Everyone agrees top-notch coaching builds winning teams, but not every manager’s a natural coach.

Here are three guidelines for helping managers develop effective coaching styles:

    1. Emphasize behavior and its effects, not labels.

Good coaching requires a keen eye good communications. Example: Instead of telling Bob he’s domineering (a label), note how he interrupted (behavior) several times during the meeting and what effect that had. “Bob, when you talked over the others, they got quiet and stopped contributing.” That’s better than “You suck all the air out of the room!”

    1. Consider the individual circumstances.

Personal issues, cultural demands and workplace politics can affect individual performance. When coaches observe behavior changes they should find out what in the person’s life may be affecting performance.

Example: “Heather, you seem stressed lately. You told me about problems at home. Do you think it’s affecting your ability to concentrate at work?”

    1. Ask yourself if you’re part of the problem.

Some managers measure everyone else’s performance by their own personal yardstick – and that can cause problems. Do your coaching methods intimidate rather than support? Ask a peer you trust for honest feedback about bow well you listen and empathize.

Example: “Kate, you’ve known me for a long time and you’ve watched me work. I’m not getting through to Whitney. Do you think I should be trying a different approach?”

Keen powers of observation, good communication skills, an open mind and a reliable support system are invaluable tools to help managers improve their coaching style.

photo credit: euthman

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