Enjoy this video transcript of this week’s Monday Moment episode.
Good morning and happy Monday! I’m Monica Wofford and this is your Monday Moment.
As you might guess this video is likely focused on buildings skill-sets. Because if you think this is a video about Monica sweating and exercising this would not be that. LOL If you know me you’ll know how implausible that you might be, though I am a runner, anyway… The focus recently in our Monday Moments has been on how to prevent a very shaky foundation in leadership along with how to work on things like managing the leader mindset and what it means to be a leader in the first place. Today’s Monday Moment takes a bit of a different direction, as will the next several, as we focus on the art and skill of coaching. How do you coach those who have the privilege of leading, without crushing their spirit, without being too heavy-handed, and gosh without getting even less performance than what led you to having the conversation in the first place? Coaching is not about whip cracking or about making sure that you’re barking directions at an even higher volume. It’s about making sure you are focused on their development and for that I developed a model referred to simply as having a CHAT™. So, let’s walk through how you can have a chat with those you have the privilege of leading and watch the interaction transform, in many cases employee performance, productivity and even engagement.
Create a Commitment
CHAT™ is an acronym and the first letter for the CHAT™ model simply stands for commitment. So, your first step in this coaching process is to Create a Commitment and this is an inside job for leaders because you are creating the commitment about what you want them to do different. Now think through, before you ever have any feedback conversation, before you schedule an appointment, or sit down one-on-one with your person, think through what you want them to do differently, stop doing, or continue doing – all important elements and for which you want to be specific. Think through exactly what you want them to do. Do you want them to produce more numbers, meet their quota more frequently, stop being affected by the bottlenecks of others, or do you want them to maybe address some more delicate issues such as stop rolling their eyes every time you give directions, or stop smirking or doing the lip curl every time they talk to a certain person? Those are much more difficult attributes to coach to, but in creating a commitment it is your role as the leader to determine with a very, very, very granular level of specificity exactly what you’re asking this person to do, believe, how to behave, how to react, or what numbers to reach differently than what they’re currently doing. Then you move to the next letter in the model which is H.
Have a Conversation
H simply stands for, Have a Conversation, and the word conversation is a little different than the way many leaders are taught to look at coaching. Because conversation is a two-way dialogue there’s two or more people involved, and everyone gets to talk, and everyone gets to share their input. You want to lead a conversation with the employee, or team member, or volunteer, or sometimes even colleague, that you have the privilege of coaching. That means you share your specific commitment, what you want them to do and to what degree of quality. Then you let them contribute their insights, their input, maybe even share reasons why they’ve not been able to do it, as well as possibly share things like excuses. Like “Wait a minute. Susie’s not in this conversation and Susie’s the one that is holding up my ability to get anything done in my position”. That’s okay, when you are having a conversation, those kinds of things may arise. and they’re quite normal. As a leader when your coaching you can refer to a phrase such as Thank you for bringing Susie to my attention – now, side note, watch your tone of voice and watch your own eye roll – simply be grateful that they brought Susie to your attention, really, you may not have known about Susie, but then say ‘our focus today is on you and your performance. I have this information that is an alignment with what I would ask you to commit to following our conversation. Susie’s performance is not something I have documentation for today, it’s also outside the scope of our conversation. Today is on you and that’s where I plan to stay, so let’s come back to what I’m asking you to do differently’. There’s a number of different ways to approach that, a number of different ways to say it, but that’s one way for yo to reel them back in, if you will, when they stray and are looking for ways to dodge you in pointing out their behavior or performance and holding them accountable. So, you create that commitment you have a conversation and then you move to the third letter in our chat model.
Simply, A, stands for Affirm understanding. Most people would approach affirm understanding with a question, in fact, I think I’ve even done this and it sounds a little bit like, “Does that make sense?” Everyone on the known planet has been conditioned to answer “Does that make sense?” with the following phrase… uh-huh. Whether or not that answer is accurate is irrelevant because it’s a conditioned response. So be careful not to ask questions that will trick you into believing they understand where you’re coming from. To ensure they understand how, when, where, and with whom to meet your requested commitment, have them share back with you what they’ve heard in the conversation. Have them perhaps provide you with a plan, right then and there, not later, but right there, in that conversation. For example “Bob would you share with me just three bullets or steps as to how you are going to enact the commitment we’re describing today and what I’m asking of you?” That will give you some idea of the level of their understanding of your request and confirm for you that they do in fact understand the timeline of your expectation, when you’re looking for their performance Improvement, and just how much giddy up you’re expecting. (Giddy up is code for sense of urgency.) Their response or reaction to this CHAT™ conversation is telling. All reactions are important and will also reveal if you’ve been too subtle. You may find that employee doesn’t get it, but if you don’t know that before the conversation ends, you become a whole lot more frustrated. Don’t invest your time having a chat if you’re not going to be specific enough for them to act on it. What you’re looking for is changed behavior, performance, or maybe even attitude. We will talk about those three on a different Monday Moment. So, invest the time and the clarity to make sure that the outcome in one you and they actually accomplish.
Thank Them in Advance
Then there’s the last step – T – in the CHAT™ model. One could argue the first step, Create Commitment and the last step are probably your most important. The last step T stands for Thank Them in Advance. What often happens in coaching conversations sounds a lot more like “Thanks for coming into the office today, I appreciate you making the time.” That’s not perhaps the gratitude some personalities, some employees, would respond best to, while there’s nothing wrong with it. This particular step when shared with many employees, may elevate the positive reaction and encouragement you get, by a good bit. Instead try saying something like “I want to thank you in advance for what I know will be some effort to change this habit, or some effort to adjust this behavior, or I really appreciate what I know might be a challenging conversation and you making the effort to have it with Margie over here who’s creating the bottleneck to you being able to turn stuff in on time.” You’re thanking them in advance for changing and change is not easy. That too could fill several Monday Moments in the future, but in coaching you’re simply giving them a little bit of encouragement for making the effort to comply, or follow, or enact the guidance, direction, or request you’re making.
Have a CHAT™. Create a Commitment, Have a Conversation, Affirm their Understanding and Thank Them in Advance for their efforts. These four steps work beautifully when it’s a minor incident, a first-time offense you’re pretty new to the team or their new to you or this is a new employee or maybe you’re just new to using any kind of coaching. It’s a great model for entry-level coaching or if you simply want to in some cases start the process of coaching and development over in the event you set a precedence. The coaching model of having a CHAT™ is quite effective and I know you’ll be able to put it to use right away and using good judgment I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment. If you are not receiving the Monday Moments directly to your inbox, we have to fix that ability for you to build your own leadership skill set. Go to www.MondayMoment.com, sign up so that you receive these videos and the transcription directly to your inbox. I also invite you to become an active member of the Contagious Community check us out on social media – Facebook Contagious Companies and check out ContagiousCompanies.com where there’s a host of coaching training assessments coaching and webinars available for your leadership development. I look forward to seeing you next time, in the meantime, have a great Monday and even better week and of course stay contagious.
Monica Wofford, CSP is a celebrated leader who develops future leaders. CEO of Contagious Companies, her firm delivers and designs leadership training for managers who’ve been promoted, but not prepared, and the leaders who promoted them. Author of Contagious Leadership and Make Difficult People Disappear, Monica and members of the Contagious team may be reached at www.ContagiousCompanies.com, www.MonicaWofford.com or by calling 1-866-382-0121.