an effective coach, you will begin to experience very specific, very real
results - and results make coaching exciting. When you see supervisees growing
and changing, and you know you are contributing to that growth - that's one of
the most exciting things that can happen to you as a supervisor and StaffCoachTM.
you recall, you should use your coaching role for supervisees who are performing
above their fob standards. In the coaching role, your primary goals are to practice
involvement that builds trust, clarify and verify your team communications, affirm,
motivate and inspire. Here are some of the results you can expect to see when
you are effectively performing that role.
o Clarification of performance expectations
Changes In point of view
o Increased self-sufficiency/autonomy
into behavior and feelings
o Acceptance of difficult tasks
Clarification of performance expectations
When you properly perform the
coaching role, both you and your team members have a clearer understanding of
what performance is expected. Because you talk with your supervisees, you have
a clearer picture of what each can do. And they get a clearer picture of what
you expect. Quite often, this increased communication inspires both of you to
2. Changes In point of view
you are involved, respectful of team-member opinions and affirming their skills
and goals, you will learn more about the other person's point of view. And because
you are encouraging and inspiring others, you will be changing their points of
view - helping them catch a new and broader perspective and professional vision.
An important outcome of effective coaching
is the increase in the self-sufficiency and autonomy of team members. Being coached
should help give team members a freeing new identity ... a sense of importance.
It imparts confidence. It gradually eliminates the individual's need to prove
his worthiness. Instead, it allows team members to rechannel "ego-energy"
into collective goals. Once team members are secure about how you view them ...
and how they can perform ... they are ready to energize teammates who may not
be as self-sufficient. If you coach a team like that, congratulations! You're
doing exactly what a great coach is supposed to do!
Insight Into behavior and feelings
There's an important concept you need
to understand as a coach: Thoughts become feelings and feelings become behavior.
Sounds simple enough, but unless you are conscious of the process, you can fall
into the habit of responding to supervisees with emotional "knee jerks."
You will be more likely to react negatively to the supervisees who have typically
been difficult - and more likely to react positively to those who haven't made
waves. That can be very damaging to growth - yours and the team's.
Because it reinforces the subconscious idea that supervisees are valuable only
when they perform at expected levels. And, as we've discussed, that kind of message
does not "free" people to be people!
three-step process to monitor the "knee-jerk" response tendency:
someone does or says something that bothers you, instead of blowing up, stop and
take a deep breath. Then, ask yourself three questions:
" What part of this problem is the employee's and what part may be mine?"
instance, have you ever been given "great" tickets to a sporting event,
only to discover that you are much farther from the field or court than you imagined?
You find yourself sitting there seething inwardly about the injustice of it all
... even when the seats are free!
The same situation can occur in the work
environment when team-member attitudes or actions conflict with your expectations.
Someone's choice of clothing may seem inappropriate for a client presentation.
Someone's phone manner may seem grating or insensitive. Maybe those observations
are true and need to be addressed. But first examine yourself - avoid a "knee-jerk"
response! You may find the difficulty lies in your negative expectations, not
in the employee's actual behavior.
b. "What is the specific
feeling that I'm choosing to feel because of this action?"
Note the key
word, "choosing." You have the ability to reject or accept feelings.
As a coach, you have the responsibility to do that!
is the root reason for my feelings?'
What lies at the core of your anger, frustration,
disappointment or bitterness? Does it really bear on this specific action or does
it have its roots in something totally unrelated?
None of us
approaches any experience totally free of experiences that preceded it. And that's
good. After all, if we didn't learn from bad experiences and use that knowledge
to avoid repeating them, we would be in trouble. But, if we're not careful, we
can also allow experiences from the past to hinder or prevent positive responses
in the present.
The truth is, a bad haircut really can cause us to respond
more negatively to people and events than we would normally. An unexplained dent
in your new car can make you sound curt to a client on the phone. But, knowing
that, a coach must evaluate his responses -otherwise, your team members will begin
to feel like children waiting for Mom and Dad to be in a good mood before approaching
them with something important.
Have you ever been upset and
not really known why? Someone asks, "What's wrong?" and you say, "I
don't know." And you really don't. You're not in control. When you ask yourself
the three questions listed previously, you're getting yourself under control so
you can talk to supervisees as an adult and not as an irate parent trying to punish
a child for doing something wrong. Act ... don't react!
of difficult tasks
There's one more outcome you can expect if you have
effectively assumed the role of coach. Your team members will accept increasingly
difficult tasks. This is a natural result of team members having a clearer understanding
of your expectations - as well as the confidence to work more independently. And
it's important for you, as a coach, to encourage that growth. Challenge your supervisees.
Let them know that you have confidence in them. Let them know you think they are
"unlimited resources." Let them know you think they can do and be whatever
they choose - and they will!
joined the staff of a private Southern college as director of food services just
three weeks after the former director had died suddenly in an automobile accident.
When the associate director learned he would not be offered the vacated post,
he resigned immediately. So Nancy took over a 37-person team with only four days
to review records, accounts, menus and personnel files as well as inspect the
campus food-service complex.
Her first act as director was
to call a Saturday morning meeting (well before any of the food facilities were
expected to be active) of the entire food-service staff to do five things:
2. Assure everyone that someone was at the helm
with rumors surrounding the associate director's resignation
4. Discuss her
5. Answer any questions team members might have
she covered her first three points, Nancy passed out a list of her short-term
goals. She also placed them on an overhead projector while she spoke. Her goals
1. To meet with every employee in the next two weeks to discuss:
The strengths and weaknesses of the school's food-service program from each employee's
point of view
b. The special concerns and dreams of each employee
for growth - the employee's as well as the program's
2. To thoroughly familiarize
herself with working environments in all five food-service outlets: the Student
Union Cafeteria, the alum and faculty "Regency Restaurant" (also located
in The Union), The Snack Shop and the two dormitory cafeterias - and to hold team
meetings with the complete staffs of each.
3. To establish an Administrative
Committee to function in the vacated role of associate director. The committee
would be composed of the five current staff supervisors, plus three team-elected
members. The duties of the committee were to be defined in upcoming brainstorming
The time Nancy had anticipated for the question
session proved too short. Many members had questions. It was apparent that loyalties
to the associate who resigned existed - as well as much anger at the president
over treatment and salary issues.
Nancy noted each remark or
complaint on overheads for all to see. By the time the session was over, she had
11 note-packed overhead transparencies! Nancy concluded the meeting by promising
to transcribe each remark, to study each and to report her conclusions to everyone
within one month.
The days ahead were busy ones for Nancy.
She asked for and was given an office in the Student Union building instead of
the office of the past director. She met daily with the five supervisors to discuss
operations and to brainstorm methods to improve service and profitability. She
met daily with at least two members of the food-service team, with one during
breakfast and the other over lunch, getting to know more about each, and generally
covering the three areas she had outlined for them in her introductory meeting.
month later, Nancy called another early morning team meeting. She opened that
meeting by welcoming the "Food Brood." At that point, she turned the
meeting over to the Food Service Administrative Committee, who passed out folders
titled, "Where We Are & Where We're Going Together!" covering:
The new Committee-created Mission Statement
2. Ten new employee policies and
benefits based on employee remarks in the introductory meeting
3. A new "profit
sharing" bonus plan tied to each facility team's ability to create and implement
new cost-saving, revenue-generating measures
each folder was an "Impressions and Evaluations" form employees
were encouraged to complete and return to their team leaders in one week.
the meeting was opened for questions. Committee members answered the surprisingly
few questions that were asked. When it was apparent that there were no more questions,
Nancy stood to conclude the meeting. She began by requesting a round of applause
for members of the Administrative Committee. It was their efforts, she assured
the group, that made the many positive new steps a reality. Then she expressed
her gratitude to the president, who had reviewed the entire plan just presented
and had approved it wholeheartedly. She then thanked the entire group for the
fun of working alongside them, for allowing her to get to know them and for the
loyalty and commitment she saw in each person. She concluded by telling the group
that in only a short time every member had made her feel like "family."
Nancy Evans demonstrated real coaching strengths in the
scenario you just read. You get the feeling that her food-service team is going
to benefit greatly from her leadership, don't you? Now let's focus on a few specifics
that may give you deeper insights into the scenario - and into your own team/coach
1. What did the associate director's resignation tell you about
the leadership style prior to Nancy's arrival? What message might the resignation
have sent to the 37-member staff?
2. In her two total-team meetings, do you
think Nancy communicated clearly? How?
3. Did she provide opportunities to
verify employee understanding? How?
4. Was Nancy's choice of offices significant
to you? Good or bad? Why?
5. Was Nancy's decision to have an Administrative
Committee rather than an associate director a wise one? Why?
6. What other
"involvement" steps did Nancy take in her coaching role?
the food-service team be motivated and inspired by the plans the Committee unveiled?
Why or why not?
8. Do you think Nancy did anything to help eliminate resentment
toward the president expressed in the first team meeting? Explain.
9. Do you
think her concluding remarks about "family" were appropriate? Explain.
may be thinking, "If only this coaching business was as easy to do as it
is to write about." Agreed! But the encouraging fact is that real-life situations
... much more chaotic and potentially disastrous than Nancy's case study ... have
been and are being handled capably by StaffCoachingTM principles. This is not
pie-in-the-sky thinking - it can mean cake-in-the-plate results.
William (ed.), Coaching, Mentoring and Managing, National Press Publications:
New Jersey, 1996
The article above contains foundational information. Articles below contain optional updates.
Reflection Exercise #4
The preceding section contained information
about what to expect when you are coaching supervisees the right way. Write three
case study examples regarding how you might use the content of this section in
What are 5 results you can expect when you are supervising effectively?
Record the letter of the correct answer the