3 leadership tips for performance coaching
Thursday, July 31, 2014
The business world is changing. Team members are not looking for bosses, but leaders. This holds particularly true for millennials, who want to be coached in the workplace. With the right guidance, they will perform beyond expectations.
The challenge is that many leaders are not equipped with the tools to effectively coach their teams and team members for maximum performance. Here are three tips that will make your coaching sessions more effective.
1. Use metrics properly
Metrics are great tools to evaluate the performance of your team but, if not properly used, become meaningless and lose their power. To start, identify metrics that are relevant to each team. The number of outbound calls made is a good metric for your sales team, but has little relevance for your IT team.
The next step is to set the time frame and target for each metric. This can include multiple stages, such as an annual target of $X revenue with smaller monthly or weekly targets to discuss at meetings.
Quick side note here: Use several metrics when evaluating the performance of your sales team. Revenues alone cannot give you the complete picture as your sales associate might be hitting above the target number of calls and landing above the target number of meetings, but is not a strong closer. Using multiple metrics helps identify barriers and the subsequent strategies to overcome them.
Once the metrics are defined, their relevance to your team needs to be known. This requires explaining the impact of falling short and holding every team member accountable in his or her efforts to achieve the target.
The failure of many leaders is focusing on the group rather than drilling down to identify the individual's impact. Too often in these meetings we hear that "we are behind in sales" and then we move on without taking any action steps to correct. As leaders, we need to identify those who are struggling and excelling so we can then set individual targets and action plans for each.
2. Empower and support
Rewards and repercussions are the traditional way to motivate and add accountability. However, if we coach and lead based on metrics and create a collaborative environment where team members support each other, achieving targets becomes part of the culture.
We all tend to focus on the past, but good leaders look to the future. Instead of searching for explanations for poor performance, discuss ways to improve moving forward. This is where using multiple, individualized metrics enhances your ability to coach and lead your team.
Some leaders find they dread their "one-on-one" performance meetings and they end up repeating what they covered in the team meeting. Using the metrics not only helps your team focus in on the areas of improvement, but makes being a leader easier as well.
In these sessions, collaborate with your team member to identify solutions and empower them to try new approaches. Be prepared to support them if their idea doesn't work. Despite our best efforts, external factors may negatively impact the success of our team. With support from their leader, empowered teams find solutions when these external factors appear, but these are short-term solutions.
3. Be open to ideas
Short-term solutions are exactly that. Ongoing negative external influences can significantly impact the confidence and satisfaction of your team. Good leaders do everything they can to minimize or eliminate these external factors. Great leaders turn to their team for solutions.
Even the best leaders can be blinded by routine or procedure that may limit their abilities. Your team knows firsthand the challenges that result when things go awry and may have ideas on how to fix or improve systems and procedures.
We need to be able to let go of our perceptions and attachment to what we have been doing and recognize when a new idea is valid. Being open to feedback and implementing positive changes not only rallies your team around you but also builds team morale.
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