A Leader’s Calling: To C.O.A.C.H. One’s Team
Today, leaders are expected to empathize with their employees and manage their performance through coaching. You don’t simply tell your subordinates what to do; you empower them to make the right decisions through your knowledge, experience, and support.
In a study by the NTUC Learning Hub, 70% of respondents believe coaching boosts employee performance, 65% think coaching unleashes employee potential, and 59% feel that coaching increases employee engagement.
But how exactly does effective on-the-job coaching work? One proven framework for guiding and mentoring employees successfully is the C.O.A.C.H. model, which stands for Connect, Observe, Assess, Clarify and communicate, and How to change.
Let’s go through each component.
Successful leaders employ a personal approach to managing their teams. Effective on-the-job coaching requires a relationship that’s built on trust and psychological safety so that meaningful conversations take place.
How do you genuinely connect with your team?
One way is by asking them about their goals, struggles, hobbies, favorite activities, or travel stories. It doesn’t always have to be about work, but the savviest of leaders know how to bounce from work topics to life conversations without being intrusive.
After connecting with your team in a personal, but unintrusive way, it’s time to observe.
Be present in key workplace moments where they can get insight from you, like when your employee is doing a presentation, facilitating a meeting, or supervising a project. After witnessing or even participating in such scenarios, ask your employee some probing questions that allow him or her to see opportunities for improvement:
- What went well?
- What didn’t?
- What would you have done differently?
After observing and probing, you’re ready for behavior assessment.
When it comes to assessments, you can use tools such as:
- 360-degree or 180-degree feedback
- Multi-rater behavior assessments
- Questionnaires and surveys
Whatever tool you use, your goal is to understand how your employee’s performance compares to the requirements of his or her role. Your assessment should shed light on the behavior changes your employee should make to thrive at work. It should provide a roadmap for improved performance.
- Clarify and Communicate
At this point, you need to review the results of these assessments with your employee so there is a mutual understanding of what needs to be done based on the feedback collected. This feedback must be clear for both you and your employee. Otherwise, he or she won’t understand what behaviors to change, how it’s done, and why it’s necessary.
- How to Change
The real challenge for you as a leader is to close the gap between actual and expected performance for your team. One powerful way is to lead by example. When you demonstrate good, new behaviors daily, it motivates your team to do the same which in turn leads to improved performance.
Reinforce those newly learned behaviors by continuously providing useful feedback and helping them see the positive results of that change.