Gone are the days when an annual review is substantial feedback for leaders. It is no longer acceptable for organizations to reach out at the end of a yearly cycle and dump some crazy performance review on team members. In every leadership workshop I conduct, the topic of “how much feedback is enough feedback” often emerges and there is always a heated discussion about it. Then the next conversation is usually about leaders not feeling that they are able to share honestly and completely with team members they are coaching. To which I say: “If you can’t provide honest feedback it is totally worthless.”
Done well, feedback is a true gift for leaders.
To gravitate away from annual performance reviews to more frequent one-on-one feedback sessions, it is essential for leaders to become strong coaches. For leaders to develop into impactful coaches and help their teams reach their potential, they need to obtain important coaching skills and knowledge.
Here are five stupendous coaching tactics for leaders:
1. CREATE A RAPPORT
To be a credible coach it is important to be approachable and connect with people from their vantage point and style. Try to get to know the individual you are coaching on a personal level first. Ask about how things are going. Tell them how happy you are to work with them. It can be helpful to identify the way a coachee digests information. Do they need to hear things in bullet points or do they need more complete explanations? Are they more task oriented or more people oriented? When coaches take the time to learn about the preferences of those they are coaching, they will be more impactful.
2. DESCRIBE THE PERFORMANCE AREA FOR DEVELOPMENT AND WHY IT IS IMPORTANT
When we coach we need to be:
- Clear in what we are sharing
- Specific with examples
- Descriptive with as many facts as possible
- Explain why a particular area for growth is important and how it fits into the bigger firm picture
3. ASK THE TEAM MEMBER FOR THEIR OPINION AND TO IDENTIFY SPECIFIC WAYS TO BOOST THEIR PERFORMANCE
After sharing your information about the team member’s performance, it is essential to ask the individual for their “take” on what you just shared. So much of coaching is allowing the coachee to offer their ideas on how to grow. Listen actively and you will hear how a team member truthfully feels about their career trajectory.
4. GIVE FEEDBACK ON TEAM MEMBER’S IDEAS AND THEN ADD YOUR OWN
Without feedback leaders and team members can’t learn and grow. Before giving feedback, coaches must listen strategically to what coachees are truly saying. Keeping an open mind helps coaches understand why a team member is interested in pursuing a particular project. Coachees deserve to be heard. When coaches eventually share their feedback it must be:
- Authentic and helpful
- Actionable so team members can propel forward with the information
- Non-judgmental and non-accusatory
- Current and future oriented, not dwelling on the past
5. SUMMARIZE ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN AND SET A FOLLOW-UP SESSION
Before ending any coaching session, leaders should take the time to ask about what was shared and agreed upon. Some good questions for coaches to ask might be:
“How do you feel today’s one-on-one went?”
“What did you find most helpful about our discussion?”
“What actions are you embarking upon immediately?”
“What might you change about our coaching sessions?”
Don’t forget to mutually set a follow-up session before you finish.
What stupendous coaching tactics have worked for you?
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