Leaders are only as successful as the people who report to them. This is why it is important to develop your reports to be the best that they can be. Not only does their success directly reflect well on you but you strengthen your team to meet new challenges.
Coaching is not just a tool for correcting behavioral or work related issues. It is a tool that can be used to develop and improve your employees. Developmental coaching can be used to “fine-tune” an employee to improve them at their current job and improve your team overall.
If you want to improve an employee and your team there is no better investment of your time as a manager than developmental coaching. By adding knowledge and skills you will empower your employees to take on greater challenges and reap greater rewards.
The first step in developmental coaching is to identify the employees and the areas they need to improve in. Start with those who will benefit the most as an employee and those who will strengthen your team.
Meet With the Employee
Meet with the employee to explain what you are doing. Ask them for feedback like areas they feel they need improvement on. Everything should be positive and constructive. The goal of the meeting is to gather information about areas that need improvement , encourage the employee to improve and get a commitment from the employee.
After the meeting take all of your notes and use your own knowledge about the employee and the team to identify your goals for improvement.
- Analyze which competencies are the most critical for the employee to develop in performing their current job and build them first.
- Determine which competencies are the most critical for the employees contributions to the team and the business.
- Select no more than one or two areas for development at a time to keep both you and the employee focused.
- Don’t just look for an employees weaknesses, look to develop their strengths even further.
- Determine what your resources are. Available training from the company, from other employees, and from yourself.
- Determine how much time you and the employee can devote to developmental coaching.
Develop a Plan
Once you have identified the employees and the areas for improvement you need to create a developmental plan.
- Pick the one or two areas for development you will concentrate on for the employee.
- Create a chronological list of learning activities that will develop the employee in these areas.
- Create a list of dates and actions the employee will take such as taking company provided training or training from another employee.
- Create a list of dates and actions you will take to aid in the development of the employee in these areas.
Implement the Plan
Meet with the employee again to review the development plan with them. Take time to listen to any issues they have with the plan and adjust if needed. You want to get a commitment from the employee, but you do not want to compromise your goals.
Developmental coaching should be implemented as part of the employees work. It should not be a distraction from their current job, but you must allow them time to do it. Depending on the area of development it can be as little as one hour per week or as much as several hours of company provided training.
Evaluate the Outcome
Once the development plan is complete you need to come back and reevaluate the employee to see if it was successful.
- Has the employee improved in the desired areas?
- Is more time or training needed for optimal development in an area?
- Are there any lessons you learned that will make you a better developmental coach?
- What further areas of development does the employee need?
- What other employees need development?
Once you have answered these questions you can begin a new development plan. Use the same priorities as you did before. The goal is the strengthen the employee, the team and the business.