Coaching in the workplace happens every day; there are many coaching opportunities during the daily interaction between leaders and their team members, and being a great leader means identifying and taking advantage of these moments to help improve your employees’ performance and the culture of the company as a whole.
I’ve put together a list of 7 ways to coach others, and while some may seem a little obvious, they are fundamentals that we should always be working on if we want to be the best leaders we can be.
1. Never underestimate the power of positivity
You all know how big a believer I am of the power of positivity! When you’re someone who’s truly dedicated to leading and supporting others to bring out their best, you radiate positivity and sincerity.
Coaching often involves giving feedback, and we’re all much more receptive when feedback is coming from a positive place rather than a negative one! Positivity is also infectious, so you’ll be brightening up the whole workplace too!
2. Develop real relationships and build trust
Just because you’re the leader doesn’t mean your team automatically trusts you. Trust is something that must be earned, and the best way to do this is by treating your team as more than just numbers – get to know each person individually, and find out their goals and motivators.
By showing a genuine interest in your team as people, you’re demonstrating that you’re a leader who’s focused on others, not just themselves. This will build your teams’ trust in you and allow you all to work together much more effectively.
3. Use SMART goal setting
The SMART goal setting technique is fantastic. It’s one of my favorite coaching and performance tools, and I recommend any leader worth their salt use it regularly.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based, all of which are pretty self-explanatory. Giving your goals a clear structure and breaking them down into smaller and more achievable goals ensures a higher chance of success – introduce it to your team if you haven’t already, and see the difference it makes!
4. Give (and ask for) feedback
Regular feedback helps keep everyone on track and identifies issues before they turn into bigger problems, as well as providing motivation and encouragement. You’ll also identify any knowledge gaps or training that’s required, and find out if there are any other resources your team feels they may need to better achieve the results you’re after.
It’s important to remember that great leaders don’t just give constructive and helpful feedback, they ask for it as well. How can you improve and get better if you aren’t getting anyone else’s point of view?
5. Use open-ended, not closed, questions
While you can’t always avoid the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions, you need to make sure the bulk of your questioning is made up of open-ended questions so that you can encourage others to share their feelings and thoughts in more detail. You’ll be able to identify what needs improving, as well as current attitudes and whether everyone understands what needs to be done.
6. Promote transparency
Transparency is another way to build trust and foster open communication and to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Transparency helps form and maintain relationships, and encourages consistency. By being open about your own journey, you’re showing your team that you are relatable and not infallable – dismantling the ‘leaders must be perfect and never wrong’ stereotype is vital to building positive employee relationships. Demonstrating openness encourages those around you to do the same and allows you to lead by example, which is a much more effective way to lead than the old ‘do as I say, not as I do’ way of thinking.
7. Use motivation to drive performance and improve results
Find out what drives your team, both as a whole and individually, and you’ll know how to inspire them to perform better and achieve greater results. For example, some team members may be motivated by being given more responsibility so you might increase the scope of their role to allow them to explore how they fare with the added commitment and demonstrate the trust you have in their abilities. Feeling valued and appreciated inspires your team members to work harder, to repay the trust you’ve put in them.
These 7 ways to coach others will help improve your leadership by allowing you to build stronger workplace relationships and foster the trust, communication, and openness necessary for you and your team to be successful.
Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organizations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.
For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realize what it takes to be a truly great leader.
Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognized as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.
She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognized for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.
Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humor will enhance any event she appears.