their role
2. Learn how to set expectations correctly
3. Become better at giving honest feedback to their team
They will need help to decide what their goal should be. They won’t know what they need to do get where they want to go – otherwise they would be doing it already!
Using management coaching helps you help fill the gap:
Stage 2: Set Expectations
Next, you need to set your expectations on how the coaching will be managed (this is the same as setting expectations which we covered in our communication article).
1. Decide what you want to achieve
2. Identify what you need to achieve it
3. Set a time frame in which you plan to achieve it
Management Coaching Example
Remember, setting clear expectations is the foundation of all good communication.
It is crucial that both you and the person you are Performance Coaching, understand exactly what it is you are working to achieve.
For example, a good coach setting clear expectations might say something similar to this….
“Today I am going to coach you how to be more effective with your coaching skills. To do this you will need to know how to set goals and give feedback effectively. These are terms you might not currently know but over the next few weeks I will teach you what they mean and how you should use them”.
“I expect you to have a good understanding of how to be effective with your feedback in 6 weeks. We will review your performance every 2 weeks through that period. If at any point you do not understand something, you must let me know so I can explain it more clearly. Is there anything you would like to ask me about your Performance Coaching schedule?”
Stage 3: Perform
Now it’s time to let them put everything they have learned into practice!
Remember though, at this point the person you are coaching will likely be doing something for the very first time.
They will be nervous. They will be worried about failing and they will definitely be worried about letting you down.
Make sure you have checked your expectations are realistic and that both you and they have the same understanding of what they are. You don’t want to end up with something like this!
You need to build a blanket of safety around them until they are confident with what they are doing.
A good performance coach will be able to identify where they are struggling and break it down into bite size chunks for them.
“I need you to go and follow-up on the work that member of your team has completed. This is what I want you to say to them. Once you have had that conversation you need to come straight back to me and tell me how it went.”
Most important of all, let them know that it is OK if they fail.
If they understand the only consequence of them failing is that they will learn something new, they will quickly gain confidence.
They will then be able to achieve their goal much faster. It is important you give them plenty of encouragement and advice at this point.
Stage 4 – Follow Up
Follow-Up should be a constant process that continues from the first time they use the new skill or implement their new behaviour, right up until they are both confident and competent in that skill.
To understand this, use our Ladder of Learning framework (based on the Adult Learning Model which we cover in detail in our Leadership Training Article) to identify how successful your management coaching has been.
Remember, follow-up reviews of any Performance Coaching process should be documented.
Ladder of Learning Framework
We use a very simple “Stop, Start, Continue” format.
When reviewing their performance, it helps them identify what they need to stop doing, what they need to start doing and what they should carry on doing.
You may need to complete a few of these, especially if the skill or behaviour you are coaching is a difficult one to master.
Documentation is a critical part of Performance Coaching, it allows both you and your team member to keep a written record of their progress with clear points for them to work on to continue their development.
It can also be used as a point of reference when it comes to coaching others through a similar skill or behaviour.
In other words:
Each coaching success you have becomes another tool in your management coaching tool kit, this means you’ll be able to use these to speed up the training process.
This gives you a huge advantage when working in competitive environments where you need the success of a good performing team to stand out from the pack!
Stage 5 – Review and Restructure
Once you reach the end of the coaching process, you should take the time to reflect on how it went and the difference in performance of whoever you were coaching.
If the coaching was successful that’s great! You can move on to something new.
However, if the coaching was not as successful as you hoped, you need to identify the reason for the failure.
You may also have to restructure your coaching methods if you want to have more success next time.
People (Coaches and people being coached) tend to bite off more they can chew.
This tendency stems from people wanting to do well and us as coaches wanting them to succeed.
Unrealistically high expectations will not get you the standard you want quicker.
Performance Coaching Cycle
Performance Coaching benefits everybody!
Firstly, it benefits you (as the Coach) you will significantly improve your own understanding through teaching others.
The biggest sign that someone is skilled in what they do is their ability to teach it to others.
By following this process again and again you will become accomplished at corporate coaching – this is something that many managers claim to be, but they are not. (by the time you finish this article you will easily be able to tell a high quality coach from a “pretender”)
It also benefits the person you are coaching. They will obviously improve each time they go through this process, but more importantly it means they are continually learning.
In management coaching teaching others is a very efficient use of your time:
Management Coaching benefits the company you work for.
A highly skilled team gives managers in your company more options to try different ideas, and more time to develop them.
There are countless studies that determine one of the best ways to keep an employee happy and engaged is to ensure they are continually learning new skills.
Now you have a basic introduction into coaching, let’s look at some of the fundamental insights you need to be seen as a skilled coach in your organization: