At Ros Taylor Company, we develop the coaching techniques of those who attend our one-to-one coaching sessions in evidence based, effective leadership. This coaching process demonstrates the difference between being a boss, who directs and instructs, and being a leader, who inspires a team to success. Effective leaders actively take an interest in people and help them to harness their skills to become more successful. This is highly valuable for a company, because a skilful team is good for business.
Successful business leaders tend to hire people who are more experienced than themselves in niche areas of their business who can coach them to success. Our area of expertise is coaching leaders and then helping them to develop their own coaching skills.
So, as a leader, how can you coach your team to success?
1. Build genuine trust
Good coaches connect with everyone in the team. That means moving beyond the superficial to understand individual strengths and weaknesses. For your team to respond well to you as a coach, they must trust you. After all, you’re asking them to be introspective, and open enough to discuss how they can maximise their potential.
A good way to gain trust is to demonstrate that you are actively listening. This, means fully concentrating on what is being said, and actively stating that you understand their perspective. Hold one-on-one meetings and, during your discussion, take note. Then give an accurate summary of what your employee has told you (rather than just repeating your end of the discussion). This shows that you’re genuinely interested in what they have to say, and invested in their personal development.
Active listening is an essential skill that so many leaders lack.
2. Demonstrate emotional intelligence
As well as active listening skills, you will also need to employ a high degree of emotional intelligence.
It’s often quite simple to identify an employee’s weak areas. Someone might fear or avoid network events and miss out on valuable business opportunities.The team member is often conscious of the weakness themselves. It takes real skill and emotional intelligence, however, to get to the heart of what’s holding an employee back and identify solutions that they are confident in trying.
We’ve included emotional intelligence in our list of coaching techniques because putting yourself in your team member’s shoes and understanding their personal success barriers is key to devising strategies to help overcome them – surely one of the most important roles of a coach.
Many of our team are clinical and occupational psychologists who coach business leaders through these knotty problems with evidence-based skills. They are always on hand as support for the internal coach leader.
Evidence-based knowledge develops and fine-tunes emotional intelligence skills for business
3. Motivate, don’t de-motivate
There is often risk, notably when teams are pressured, that leadership tips into a directive approach. Rather than motivating, this is likely to have the opposite effect. To improve your leadership style, one of the best coaching techniques is to take some time to reflect on how you’re perceived by your team. Are you as approachable as you think you are? Proven methods to find out can be an invaluable tool for you
Learn how to assess your team member’s individual career drivers. Learn to understand what truly motivates a broad range of employees, then develop a strategy where you can incorporate their career drivers into the coaching plan. For example, if someone is motivated by status, you could offer the incentive of a new job title or promotion if they show performance improvement. Create a clear set of criteria and time plan for which they can strive to achieve that.
When you do this, you’re changing thought processes. Now they’re not just doing something because their boss said so. Instead, they’re working for their own progression. This is intrinsic motivation. You’ll be surprised at what a difference this small change in mindset will do for productivity. When you’re able to show your team the personal benefits of your business requirements, you know you are doing a successful job as a coach.
Intrinsic motivation skills are invaluable for team and individual performance success.
4. Lead accountability
Without accountability, long discussions about improvements, incentives and plans have little impact. When Ros Taylor interviewed 80 CEOs from the FTSE 200, one of their top pieces of advice to leaders was to always deliver the goods. If you set actions in a meeting, you must ensure these are met.
Many leaders think they have provided clarity in their discussion about delivery and timepoints only to discover bewilderment about deadlines from team members when the due date looms. All communications should be recorded and a helpful tip is to supply notebooks so that every time you meet, team members record all actions and timelines. Then you check progress at every opportunity. Evidence shows that writing something down is significantly better remembered than computer or tablet input. And remember Delegation isn’t dumping. You as a coaching leader need to check progress.
Check the clarity of your communications constantly and instill a notebook culture.
5. Coach with passion
Although strong business experience is essential to a coaching role, an experienced business person does not necessarily make a good coach. Think back to your favourite teacher at school, or professor at university. Often what makes a good teacher isn’t based on their academic expertise, but how they inspire others through example and storytelling.
Like teachers, good coaches are genuinely passionate about their subject, and about helping others understand it. If you as a leader are unhappy or demotivated then expecting others to be passionate about your team’s success will be doomed to failure.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What are you passionate about at work?
- What are you doing when you lose track of time?
If your current job doesn’t deliver joy then look around for other adventures.
Be passionate about your own work before you can coach with passion
6. Develop learning cycles
A good leader knows that learning is never over. Even if you’re very experienced leader and already a coach, learning new coaching techniques from highly skilled people and hearing different perspectives can add to your skills. New evidence, as demographics in the work place evolve and change, also enables new techniques to be developed for effective modern-day practice.
There are also limitations as to what an internal coach can achieve. It could be that a problem is more deep-seated than you are comfortable with trying to resolve, or that an issue involves you as the leader. Here at RTC we supply individual coach back up. Even coaches need coaches!
Staying engaged in new techniques is a practice effective coaches adopt.
Research coaching courses in your area, checking credentials and reputation – there is no use investing in a course that brings neither opportunity nor results.
At Ros Taylor Company, we offer Leader as Coach training for leaders and senior managers. Leader as Coach can be tailored for your team. It is practical in content and interactive in approach, providing skills that can be continuously practiced in the workplace. It also applies to leading remote teams.