Transforming from a Good to Great Coach
Transforming from a good to great coach equals turning disengaged employees into top performers. However, employees today are restless. They quiet quit, loud quit, quit without notice, and are more disengaged, and disloyal than ever. Furthermore, 70% will quit for a better offer. About 38% of quitters leave in about a year. And people 25-34 have a tenure of 2.8 years which is significantly lower than other age groups Have you noticed?
Why is this happening? Unfortunately, research shows 82% of managers fail and are poor coaches. And globally, 85% of employees are disengaged. Since you are reading this article, we assume you are a good coach, and you are interested in elevating your approach. Consequently read, study, and apply the comprehensive concepts described here. It will establish you on the path to becoming a great coach. This means enhancing your career and team’s success.
Check out these thirteen reasons managers may struggle or fail at coaching:
- Lack of Training and Skill: Corporations promote managers based on their technical expertise or job performance but may not receive proper training in coaching skills. Effective coaching requires a distinct set of skills that managers often lack.
- Time Constraints: Managers often have heavy workloads and may feel overwhelmed by their day-to-day responsibilities. As a result, they may not prioritize coaching or allocate sufficient time to it. Coaching requires time and effort. Yet, a landmark study demonstrated that the average manager invests only four hours a week in people’s engagement.
- Misunderstanding of Coaching: Managers tend to have a mistaken view of coaching, believing it primarily involves telling employees what to do or solving their problems for them. Effective coaching, however, is about facilitating the employee’s self-discovery and problem-solving skills.
- Resistance to Change: Both managers and employees may resist coaching if they perceive it as a critique of their performance or a threat to their autonomy. Managers tend to avoid coaching conversations to avoid conflict or discomfort or dealing with poor performance.
- Inadequate Feedback: Managers may not provide timely and constructive feedback to employees, which is a crucial aspect of coaching. Without regular feedback, employees may not know where they stand or what they need to improve, hindering their development.
- Lack of Trust and Relationship Building: Coaching relies heavily on trust and a strong manager-employee relationship. Managers who fail to build trust or maintain a positive relationship with their team members may struggle to engage them in coaching conversations.
- One-Size-Fits-All Approach: Managers who use a one-size-fits-all coaching approach may not consider the unique needs, strengths, and developmental areas of each employee. Great coaching requires tailoring the approach to everyone’s circumstances.
- Inconsistent Coaching Practices: Managers who are inconsistent in their coaching practices may confuse employees and create uncertainty. Consistency in approach, feedback, and expectations is essential for effective coaching.
- Lack of Follow-Up: Effective coaching involves not only initial conversations but also ongoing follow-up and support. Managers who fail to follow-up and monitor progress may miss opportunities to reinforce positive changes and address challenges.
- Failure to Set Clear Goals: Coaching without clear, specific, and measurable goals can be aimless and ineffective. Managers should collaborate with employees to set clear objectives and track progress toward those goals.
- Ignoring Personal Development: Managers may focus solely on task-related coaching and neglect to support employees in their personal and professional development. Great coaching considers both short-term performance and long-term growth.
- Not Seeking Feedback, Themselves: Managers who do not seek feedback on their coaching practices may miss opportunities for improvement. Being open to feedback and self-assessment can help managers become more effective coaches.
- Lack of Empathy: Let us face it, some managers just do not care. They do not consider the development or success of people as part of their job. They just want the employees to do what they tell them to do.
Research on the bottom-line payoff of coaching has demonstrated its significant benefits for individuals, teams, and organizations. Consider the potential for your team or company based on these tremendous results.
- International Coach Federation (ICF) Research: The ICF conducts extensive research on coaching, and their studies have found that 70% of individuals who received coaching reported improved work performance, communication skills, and productivity. In addition, the study showed that organizations that provide coaching to their employees report improved performance and productivity, with 86% of organizations saying they recouped their investment in coaching.
- The Conference Board’s “Executive Coaching Survey” (2018): This survey found that 68% of organizations use internal coaching programs, and 47% use external coaching programs. It also highlighted that coaching is highly effective in developing leadership skills.
- American Management Association (AMA) Survey (2019): According to this survey, 62% of organizations offer coaching or mentoring to help employees reach their full potential, and 64% of organizations believe that coaching positively impacts performance.
- Deloitte’s “Global Human Capital Trends” Report (2021): Deloitte’s report indicates that coaching and mentoring programs have become crucial for leadership development, with 75% of respondents considering them important or especially important.
- Personnel Management: A study compared training alone to coaching and training. It found that training alone increased productivity 22.4%. By adding coaching to the program productivity increased to 88%.
- Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) and the Human Capital Institute (HCI): Studies have shown that coaching programs yield a positive return on investment (ROI), with estimates of ROI ranging from 5:1 to 7:1 or even higher.
These research findings underscore the tangible benefits of coaching in terms of performance, leadership development, employee engagement, innovation, and financial outcomes. As a result, image the impact on your career as you transition from a good to great coach.
A handful of companies do an outstanding job of creating a positive culture through coaching. Here are ten notable examples:
- Google: Google is renowned for its robust coaching culture. The company offers its employees access to professional coaches who provide guidance on various aspects of personal and professional development. Google’s “G2G” (Googler to Googler) program encourages employees to share their knowledge and experiences through coaching and mentoring relationships.
- IBM: IBM has a long history of investing in coaching and mentoring programs for its employees. The company’s coaching initiatives focus on leadership development, skills enhancement, and career growth.
- Salesforce: Salesforce is committed to employee development and growth through coaching. The company offers a formal coaching program called “V2MOM” (Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles, Measures), where employees create and discuss their goals and receive coaching for support to achieve them.
- General Electric (GE): GE has a strong tradition of leadership development and coaching. Their Crotonville Leadership Institute offers a range of coaching and mentoring programs for employees at all levels.
- Cisco: Cisco is known for its “Team Leader as Coach” program, which trains managers to become effective coaches. The program focuses on developing coaching skills and incorporating coaching into everyday leadership practices.
- McKinsey & Company: As a global management consulting firm, McKinsey places a high value on coaching. The company provides extensive training for its consultants to develop coaching skills and offers coaching to clients as part of its services.
- Procter & Gamble (P&G): P&G has a coaching-centric approach to leadership development. The company emphasizes coaching as a critical leadership skill and provides training and resources for its managers.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn dedicates itself to employee growth and development through coaching. The company offers various programs, including executive coaching and career development coaching.
- Adobe: Adobe promotes coaching as a means of fostering a growth mindset among its employees. The company offers both internal and external coaching programs to support leadership development and skills enhancement.
- Microsoft: Microsoft has a robust coaching culture, with a focus on continuous learning and development. The company provides coaching and mentoring opportunities for employees at all career stages.
Each company above invests the time and money it takes to train and coach leaders to be great coaches. It is not a one-time deal. To work it there must be an established commitment from executives to management and employees that coaching involves their way of doing business.
The work culture at the above companies favors good relationships with employees. While a positive culture starts at the top, every manager produces a departmental culture that may or may not be good or the same as the company’s culture. Bottom-line, transforming from a good to great coach, managers can establish an exemplary team culture that inspires people to do their best.
Great coaching plays a crucial role in facilitating an uplifting culture by emphasizing the areas that help people become high performers. Research—see below–shows that when a leader coaches by emphasizing and communicating positively about the areas below employees often dramatically improve their efforts and results. Of course, you do not do all of these at once but overtime with each individual employee.
- Skill Development
- Goal Achievement
- Confidence Building
- Personalized Feedback
- Managing Poor Performance to Better Performance
- Conflict Resolution
- Continuous Learning
- Leadership Development in employees
- Emotional Support
- Personal Growth
- Optimal Performance, Productivity, Sales, Customer Service, Employee Retention, and Employee Engagement
In summary, great coaching is not for the faint of heart. It is the single most valuable skill that empowers individuals to reach their full potential, whether in their personal lives, careers, or various skill-based endeavors. It requires guidance, support, and accountability, fostering growth, development, and time-management. Anybody can coach poorly. Managers only learn to become master coaches through on-going training, hard work, diligence, and persistence.
21 Best Practices of a Good to Great Coaching Process
Studies on the greatest coaches in the world identified critical success factors or best practices. Notice these practices take a Servant Leadership approach by focusing on the employees personal and professional success. Learn and adapt these to your situation. Remember, the best coaches follow the advice of former President John F. Kennedy, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to one another.”
Coach Continuously and Consistently:
- Continuous Informal Coaching: A manager coaches continuously by integrating positive supportive communication in daily planned or unplanned communication with employees. (In the hallway, an email, a text, answering an employee question, or phone call.)
- Consistent Formal Coaching: A manager also must set up regular weekly to monthly one-on-ones for performance discussions. These meetings involve 20-60 minutes. You take notes and track your discussions over time.
Establish Clear Goals and Expectations:
- Clearly define the purpose and objectives of the coaching relationship.
- Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.
Build Trust and Rapport:
- Create a safe and confidential environment where the individual feels comfortable sharing thoughts and concerns.
- Trust reigns when you foster open, honest, and positive communication in the working relationship. This becomes more important than the reporting structure and authority of the manager.
- Pay close attention to what the individual is saying, both verbally and non-verbally.
- Ask clarifying questions to gain a deeper understanding of their perspective.
- Show empathy and understanding towards the individual’s feelings and experiences.
- Validate their emotions and perspectives.
Ask Powerful Questions:
- Use open-ended questions that encourage an employee’s self-reflection and exploration. Your goal is for them to become self-directed and independent performers. For example:
- What is working on your plan?
- What problems did you encounter?
- How did you handle those problems?
- What can you learn from what happened?
- Avoid leading or judgmental questions.
Provide Constructive Feedback:
- Offer feedback that is specific, timely, and constructive. No blaming or shaming.
- Focus on behaviors and actions rather than personal characteristics.
Use Strengths-Based Approaches:
- Identify and leverage the individual’s strengths to help them achieve their goals.
- Encourage self-discovery of strengths and talents.
Customize Coaching Techniques:
- Tailor coaching methods to the individual’s unique needs and preferences.
- Be flexible in adapting your coaching style.
Set Action Plans:
- Collaborate with the individual to create actionable steps toward their goals. Help them learn what the plan should be. Ask, what do you think the next steps should be? Or what are your ideas for an action plan?
- Ensure these steps are realistic and manageable.
- Regularly review progress and provide ongoing support and feedback. Do this with informal coaching and in scheduled one-on-one meetings.
- Adjust the coaching approach as needed based on results.
- Hold the individual accountable for their commitments and actions. Do this constructively. No blaming, yelling, screaming, or shaming. Instead focus on results and the action steps moving forward.
- Encourage them to take ownership of their development.
- Respect the confidentiality of the coaching relationship and any sensitive information shared.
- Clearly communicate the boundaries of confidentiality.
- Promote self-awareness and self-reflection by asking questions that prompt deeper thinking.
- Help the individual gain insights into their behavior and choices.
Focus Continual Learning and Development:
- Involve your team in best practices through training and relevant industry knowledge.
- Seek opportunities for your own professional development as a coach.
Evaluate and Measure Outcomes:
- Assess the impact of coaching on the individual’s performance and development.
- Use feedback and data to refine your coaching approach.
Establish Closure and Transition:
- Plan for a structured closure to the coaching relationship moving forward from one plan or goal to another.
- Discuss progress and how the individual will continue their development independently.
- Adhere to a code of ethics, honesty, humility, and professional standards in coaching.
- Avoid conflicts of interest and maintain integrity.
Give Specific Feedback for Improvement:
- Seek feedback from your team to continually improve your coaching skills.
- Give real time positive and constructive feedback to your team to reinforce strengths and neutralize weaknesses.
Demonstrate Cultural Sensitivity and Inclusivity:
- Be culturally aware and sensitive to the individual’s background and perspectives. This requires empathy and care.
- Avoid making assumptions based on cultural or demographic factors.
Be Flexible and Adaptable:
- Be prepared to adjust your coaching approach as the individual’s needs evolve.
- Flexibility is key to accommodating changing circumstances.
Pulling It All Together: Transforming from a Good to Great Coach
The average manager spends less than three hours a week on people matters. You cannot move from a good coach to a great coach with that. Research shows the great managers invest thirty hours a week working with their team. This means Servant Leadership practices elevating people-first.
Coaching can dramatically improve performance. See this example.
One of our clients asked us to teach their managers to coach. They wanted to improve sales to existing customers. They were struggling and losing clients to a new and larger competitor. They were a good company and were celebrating eighty years in business. While they knew their market, they did have the coaching know how or culture. We assessed their situation and collaboratively with their key managers rolled out a plan. It involved four phases: Planning, Training, Coaching, and Renewing. Each phase included input from local managers at their key locations in twenty cities.
The company scheduled training and planning sessions for the Spring and Fall seasons. In addition, they established on-site visits for all locations in between these sessions. Managers learned how to do one-on-one coaching sessions, depending on the situation, daily to weekly, with their customer service reps. Branch leaders scheduled weekly training meetings. Regional leaders held virtual team conferences monthly with district and local service leaders. Plus, we added an incentive recognition plan for every level. We delivered weekly robust and informative communication. Team spirit swept the organization to reach a 15% goal for improvement which kicked in varied incentives. By year end they achieved a 75% gain and added 48% gain the next year. It blew the executives away.
Why did it work? We included the team, gave them amble support, recognized their achievement and maintained a positive uplifting process. They always had the talent and capability. Furthermore, the managers moved from average or good to great coaching. Their innovative approach to coaching became a way of doing business. By learning and applying the principles in this article, and a relentless focus on the positive, they excelled.
In conclusion, consider these powerful coaching quotes as motivators to transition from a good to great coach.
- “I believe that wherever there is mastery, coaching is occurring and whenever coaching is done, mastery will be the outcome.” Andrea J. Lee
- “The manager needs to have a coaching mindset, looking for opportunities to help others learn…. The coach and coachee relationship must be one that rests on a foundation of trust that can allow the coaching dialogue to take place.” James M. Hunt
- “Everything in coaching hinges on listening because what we are listening for affects where we are speaking from and unfolds how we are being with and for each other.” Marilyn Atkinson & Rae Chois,
- “Probably my best quality as a coach is I ask a lot of questions and let the person come up with the answers.” Phil Dixon
- “A manager is a title; it does not guarantee success. Coaching is an action, not a title and actions will result in successes!” Catherine Pulsifer
- “Coaching is a profession of love. You cannot coach people unless you love them.” Eddie Robison
- “I realized that life had much more to offer than I had anticipated and decided to help others in their human journey. Therefore, I became a trainer and a coach with passion for transformation.” Ann Betz
- “Coaching is a unique process of human development, one that works to change a person’s life for the better and help him or her achieve a number of specific objectives.” Ian Berry
- “I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum potential.” Bob Nardelli
- “Coaches and the people they coach know that for the future to be different, we need to change the way we do things in the present…. More often, changes involve shifts in attitudes, thinking, perceptions, and behavior.” Gary Collins
- “A coach can play any number of roles-mentor, consultant, motivator, but one thing she is not is a therapist. Coaching deals with the “how”: how you move from where you are and make change. It is action oriented and concerned with the present and future not the past.” Shape Magazine
*Note: ChatGPT used for research.
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CEO/Founder, Rick Conlow International: RCI transforms managers from good to great coaches and trains them to become Servant Leaders. Clients achieve record-breaking performances in sales growth, customer experience improvement, employee engagement and leadership effectiveness. Furthermore, RCI’s online resources coach and train all managers or employees to higher levels of career success.