One of the most important responsibilities of a leader is to coach and motivate their people. Coaching and motivating do not always go hand in hand. Although they should.
Sometimes coaching shows up all alone. Most often that is when the coaching is angry coaching. Angry coaching is frequently the only kind of coaching limited leaders know how to do.
These types of limited leaders coach almost exclusively for corrective action. When one of their people has done something they consider wrong. Coaching someone for corrective action can always be an emotion packed conversation because it involves telling someone they have done or said something they shouldn’t have. If they disagree then they likely become defensive and that’s when emotions come into play.
Sometimes the limited leaders bring their emotions to the conversation too. That’s always a mistake. Particularly if they are upset, mad, or frustrated with the actions of the individual they are coaching.
The most effective leaders know it’s best to remove as much emotion as possible from a corrective action conversation. So if one of your people has made a mistake and you’re upset with that mistake give yourself some time before you begin to coach.
Generally speaking it’s best to coach in real time. That means as soon as you see something wrong you should say something. But if your emotions are in the way then wait. Don’t wait days, only wait long enough to regain control of your emotions. Your goal should be a positive conversation about something that may otherwise seem negative. Never, yep, I know that’s a big word but I’ll say it again, NEVER wait for an annual review to coach and dump everything on your team member at once. That’s a sure fire way to create a disengaged person.
I’ve had people in leadership positions tell me that sometimes the only way to get their people’s attention is to yell at them. If you agree with that then you may be in a leadership position but you are not a leader. Yelling is not leading…unless you’re cheering the success of your team.
One way to ensure that your coaching is making a difference is to balance your coaching conversations between coaching for corrective actions and coaching for positive reinforcement. Yep, when your people do something right is also a perfect time to coach.
Authentic Leaders don’t only look for what may be wrong. They look for what’s right and they seldom miss an opportunity to call that out. Letting a team member know you’ve noticed their efforts and that you appreciate those efforts is a very good way to ensure those efforts continue. While coaching for corrective action is always done in private, coaching for positive reinforcement can be done as publicly as the person being coached is comfortable with.
A couple of more thoughts on effective coaching. Never use your passion as an excuse for losing control of your emotions. You’ve likely heard that before you can lead anyone else you must lead yourself exceptionally well. Controlling your emotions is but one example of leading yourself exceptionally well. If you can’t do that then you can’t lead.
Remember as well that often it’s things we whisper that are easiest for others to hear. The loudness of our voice does not carry the message, it’s the tone of our voice that matters most.
Coaching, honest, open, and timely coaching is an everyday requirement of Authentic Leadership. No matter your title or your position, if you go a day without coaching then you’ve gone a day without leading.
On a completely different subject…I’m trying something new out over on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing the kind of things I tweet and blog about. But the best part is I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than regular followers. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”
You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, I can’t promise it will last for a long time but I can promise the content will be helpful as long as it does.