Monica Wofford, CSP, teaches leaders to understand and improve their own leadership in using practice, skills, and desire as their three areas of focus.

Is your language simple, subtle or something they can act on?

Was what “Houston” had, really a “HICCUP” or a gargantuan “could go real bad, real fast!” problem? Well, they said it was a problem, but even that may have been a slight under-statement. When you are coaching a problem employee, are you using language so subtle they don’t get it or are you being crystal clear? Unless you’re clear, they might not get it and if they don’t get it, how do you expect them to fix it?

Leaders who effectively coach employees have a way of sharing a moment of motivation that lasts much longer. They also are direct in their communication. They call a problem a problem, not an opportunity. They call something that’s not acceptable, just that, not a minor issue. They get to the point, share the problem in need of a fix, and they gain the agreement of the employee who’s committed the error, to make a change. If you’re not sure when to gain this commitment, refer to our CHAT™ Model.

Leaders who are fearful of an employee’s response when coaching employees, have not done a good job in building rapport or explaining clear expectations in the first place. Sometimes this fear is because we don’t want them to know, that we know, we’ve not done our foundational work that would have prevented the problem in the first place. But, it happens and even leaders are human.  😀 In order to share your message of desired improvement directly and effectively and in a way that will produce contagious results from your coaching:

  • Avoid the temptation to be so subtle that they don’t get it.
  • Be clear, firm, and direct, without being inflexible or blaming your feelings of fear on them.
  • Use accurate and objective labels of the behavior so they know what to do and what not to do.
  • Tell them exactly what you want them to do in an informative and clear, not demanding, tone.

Oh, and if you haven’t done these already, prior to your coaching, here are additional guidelines:

  • Determine your expectations of a project before you assign the tasks to complete said project.
  • Share those expectations with each team member or employee involved.
  • Determine rewards for great improvement and consequences for non-performance.
  • Then monitor and coach and provide immediate feedback on course corrections if you see someone going in the wrong direction.

In other words, you want to be clear, but not too dangerously direct. You don’t want them playing flying monkey music when you walk away, but you don’t need them to think you’re Glenda the Good Witch, either. They need a leader, be one. If they need a coach, be one. Your role in either case will not always guarantee that you are the favorite person on the playground, but will earn you greater respect and likely cause them to want to listen to you more in the long run.

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Stay Contagious!


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