Monday, August 22, 2011

To Coach or NOT to Coach

I had the pleasure of speaking at a lunch and learn last week at one of my favorite company's headquarters here in Atlanta. The topic was coaching and the audience consisted of HR Managers and Directors.

Most of the discussion centered around how HR can influence managers to use coaching to increase performance.

After reading a lot of material on the subject and a really good recent blogpost from Kris Dunn, I have decided there are 2 camps on this subject:

1) Get rid of the performance review and replace it with coaching sessions
2) FORCE managers to coach in the current performance management process

I think there is a happy medium that uses coaching skills to produce RESULTS. Really? Coaching can impact results and that is how HR can influence managers to be coaches. I think HR managers must educate line managers on the benefits of coaching employees:

1) Employees have cited the need for feedback as an engagement driver. X'ers and Y'ers have come into the workplace expecting feedback. Managers have not been trained on effective coaching there is a disconnect...big time.

2) Goal attainment. Think about a sports coach with the goal of winning. There are countless hours spent on coaching the athletes getting them ready for the game.

3) Employee Development. Managers can coach employees on many subjects but the WIIFM for the manager is an employee that has developed a skill that he/she didn't have before.

Back to the lunch and learn....when asked why managers DO NOT coach employees, the audience said:

1) Managers don't have time

2) They don't like confrontation

3) Our culture is one of getting things done and fast...all about results.

My answer to the objections above have to make the time because employee's engagement at work is stronger when feedback is 2-way. Coaching is not confrontational it is collaborative. And for #3...coaching is about getting those results, with clear goals and objectives set, results will follow.

Sometimes, coaching is seen as a punitive activity. "We do coaching when someone is going to get fired as a last step." If this sounds familiar, then some education has to be created around why coaching is positive and needed in the organization.

So I ask you, coach or not to coach?
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