This is Part 2 in a two-part article. If you missed Part 1 you can read it here: Part 1.
Another essential element for becoming a good Coach is learning to provide feedback – effectively. A coach is not a coach without providing feedback. In sports, how many coaches have you seen just sit on the sidelines and NOT give feedback? Here are some specific ways to provide feedback to your employees–ones that will encourage increased performance and generate positive behavior:
- Be descriptive rather than evaluative. Describe observable behavior, not judgments on your part. Be careful not to put the employee on the defensive.
- Be specific. Describe the behavior in the context of the actual situation.
- Discuss only behaviors the employee can change. Some people have shortcomings over which they have no control.
- Be timely and do it frequently. Hold the discussion at the earliest opportunity after the behavior has occurred, whether positive or negative.
- Take into account both the employee’s needs and the organization’s needs. Remember to look for a win-win situation.
- Communicate clearly. Check for clarity by asking the employee to state his or her understanding of the discussion.
- Do it when the receiver is ready to receive it. Keep in mind that timing is everything.
Using Recognition and Rewards
Feedback and reinforcement can be greatly enhanced when coupled with recognition and rewards for good performance and positive behavior. Individual recognition teamed with incentive programs can be very effective but should also be tied to organizational goals and individual performance, and valued by the employee. If, for example, your organization is committed to responding quickly to customers, then you could reward the employee’s efficiency in returning phone calls or resolving complaints. You could recognize the achievement with public praise, and offer a reward such as special privileges, choices of flex time, schedules, vacations, or tangibles such as gifts, money, plaques or theater tickets. The reward should depend on the person receiving it. The employee with young children may appreciate being given more scheduling flexibility, whereas someone on a limited income would value the opportunity to work overtime.
Am I a Successful Coach?
Good coaches should always be evaluating their own individual techniques as a Coach. One of the ways you can measure your coaching success is to solicit feedback from your employees on how you are doing. One easy and relatively risk-free method is to ask each employee to complete a brief “agree-disagree” questionnaire – anonymously, of course.
Another approach would be for you to respond to the list first, according to how you see yourself, give the same list to your employees, then compare your self-perception with the perception of others. It could be a real eye-opener.
Regardless of which method you use and the outcome, you now have valuable data that either reinforces the positive approach and techniques you are already using or have uncovered an opportunity by identifying areas for improvement, and are well on your way to becoming a great Coach!
Written by Dave Vaden