As another installment to our series on the 6-Step Coaching Tool, we follow up on the post outlining the first three steps of the tool (state your observation, stop talking and reminding the employee of their/your goals) with a deeper dive into steps #4-#6.
Like the Therapist on the Sopranos (see picture at right), the final steps of the coaching tool is all about letting the
patient employee come up with the solutions. With this in mind, once you have made your observation (Step 1), Stopped talking and let the employee respond (Step 2) and reminded them of the goals (Step #3), here's your next steps:
Step 4 - Ask Questions. Not just any questions, but questions that put the accountability on the employee for how they are going to improve/fix the area of concern. My favorite - "What will you do differently moving forward to improve in this area?" - puts the burden the employee to find the solutions, then makes them an owner of the improvement moving forward. Much more effective than you telling them what to do. Be ready in this step to prompt them if they don't hit the areas you need them to hit. Example - "Since we are talking about combative responses to email, what will you do differently the next time you get an email that angers you?"
Step 5 - Agree Together - On what you have heard the employee say they could do to fix the area of concern. This involves you providing a summary of what the employee has agreed to. This stage is all the manager - no participation by the employee with the exception of you asking them if the summary is correct at the end of your statement to ensure buy-in. Feel free to include dates/deliverables as appropriate.
Step 6 - Close Upbeat! Remember - this is informal coaching, not corrective action. Studies show that employees are much more likely to improve in a performance area if they believe you have confidence in them. Put it in your own words, but always close positive to ensure they get this feedback and warm fuzzy...
So that's it for the tool - use it today, including making silence work for you - and see how it feels. It's part of your role as "Manager/Thespian".... After all, management is an art, not a science.....