A key practice that Stephen Covey told us to adopt in his classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is to start with the end in mind. As we return to work as a distributed workforce – working sometimes in the office and sometimes not, without knowing exactly how this will eventually settle (which is why we call this the “fluid” post-pandemic stage), we need to adopt the most effective practices to empower and develop our staff. This especially applies to training and coaching our staff. Marshall Goldsmith, one of the leading executive coaches, recently noted a number of key leader-coaching strategies. As an executive coach, I found his recommendations valuable – and realized we can apply some of them to coaching our staff. Here they are:
- Involve the staff member being coached in determining the desired behaviors. People cannot be expected to change behavior if they don’t have a clear understanding of what desired behavior looks like.
- Involve the staff member being coached in determining key stakeholders. Without identifying the company stakeholders with whom they’ll be involved, you can’t help them get them to focus on the right issues nor accept the feedback from the right colleagues. This ensures their “buy in” to the process, as they will be discussing it with these peers, subordinates and supervisors.
- Collect feedback. Marshall personally interviews all key stakeholder for a CEO or gets 360° feedback, because feedback is critical. It is impossible to get evaluated on changed behavior if there is not agreement on what behavior to change!
- Reach agreement on key behaviors for change. Don’t try to change everything; pick only one or two key areas for behavioral change with each coaching-client and agree upon the desired behavior for change.
- Have the coachee get other input from key stakeholders. As the person being coached speaks with stakeholders, she/he can collect “feedforward” suggestions on how to improve on the key areas targeted for improvement. The feedback provides greater depth, breadth and wisdom.
- Enable your coachee to develop the action plans that result from the principles discussed. These plans need to come from them, with constructive feedback provided by you, the coach. They often know what’s the right thing to do; they just need to execute it well and evaluate it for continuous improvement.
As we increasingly use automation and artificial intelligence to take over the “routine” activities with which we’re involved, being coached on how to handle human-interactions, especially effective collaboration when people are working in different offices at different times, becomes more critical. Use the Presentation Excellence ADAP principles to make sure you’re effective. If you have questions, share them with us!