Coaching Employee's As A New Supervisor

Kreg Enderson
February 24, 2009 — 2,535 views  
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When we coach our employee's, we have the opportunity to train, motivate, and communicate all at the same time. When we coach the right way, with our focus on "future success" and using great questions, we will make a positive impact on their future performance. However, if our coaching sessions turns into a lecture, we lose any rapport and respect we may have created.

So what do we mean when we say our focus needs to be on "future success"? Coaching is the process of conducting one on one meetings with an employee, and guiding them to our ultimate destination. Think of an airplane in flight. Starting out, the pilot knows where they are starting from and where their destination is. During the flight, the plane will drift off course and the pilot will need to make adjustments along the way. Bad weather may also create a need for another course to be taken. Because the pilot knows the destination, he can make the adjustments and ensure the plane arrives where it is scheduled.

Leaders are the "pilots" and our employees are the "plane". We should continually monitor how and what people are doing, and make those adjustments to behavior as needed. Unlike the plane, our people need to hear from us when they are on the right "flight path" as well. This not only provides a reward to the employee, but it also shows team members that this is the path that is recognized and rewarded, thus they will follow.

Great coaches also use open-ended questions during any coaching session. Questions like "What can you do starting tomorrow to....." would be a great example of a open-ended coaching question. The dictionary defines "coaching" as ...... "to give hint to". We should not be "telling" employee's what to do and how to do it. We use great questions to allow the employee to come up with solutions, or maybe suggestions, without being told specifically. The reason this is so powerful is "ownership". If I tell someone what to do and how to do it, and they fail, it's my fault. If I coach someone and they come up with the what and how, they take ownership of the outcome.

So the next time you have the opportunity to coach a team member, take a few minutes before your discussion to write down a few open-questions and your desired outcome for the discussion . You will also want to have a clear vision of the performance or behavior you are looking for in the future. If your team member does not have a very clear idea about what is expected, you will find yourself repeating the same coaching session over and over again.

About the Author

Certified Coach, successful leader, and owner of the new leader training and mentoring site

Kreg Enderson