How Leaders Can Support Positive Growth by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC
Coaching is a powerful tool for creating meaningful change. This can include a change in the personal and professional spheres, with many types of growth a benefit in both areas of life. Sometimes, the coaching process focuses on creating a specific level of improvement that is required either by the individual being coached or by the organization.
Leaders who use coaching as their leadership style often use coaching to help drive personal and professional growth and improvement. In these sessions, the employee or individual being coached assesses current strengths and weaknesses and then creates a plan to build on areas of lesser abilities to boost overall productivity and improvement.
Make it Personal
One of the reasons coaching is more effective than simply doing a performance review is that it is personal to the individual. The coach does not set arbitrary expectations, KPIs, performance measures, or desired levels of achievement.
Instead, through questions and discussions, the individual and the coach assess where the individual sees areas for improvement and growth. These may include areas where the individual is already meeting expectations but wants to do even better. It can also include areas where the individual and the leader/coach acknowledge there are gaps or missing skills, talents, knowledge, or abilities. When the individual can identify these and feel safe and unjudged, he or she can develop a personalized growth plan that leads to improvement.
Keep It Real
Keeping the coaching process as a real-time and real-world exercise in working together is another way to support the employee in making improvements. By setting big-picture goals and breaking those down into positive, measurable, and timely steps, the entire process becomes manageable and not overwhelming or daunting.
Asking questions as the coach to ensure the individual can meet these milestones helps to generate motivation and a sense of accomplishment and growth. Simple questions by the coach can include:
- Do you see any challenges in meeting this milestone?
- How can I support you?
- What resources will you need to meet these milestones?
- Who needs to be aware of or involved in this plan?
- Why is this goal important to you?
- What is motivating about achieving this improvement or making this change?
Make Coaching a Workplace Process
Coaching should be a workplace process used by everyone from the CEO to the newest entry-level employee. Coaching individuals needs to be part of the process of supporting everyone and not just targeting some employees who may be struggling. By making coaching a process for all, it becomes a positive part of the workplace culture where everyone continues to strive for improvement and excellence in a meaningful and personally motivating way.