Coaching can be described in many different ways, i.e. it’s a collaborative process, or how it’s about where a client is now and then supporting that client in where they want to be, or how coaching addresses the challenges that get in a person’s way of success, happiness or fulfillment. Often those descriptors can confuse a would-be client or sponsor of coaching with what it really is – frequent, immediate, and specific – something everyone can wrap their head around.
These to the point descriptive words about coaching are from an article I recently read in the newsletter called “HR Daily Advisor” put out by http://www.blr.com/. The Today’s HR Daily Advisor Tip titled: Head-in-Sand Management, Dead-in-Water Defense was addressing the legal issues that an employer can face when letting an employee go, and the potential risk of the company then being sued. The article pointed out the importance of an employer clarifying to an employee as to what is expected of them, and then throughout their employment having those expectations upheld in a very clear way.
As noted in the HR Daily Advisor Enewsletter, they kept the instructions simple:
Clarify and Coach
The cautionary tale mentioned above should help you convince your managers to get their heads out of the sand and address performance issues. You can present the task as a simple “two-C” process—Clarify and Coach.
1. Clarify. First, clarify with employees what you expect of them and how you will measure their efforts. Juries expect this as a basic element of fairness. Juries won’t hold employees to expectations they didn’t know about, or that were too vague to be measured.
2. Coach. We’ll talk more about coaching in our next issue, but the main thing is that coaching is frequent, immediate, and specific. It’s a helping role, but it’s a performance management role as well.
Steve Bruce goes on to say in the article on the BLR website that by clarifying and providing coaching along the way, it’s the preparation needed to set the stage come performance appraisal time. Coaching is also a valuable tool in supporting your company’s performance management system. Well until Steve Bruce writes more about coaching, I wanted to mention a few things myself.
Coaching is not only helpful in preparing an employee for their annual or bi-annual performance appraisal, but I wanted to touch on how coaching, as he mentioned, is frequent, immediate, and specific and how those provide advantages. It’s a process that addresses a deeper context for the employee and the environment that they work in. The preparation goes beyond the time frame between “now” and performance appraisal, most importantly it has a longer term affect.
The frequency at which coaching is provided, whether it be twice a week, once a week or every other week, overall gets a client in a momentum due to the consistency and continuity. From that momentum the client or the person who is engaging in the coaching process feels that natural pull forward and helps them propel themselves into who they want to be and are in the process of becoming, and follow through with what they want to achieve. A coach in simple terms provides the assistance and guidance all executives can benefit from by having a safe and neutral space to share and explore.
The immediacy at which challenges are addressed, and the accountability that coaching provides towards projected goals is priceless. They don’t get tabled or procrastinated on, nor do they get bigger and unmanageable. With coaching the clarity comes with what needs to be done, how it’s going to get done and the step-by-step process to see an inevitable and achievable result.
The specificity of what the real issue is, is what it can boil down to. So often issues and challenges get muddled down or are masked by the rising heat of emotions being experienced by all parties involved. If there is more than one issue, we as human beings have a tendency to collapse them all together making them seem like one big issue vs. a few different smaller challenges that can be addressed individually.
There are many benefits to coaching and it’s difficult to cover them all in one blog post. Although I imagine that if you are an HR professional or an employee at an organization where challenges are occurring, that you are probably relating to at least some of what is being mentioned here. The benefits of engaging in the coaching process and what gets achieved as a result will be unique and specific to the individual and the environment they are in. Overall – coaching has been proven to assure a better chance of success in addition to long-term preparation.