What happened??? I simply said “Let’s chat” and it created chaos!?!?
Has this happened with you?
When you want to coach an employee and you say “Let’s chat in my office,” does it create confidence or chaos?
Does it inspire great anticipation of your guidance, or gossip and the child-like “UUUuuuuuuummmmm, Jooohhnny’s in trouuuuble!”
If it’s the second choice in either question, your leadership coaching may deserve a closer look.
The outcome of coaching should provide positive reinforcement. It should create positively contagious results.
If, instead, the reaction to “let’s chat” is the one described above, this should tell you they don’t see your conversation as a pleasant experience.
You’ve reinforced the wrong reaction. You’re either training them to slack off until you “yell” or to work in a state of fear of your reaction. Either way, both examples slow productivity down to the speed of frozen molasses.
Don’t you essentially want them to stay longer, produce more, and complain less? Isn’t this the crux of whatever you wanted to “chat” about in the first place?
The challenge is many managers don’t coach and reinforce the right behavior because they believe any number of myths, such as:
- It takes too long
- I don’t know how to do it right
- I’m not motivational, like Vince Lombardi. I just need them to stop doing this or that or do that better
If you’d tried to coach and failed, what you were likely doing was criticizing or disguising a discipline discussion as a coaching moment. Leaders who get the best results from their teams are the ones that coach early and often on when faced with a performance decline.
The goal of coaching is to catch the deviation from optimal performance when it first shows itself and to make a quick course correction with the buy in of the person who’s performing and it can be as easy as having a quick “CHAT.”
So how do you coach and not create chaos?
Use a Model
Using this model in a “drive-by” coaching moment is simple.
Using it early on in performance decline is also simple. Using it when they are already afraid of the consequences of meeting with you in your office? Not priceless… problematic!
Before you use any coaching approach or model or format, it is important to have established a rapport with those you lead. Those who are seen as invaluable, “life changing” coaches and mentors are seen that way because they earned the respect, trust, and admiration of those they led.
It wasn’t because of what they said or did, but more about how they made the other person feel.
- Are you creating fear or chaos in your office when you arrive?
- Do they play the “wicked witch flying monkey music” when you leave?
- Do they think you rode your broom or burrow into work most of the time?
If so, let’s get to work on changing some things…
To change the perception they have of you, implement the following:
- Take the time to meet with those you lead to share GOOD news without any improvements mentioned.
- Share recognition of job’s well done both publicly and privately, depending on the needs of those you lead.
- Ask those you lead for input and help (as found in Chapter 4 of Contagious Leadership), as they are often closer to the problem than you are and when they have the solution, they won’t argue with their own data.
- Begin to share feedback on performance deviations BEFORE they become a big problem or frustrating for you.
Coaching and having a quick CHAT may have more in common than you once thought. In fact, even with just a quick CHAT, coaching should create buy-in and motivation to do better, as well as the knowledge or skills or steps to do so.
If it creates chaos, the human behavior of those you lead won’t be what you want, no matter what you say. What will your CHATs look like in the future of your leadership? And will the results be positively contagious? Do you know others who would benefit from this information?
Please share, tweet, or forward it to them directly. The simplest of messages can help a fellow leader lead better and feel better about their leadership.
Stay Contagious! ~ Monica.
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