Coaching FOCUS ON
• The Building Blocks of Great Coaching • Coaching and the Power of Self-Assessment • Leaders as Coaches • 10 Must-Haves for a Coaching Program • Coaching Explodes Training Value • When Training Sales Managers to Coach Is Not Enough
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THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF GREAT A COACHING A high-impact coaching g program contributes to an organizational culture off personal and professional development and continuous learning. By y Damian Goldvarg, Ph.D., MCC, International Coach Federation (ICF), Masterr Certiﬁed Coach and 2014 ICF Global Board Chair
rganizations of all sizes and across all sectors face a common challenge: the task of crafting a strategy to leverage talent and nurture present and emerging leaders in service of a brighter future for the organization and its stakeholders. Indeed, according to ﬁndings from The Conference Board’s CEO Challenge 2014 survey, human capital— how best to develop, engage, manage, and retain talent—is the leading challenge facing today’s global leaders. A growing number of organizations are responding to this challenge by incorporating professional coaching into their existing training and development plans. Deﬁned by the International Coach Federation (ICF) as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential,” coaching is used to help individuals dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while also honing their leadership skills and unlocking their potential. By deﬁnition, coaching is distinct from training. Whereas training programs are designed around a set group of objectives determined by the trainer or instructor, the coaching process is client driven and, more often than not, nonlinear. However, these are the differences that make professional coaching such a valuable addition to existing training and leadership development programs. As a highly individualized, adaptable, just-in-time intervention, coaching can be tailored to the needs of each recipient to maximize the beneﬁts of training by
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reinforcing new learning and providing personalized opportunities for application. Indeed, an Executive Coaching study by Gerald Olivero, K. Denise Bane, and Richard E. Kopelman showed that a program combining training and coaching increased participants’ productivity by 88 percent, versus the 22.4 percent increase shown by managers enrolled in a training-only program. If you’re considering adding a coaching component to your organization’s existing portfolio of training and development offerings, heed these four tips to set the coaching program up for success: 1. Be selective. The most successful organizational coaching programs set high standards from the outset when it comes to practices and personnel. Depending on their programmatic goals and the resources at their disposal, organizations may choose to utilize a pool of external coaches, a cadre of internal coaches, or a combination of external and internal practitioners. Regardless of which approach your organization decides to take, being selective is key to ensuring coaching’s success. Leaders of award-winning internal coaching programs, such as the one developed by Defense Acquisition University (DAU) for the United States’ defense acquisition workforce, stress the importance of a rigorous coach selection and training process. Of DAU’s 600-plus faculty members, only eight to 10 individuals per year are nominated for coach training. This select group then participates in an intensive program that includes classroom training, hands-on coaching
practice, and collaboration with an experienced mentor coach. Once qualiﬁed, DAU’s coaches must fulﬁll continuing education requirements and maintain a roster of at least one active client per year. Organizations using external coaches are advised to be equally stringent in their requirements. Many coaching decision-makers have found that coaches who hold an ICF Credential are well-positioned to help individuals, teams, and organizations meet their goals. To earn an ICF Credential, applicants must demonstrate coaching that shows an understanding and mastery of the ICF deﬁnition of coaching and the 11 ICF Core Competencies appropriate to their desired credential level; they also must log a set number of hours in professional coaching practice. ICF industry research has shown that organizations that work with an ICFcredentialed coach are more likely to recommend coaching to others than clients that do not. 2. Make coaching work for you. The best coaching programs are designed to align with an organization’s key values, goals, and priorities. Identify coaching objectives that have a clear link to strategic objectives, such as improved customer service, heightened productivity, and greater innovation. Furthermore, seize the opportunity to apply coaching as an enhancement to existing training and development programming in order to maximize the return on all of your organization’s human capital investments. 3. Create a ripple effect. According to the 2013 ICF Organizational Coaching Study, coaching takes hold in many organizations thanks to a trickledown effect, with senior leaders trying coaching for themselves, experiencing its beneﬁts, and becoming advocates for a wider-scale rollout of coaching across the organization. Get the buy-in of top-tier leaders early in your coaching program’s life, and it’s more likely your program will stick. Once you have gotten the buy-in of senior leaders and turned them from coaching recipients to coaching champions, make full use of their enthusiasm to spread coaching throughout the organization. Even if time or budget limitations prevent you from making one-on-one or team coaching available to every individual in the organization, it is still possible to build the
foundation for a coaching culture via initiatives such as coaching skills training for managers and leadership development courses oriented around coaching competencies. 4. Make time for evaluation. Tracking the impact of coaching within your organization is a must. In addition to enabling you to justify the investment of time, dollars, and energy in the program, frequent assessment and evaluation will empower you to course-correct as necessary to ensure the program continues meeting all strategic objectives. Many successful coaching programs have adapted models for measuring the impact of training, such as Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation, to assess the ROE and ROI of coaching. Other organizations depend on coaching-speciﬁc techniques for calculating ROI, such as the step-by-step approach put forth by Patricia Pulliam Phillips, Jack J. Phillips, and Lisa Ann Edwards in their 2012 volume, “Measuring the Success of Coaching.” Don’t discount other, supplementary methods for evaluating the impact of coaching on your organization. Canada’s JOEY Restaurant Group, which launched its award-winning coaching program in 2008, uses external surveys completed by employees as part of the Best Workplaces in Canada program to track engagement and satisfaction. JOEY’s chief operating ofﬁcer, Al Jessa, says he believes the organization’s annual appearance on the Best Workplaces list from 2010 to the present is proof of coaching’s impact. Many organizations track climbing demand for coaching as an additional indicator of a program’s success. Finally, be sure to collect testimonials from coaching recipients satisﬁed by the experience. In addition to providing powerful anecdotal evidence of coaching’s effectiveness, these ﬁrsthand stories can be repurposed into materials for promoting the program within your organization. It’s possible to build a high-impact coaching program that enhances existing training and development offerings and contributes to an organizational culture of personal and professional development and continuous learning. All it takes is a strong foundation. training MAY/JUNE 2014
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COACHING AND THE POWER OF F SELF-ASSESSMENT Asking g questions to guide the coaching g conversation is more effective than telling. When employees come up with their own developmental plan, they’re more likely y to buy y into and implement it. Byy Terence R. Traut, President, Entelechy, Inc.
oachingg seems to havee come off agee in businesses today. Seen as a simple, effective wayy to build talentt (critical as organizations emergee from a cripplingg economy) and engagee employees (keyy to retainingg top talent), coachingg is thee “new w bigg thing” in managementt and leadership developmentt circles. The problem is thatt forr many, coachingg isn’tt working.
COACHING DEFINED Forr some, thee problem is thee deﬁnition off coaching— coachingg mayy bee seen as a “kinder, gentler” way off tellingg someonee to shapee up orr else. Certainly as manager, you need to address unacceptable performancee and help raisee itt to att least acceptable, butt that’s a correctivee action (orr performancee improvementt orr problemsolving) conversation, nott coaching…att least nott how w wee deﬁnee it. Coachingg is used to takee acceptable—even good—performance to great. It’s tappingg into thee talentt thatt many off yourr betterr performers wish to release— and who wantt yourr help in doingg so. As managers, wee tend to focus ourr attention on performancee problems. Butt thatt leaves thosee who don’tt need immediatee attention— ourr bread-and-butterr performers—starving forr growth and developmental opportunities. Coachingg is forr thosee employees, who have both thee willingness and thee potential to grow w and develop. Developingg this untapped and eagerr talentt pool will bee thee bestt thingg you’vee everr donee as a managerr and leader—iff you do itt right. 56
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A SIMPLE COACHING MODEL Askk any managerr iff coaching is important, and 99 times out off 100, you’ll get a resounding, “Absolutely!” Askk any managerr why they don’t coach more (orr at all), and the answerr is usually, “I don’t have time!” Coachingg mustt bee simplee and efﬁcientt orr managers won’tt do it. That’s whyy in Entelechy’s coachingg model, thee manager/coach guides thee conversation byy asking threee coree questions: 1. “I know w you’vee been workingg on yourr [job-related skill] sincee wee lastt gott togetherr two weeks ago; how w has thatt been going?” 2. “Regardingg [thee job-related skill], whatt wentt well?” 3. “Is theree anythingg you mightt havee donee differently to havee been even moree effective?”
COACHING ISN’T TELLING There are manyy reasons thatt askingg questions to guide the conversation is more effective than telling. Most employees know whatt theyy did well and whatt they could do differently; tellingg them whatt theyy already
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Coaching know doesn’tt reallyy help them improve. When we as adults come up with ourr own developmental plan, we’re more likelyy to buyy into and implementt the plan. Questions help develop onee off thee mostt powerful muscles wee as adults have—self-assessment. Onlyy by askingg questions will thee manager/coach know w iff the employeee knows whatt hee orr shee did well and whatt hee or shee mightt do to makee things even better. Forr example, let’s sayy employeee Maryy is striving to improvee herr meetingg managementt skills, and her manager/coach satt in on a meetingg Maryy conducted yesterday. Thee coachingg conversation mightt go likee this: Coach (openingg performance probe): Mary, I know you’vee been workingg on yourr meetingg managementt skills sincee wee mett two weeks ago, and you’vee had a chance to plan and conductt several meetings, includingg thee one I satt in on yesterday. How’s itt been going? Mary: Overall, I thinkk it’s been goingg prettyy well! Coach (ﬁrstt “whatt wentt well” question): Great! What’s been goingg well? Mary: Well, I’vee found thatt providingg an agenda ahead off timee helps attendees focus theirr attention. Coach (supportingg and buildingg an accurate selfassessment): You’ree right, and havingg an agenda helps peoplee determinee iff theyy need to bee att thee meeting. Coach (second “whatt wentt well” question): Whatt else havee you donee thatt has helped yourr meetings? Mary: I’vee becomee a littlee moree focused in facilitating discussions. In thee past, I tended to lett things ramblee too much and wee would gett offf track. Coach (supportingg and buildingg an accurate selfassessment): I bett thatt also helps with makingg suree you end thee meetings on time. Coach (ﬁrstt “do differently” question): Thinkingg over thee lastt couplee off meetings, whatt mightt you havee done differentlyy to makee thee meetings even moree effective? Mary: I thinkk I need to do a betterr job off assigning action items; seems likee theree was confusion aboutt who was supposed to do whatt afterr lastt week’s meeting. Coach (supportingg and buildingg an accurate selfassessment): Yes, I agree. I thinkk yourr assigningg action items in yesterday’s meetingg worked well; we’ll seee in nextt week’s meetingg iff thee tasks weree completed. Coach (second “do differently” question): In addition to assigningg tasks, whatt elsee mightt you havee done differentlyy to makee thee meetings even moree effective? Mary: Hmmm… Well, wee did startt a bitt latee yesterday afterr waitingg forr two team members. I know w thee others 58
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weree gettingg a littlee frustrated. I thinkk I should justt start thee meeting, regardless off who’s runningg late. Coach (supportingg and buildingg an accurate selfassessment): I agree. I’vee found thatt iff you lett meetings startt to slide, soon others stop showingg up on time. Coach (summarizingg and supporting): Mary, you’re doingg a greatt job off buildingg yourr meetingg management skills! Keep providingg thee agenda ahead off timee and continuee yourr tighterr control overr conversations. Overr the nextt couplee off weeks, focus on assigningg action items and startingg on time. Iff you’d likee to touch basee before ourr nextt coachingg session, I’m here. I lovee thee progress you’ree making!
METHOD TO THE MADNESS Notee thatt wee askk thee questions in a speciﬁcc order. By askingg “whatt wentt well” questions ﬁrst, wee createe a positivee coachingg environment. And byy askingg forr what wentt well, wee ensuree thatt wee identifyy thee behaviors/ skills wee wantt repeated. Byy askingg “whatt would you do differently” questions last, wee leavee thee coacheee with the developmental priorities fresh in his orr herr mind. Note also thatt byy askingg each question twice, wee forcee the coacheee to digg deeperr in his orr herr self-assessment. Byy askingg questions, we’ree ablee to determinee whatt our employees need from us. Iff Maryy didn’tt know w how w to facilitatee discussions, wee could sharee somee insights or even send herr to training. Iff shee didn’tt pickk up on thee fact thatt team members weree gettingg frustrated byy thee late meetingg start, wee could havee offered herr tips to help her gaugee thee mood off thee team. Thee onlyy wayy to discover whatt thee coacheee knows orr doesn’tt know w is byy asking questions and listening.
OF COURSE, THERE’S MORE TO IT Thee greatt thingg aboutt thee coachingg questions is thatt they aree easyy to usee outsidee off formal coachingg sessions. For example, when you’ree debrieﬁngg a recentlyy completed projectt with thee team, you mayy ask, “So, how w do wee feel thee projectt went? Whatt wentt well? Whatt mightt wee have donee to makee thee projectt even moree successful?” Mostt importantly, byy developingg thee self-assessment musclee through thee usee off thee coachingg questions, you’ll ﬁnd yourr employees askingg thee questions off themselves withoutt yourr prodding. And isn’tt thatt whatt we’re all lookingg for—engaged employees improvingg their performancee and contributingg in increasinglyy meaningful ways to thee success off thee team and thee organization?
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LEADERS AS COACHES: EXPERIENCE IS NOT THE BEST TEACHER Yourr most experienced leaders may y be yourr worst coaches. They y may y need additional training g on delivering g messages in small, timely y chunks; active listening; and showing g appreciation. By y Jim Concelman, Vice President, Leadership Development, Development Dimensions International (DDI)
he airplane was bucking and kicking like a mad bull as we began our ﬁnal approach. The captain came on the intercom and using his calm, conﬁdent, The Right Stufff voice, assured us of a safe landing. “Folks,” he said, “your copilot and I have 27 years and thousands of hours of experience between us. And we have families waiting for us, too.” With that, the ﬂight crew wrestled the plane to a relatively smooth landing (and applause from the passengers). The pilots’ experience was reassuring, but equally important in this situation was the ongoing training, practice in ﬂight simulators, and recertiﬁcations these pilots underwent to ensure their skills supported their experience. For many professions—doctors, accountants, ﬁrst responders, etc.—ongoing training is required to ensure top performance. One profession that does not require ongoing training is leadership, where the vaunted 70-20-10 formula for development promotes experience as the pathway to proﬁciency (after some initial training). However, research shows that for one of the most important leadership skills— coaching—experience is a poor teacher. In a recent study, Driving Workplace Performance Through High-Quality Conversations, Development Dimensions International’s (DDI) analysis of thousands of assessments conﬁrmed that experienced leaders lack critical coaching skills.
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This research, which looked speciﬁcally at data from assessments of executives—typically the most experienced leaders in an organization—revealed signiﬁcant coaching skill deﬁciencies: • Ninety percent of executives are not effective in checking their understanding of a situation before moving on to addressing an issue. • More than half are not effective at encouraging involvement from others. • Eighty-nine percent are not effective in demonstrating interpersonal diplomacy. • Also, 89 percent are not effective in conveying performance expectations and facilitating clear agreement. • Ninety-ﬁve percent are not effective in openly disclosing and sharing their thoughts and feelings with others. So how do these experienced executives compare with newer front-line leaders? About the same. A similar analysis of more than 1,000 front-line leader assessments found there is little difference in levels of coaching skills. Clearly, experience alone does not develop or improve coaching skills. Perhaps this should not be a surprise. The fundamental skills and concepts of coaching remain constant, even as leaders gain experience and change roles; however, the environment has changed. Even a leader with a strong foundation of coaching skills must adapt and further hone his or her approach as the workforce and workplace evolve.
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Coaching So what does it take to be an effective coach in today’s turbulent environment? 1. GOOD COACHES USE TIME. Coaching now takes place via informal methods. Communication is immediate and 24/7. We interact with each other in short bursts, with direct reports who are in other cities or countries. The days of leading sit-down conversations across the conference table for a 30-minute coaching discussion are gone. That’s a luxury no one seems to have time for anymore. Today’s most effective leaders know how to coach “on the ﬂy.” They lead formal discussions with nontraditional or asynchronous means. These leaders coach by phone, by e-mail, and even by social media when appropriate. The coaching messages may be delivered now in smaller bites, but they still have purpose and importance. The leader connects the discussions and guides the employee through the coaching process over a series of conversations. This is not easy to do. Most leaders do not develop this skill on their own. What approach do ineffective leaders use? The approach we hear most often is “spray and pray.” That is, these leaders do a quick “tell,” disgorging all of their accumulated experience and hope it’s enough to prevent the person from failing or getting in trouble. We also see a lack of proactive coaching (i.e., coaching before a person takes on a difﬁcult task or assignment) and an increase in reactive coaching (providing advice after the fact). 2. GOOD COACHES ASK INSIGHTFUL QUESTIONS. A key part of coaching involves asking high-gain, insightful questions. While effective coaches will balance “seeking and telling,” great coaches make the most of the seeking opportunity. They remember to ask clarifying questions—those that will help employees discover insight into themselves, the situation, and the other people involved. These strategic questions lead to better solutions. They also foster higher levels of commitment to taking action in a coaching situation, whether it’s proactive coaching or reactive coaching. It works both ways. Some leaders discover this method through trial and error. They ﬁnd that, over time, when they ask these types of questions, the results are much better. However, savvy organizations do not leave this to 62
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chance as many smart businesspeople will not learn this through experience. In fact, our assessment data show that most leaders skip or do very poorly at clarifying. Active listening is a hallmark of the best leaders, but most need help to develop this critical skill. 3. GOOD COACHES SHOW APPRECIATION. Effective leaders ﬁnd ways to genuinely and regularly show appreciation for their employees. At DDI, we long have advocated the use of the “STAR” approach to provide relevant behavioral feedback. Using this model, a leader describes the Situation/Task (ST) the individual or group handled, such as a problem, opportunity, special challenge, or routine task. The leader also notes the Action (A) the person or group took, including what they said or did, as well as validating the positive Result (R). The STAR acronym also can be used as a shorthand reference to an especially effective model for showing appreciation: • The Situation over Time (ST): The leader has noticed the individual having an impact. • The relevant Attribute (A): What is it about the individual the leader knows he or she can count on? • The Result (R) or impact of the person’s attributes. STAR appreciation goes beyond behavior and recognizes who the person is, as much as what he or she does. But it can require a careful touch, which is why we view it as an advanced coaching skill— one leaders can develop only after mastering basic interaction skills.
THE DEVELOPMENT GAP Your most experienced leaders may be your worst coaches. The importance and impact of coaching rises as leaders move up the leadership pipeline. So does the complexity and difﬁculty of workplace challenges. Yet many managers and executives rely on skills learned in their ﬁrst years as a new leader. Just as we want experienced and well-trained pilots and doctors to handle our most challenging situations, we need capable leaders at all levels to navigate through today’s volatile and uncertain business environment. These leaders need more than just experience to be successful.
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10 MUST-HAVE INGREDIENTS FOR A COACHING PROGRAM Research shows that organizations with excellent cultural support forr coaching g have a 75 percent higher rating g forr talent management results than those with no orr weak k support forr coaching. By y Aja Duncan, Principal, Limitless Leadership Training & Coaching, and Steve O’Brian, VP, Client Services, Chronus Corporation
any organizations are discovering that the secret sauce to successful talent development is creating an effective coaching program—one that not only engages key talent but also drives strong organizational outcomes. A study from Bersin by Deloitte recently found that organizations with “excellent cultural support forr coaching had a 75 percent higherr rating forr talent management results than those with no orr weakk support forr coaching. Further, they had 13 percent strongerr business results and 39 percent strongerr employee results. The more cultural support forr coaching, the strongerr the results” (“High-Impact Performance Management: Maximizing Performance Coaching,” Stacia Garr, http://www. bersin.com/Practice/Detail.aspx?id=15021). As coachingg becomes a vital strategyy forr engaging and retainingg employees overr the next decade, companies are lookingg to create more effective, more efﬁcient programs. Startingg a program can seem overwhelming, so studyingg best practices forr program design can help. Here are 10 best practices to keep in mind as you develop yourr own organization’s recipe forr successful coachingg programs: 1. Deﬁne clearr goals and objectives. Withoutt a clear goal, itt is impossible to know where you are heading orr whetherr orr nott you everr arrive. Havingg speciﬁc program goals (overarchingg priorities) and deﬁned objectives (speciﬁc targets) is like havingg a precise destination and good directions. The best goals are ones that are created in
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partnership with key program stakeholders. Whose buy-in do you need forr the program to be successful? Involve representatives from these key groups in the early stages off program planning. These representatives, in turn, will become your program champions because they have a stake in the program’s success. 2. Targett coachingg populations att mid-level to increase impact. Coachingg often is used in organizations likee a precious salt, sprinkled in small amounts onlyy att thee top. However, to havee thee biggest organizational impact, coachingg should bee used more liberally, speciﬁcallyy targetingg mid-level managers. Thesee aree thee supervisors who havee thee greatestt impact on employeee engagementt and productivityy and who, with development, will continuee to advancee in the organization to ensuree its futuree success. When a leadingg national universityy faced increasing economicc challenges and thee need to makee signiﬁcant operational changes, itt invested its limited resources in leadership developmentt and coachingg forr mid-level managers. In its evaluation off program results, the universityy found thatt thosee managers who participated in thee program had higherr employeee engagement scores, higherr productivity, and improved departmental outcomes. In addition, moree than 30 percentt off the coached managers advanced to moree seniorr positions in thee organization. 3. Craftt compellingg communication to promote yourr program. Forr coaching programs to be effective, they must be high-proﬁle development activities that engage yourr best talent. Even in instances when the development is a top-down activity, it is important that the target audience understand the coaching
program and why they should be a part of it. Crafting compelling communication for dissemination in a variety of vehicles—staff meetings, success stories shared via e-mail, etc.—will ensure that talent is enthusiastic and committed to coaching. 4. Involve talent in the coach selection process. Effective coaching hinges on a strong relationship born of respect and trust between coach and employee. To create the most fertile ground for this kind of relationship, it is recommended that employees have some level of participation in the coach selection process. If possible, provide employees with a small, select pool of potential coaches, and let them make the ﬁnal decision. To create lasting learning, a positive coaching relationship with great chemistry is key. Online tools, such as coaching software, can provide a valuable means of effective matching, allowing employees to search through available coaches by region, areas of expertise, and other relevant criteria. Coaching software also enables program managers to track coach availability and make coach recommendations based on potential compatibility. 5. Establish clear expectations of a particular engagement. Coaching is about clarity, learning, and action. To set the stage for effective coaching engagements, it is important that the coach and employee reﬁne the development focus. While leadership may identify a broader skill area such as “inﬂuence,” it is up to the employee and coach to identify which elements of inﬂuence would be the most effective focal areas. Such reﬁnement is essential for development planning and establishing clear success measures. 6. Effectively manage, track, and measure progress. Wide-scale coaching programs require regular administrative oversight to ensure they are effectively managed. It is important to know if connections have been established, coaching engagements are taking place, and progress is being made. This critical step will help you make program adjustments and broadcast program success later. Embedded reporting functionality in coaching program management software can track coaching assignments and provide engagement metrics, and online survey tools can ensure managers have real-time feedback from employees and coaches on results. 7. Continuously reﬁne your program in response to feedback. Don’t wait until the coaching engagements
have ended before ﬁnding out how things are going. By getting regular feedback from program stakeholders, participants, and their coaches, you can identify any problems, misunderstandings, or subtle misalignments. 8. Communicate throughout the course of the program. Be sure to communicate regularly with employees in coaching engagements, with coaches, with program stakeholders, and to the organization overall regarding your important investment in talent development. While such regular communication can seem daunting, if you manage your program online, you can easily provide valuable progress metrics and streamline communication to keep the program visible and on track. 9. Evaluate impact. By now, you know how many people have been coached, what percentage of the target population they represent, how many times they have been coached, and their evaluation of the coaching engagement. You even know how much the program cost. But what about program impact? What effect did coaching have on departmental outcomes and organizational objectives? To truly understand impact, gather input from additional sources outside of the program participants. What do their direct reports say? What do their managers say? The use of online survey tools can help you easily gather and analyze this information. Additionally, evaluate other departmental metrics—such as increased sales, reduced cost, increased productivity, etc.—to evaluate the impact of the coaching program. 10. Share your successes. Sharing success stories is one of the most effective ways of motivating and inspiring others—whether you are seeking to expand coaching program reach, ensure leadership commitment, or even strengthen the reputation of the HR or Learning and Development function. Effective success stories show beneﬁt, provide a memorable fact/truth, deliver metrics, include an emotional hook, and create a sense of urgency. Coaching program participants are the best source of these stories and also can serve as one of the best means of getting these stories out into the organization. Proﬁle participants’ experience in a video on the company blog, have them participate in noontime panel discussions, or post their stories on the walls of the cafeteria. Be creative and get these stories heard. training MAY/JUNE 2014
COACHING EXPLODES TRAINING VALUE Quality y training g paired with managers ready y to coach and reinforce the training g is a powerful combination that can build the bottom line and increase employee retention. By y Tim Hagen, Author, “Coaching: Corporate America’s #1 Weapon,” and Creator, Progress Coaching Training System
oaching quickly is becoming a widely accepted strategy to develop employees, and those organizations that adopt coaching as a development platform will gain an advantage in the marketplace. So why aren’t more managers coaching theirr employees? Here are a few reasons: • Fear—they don’t know how • No time • Not my job • We have a training department • We hire good people • Ego—asking questions has an element of exposing themselves Logistically, employees leave training workshops or online modules to go backk to theirr jobs where they have a small window to apply what they learned. Too many studies reveal that training is lost within 30 days iff it’s not reinforced orr applied. Managers either support the training and learning process orr they don’t. Managers rarely intentionally devalue training; ratherr without coaching, they may indirectly not support training without even realizing it. At the end off the day, only one person is doing the employee’s end-of-the-yearr review. It’s not the outside consultant orr Training department. It’s the manager. How can the managerr truly evaluate an employee iff he or she is not engaged and/orr coaching that employee? What is the employee’s impression? Organizations riskk losing valuable employees iff managers are not engaged orr coaching.
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HOW COACHING CAN HELP We constantly talk about the importance of coaching and ways to do it better, but why should organizations incorporate coaching into their culture? Here are ﬁve top reasons coaching can help increase the bottom line of any organization and ultimately provide training an incredible opportunity to be viewed more valuably: • Engagement • Performance • Recruitment • Retaining Employees • Culture off Participation
REASON #1: ENGAGEMENT According to Gallup, off the approximately 100 million people in America who hold full-time jobs: • 29 percent are engaged • 21 percent are actively disengaged • 50 percent are not engaged The following is a typical scenario that happens every day: An employee enters his orr herr boss’ ofﬁce to askk a question. During the interaction, the boss peeks at his orr herr phone orr PC to see what e-mail came in. What is the employee feeling at that moment? Typically, he orr she emotionally shuts down orr immediately assumes the boss does not care. These moments can cause farr greaterr damage than managers even realize due to the pace they keep.
REASON #2: PERFORMANCE The typical managerr says the following…. • “We need to workk together.” • “We need to get ourr sales up.”
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Coaching • “We have to have positive attitudes.” • “We cannot let angry customers botherr us.” • “Blah…blah…blah” Performance does not “arbitrarily” go up. One of the most typical scenarios I see in corporate America is the leaders’ “rhetorical management” practices. You know, when the sales leader gets in front of the team and shares, “C’mon everyone we need to get our sales up.” Doesn’t the team already know that? What if two salespeople cannot negotiate or what if two people cannot handle price objections, etc.? These are typical challenges that require consistent training and coaching together.
REASON #3: RECRUITMENT Recruiting employees is costly. There are both direct and indirect costs associated with recruitment. According to the Wall Streett Journal, the median cost to recruit and retain an employee is between $2,000 and $3,700 each. One study estimates it can cost anywhere from 15 to 25 percent off a person’s annual salary. This provides Training leaders and theirr stafff incredible opportunities to develop metrics outside off the typical “Did they enjoy the class?” evaluation sheet. In addition, employees who aree engaged and coached aree farr moree likelyy to help theirr leaders recruitt new employees, thus, loweringg typical recruitmentt costs. In addition, it’s now w easierr than everr forr candidates to ﬁnd outt whatt a boss is likee to workk forr duee to social networks. This can eitherr draw w orr repel talent.
REASON #4: RETAINING EMPLOYEES According g to the latest Gallup poll, the No. 1 reason employees quitt theirr jobs is a bad boss orr immediate supervisor. “People leave managers, nott companies… in the end, turnoverr is mostlyy a managerr issue,” Gallup wrote in its surveyy ﬁndings. The effectt off poor managementt is widelyy felt. Gallup also determined thatt poorlyy managed workk groups are, on average, 50 percentt less productive and 44 percentt less proﬁtable than well-managed groups. Often, wee talkk aboutt trust—theree aree so manyy ways managers can build, as well as destroy, trust. For example, a coachingg managerr who schedules weekly sessions thatt aree engagingg with no distractions and ﬁlled with positivee reinforcementt will resultt in a loyal employee. On thee otherr hand, a managerr who only 68
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engages with employees duringg weeklyy stafff meetings in which he orr she does all the talkingg is less likelyy to retain employees.
REASON #5: CULTURE OF PARTICIPATION thatt encourage participation have employees who care aboutt more than justt their individual success. Theyy genuinelyy wantt to see others succeed. Coachingg cultures have employees who enjoy role-playingg (yes, I said it) and workingg with others even though itt mayy nott directlyy beneﬁtt them. Coaching cultures have employees who stayy late, volunteerr to workk with otherr employees, and participate in learning activities thatt drive greaterr performance. Theyy never restt on theirr laurels.
HOW DO ORGANIZATIONS START? • First, implement a coaching training program. The program should teach multiple ways to coach. • Have the Training stafff become trained and ultimately become coaching practitioners. This allows them to coach theirr managers’ employees while educating the managers so they can participate, as well. • Establish a support system such as best practices where scheduled sessions help managers practice theirr coaching skills. • Hold discussion group sessions where managers share theirr successes. • Develop a communication strategy in which successes and practices associated with coaching are shared. It’s vital to illustrate even small successes as resistance always will remain in pockets inside organizations.
DOES COACHING WORK? Yes, itt does! Qualityy trainingg paired with managers readyy to coach and reinforce the trainingg is a powerful combination. Justt askk Dave Stevens, directorr of Coachingg att Inpro Corporation. “Coachingg has allowed us to create pathways to success forr ourr employees. As a result, we have seen business growth in the double digits, high employee retention, and a culture that develops employees to be the veryy bestt theyy can be, as employees and as people,” he relates. “In addition, our coachingg regimen allows us to use coachingg as a major tool forr succession planningg as we typicallyy promote and hire from within forr future leadership positions.”
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WHEN TRAINING SALES MANAGERS TO COACH IS NOT ENOUGH Sales managers need to have a sales management k forr how w sales rep rhythm to provide a framework coaching g will be operationalized within theirr hectic daily y schedules upon theirr return from training. By Michelle Vazzana, Partner, Vantage Point Performance, and Coauthor, “Cracking the Sales Management Code”
he value of training sales managers to coach salespeople is gaining recognition. In fact, research from CEB found that salespeople who receive effective coaching from sales managers outperform those who don’t receive coaching by 19 percent (“The Dirty Secret of Effective Sales Coaching,” Harvard Business Review Blog Network, January 31, 2011, http://blogs.hbr.org/2011/01/thedirty-secret-of-effective). As you might expect, sales manager training programs in coaching are increasing in popularity as companies attempt to achieve similar double-digit performance improvements. The only problem? Many companies are ﬁnding that, despite their investment in training sales managers on how to coach sales reps, this coaching isn’t happening to the degree expected. In many cases, sales rep coaching isn’t happening at all despite sales managers receiving hours of training on how to coach. But is the training to blame? For many organizations, an underlying issue often hinders sales managers’ coaching efforts—it has little to do with the training itself, but has everything to do with the environment in which sales managers operate.
INHOSPITABLE ENVIRONMENT FOR COACHING Sales managers operate in a demanding, hectic environment that is not always conducive to effective sales rep coaching. Not only do sales managers have 70
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to respond to the demands of the executive-level sales leadership team above them, but they also have to serve the needs of the sales force they are managing. This often results in an ad-hoc schedule that leaves little to no time for sales managers to provide in-depth sales rep coaching. Just as you can train someone on how to use all of the equipment in an exercise room, if a person’s daily schedule is not built to allow for exercise, all of the knowledge of how to use the equipment will never be put to use. In the same way, sales managers receive training on coaching, but their busy schedules often get in the way of putting the coaching into practice. In reality, sales managers don’t need more training on coaching—instead, they need a way to structure their environment so they can put their training into action.
SALES MANAGEMENT RHYTHM That means sales managers need to have a sales management rhythm to provide a framework for how sales rep coaching will be operationalized within their daily schedules upon their return from training. A sales management rhythm can be deﬁned as the formal and informal interactions sales managers engage in to achieve sales goals. A sales management rhythm is built around the high-impact activities sellers must execute well. These high-impact seller activities form the foundation of what sales managers need to focus on during the course of a day, week, month, quarter, and year. A sales management rhythm helps sales
managers operationalize coaching into their daily schedule by answering key questions such as: • How often should coaching take place? Should it be weekly, biweekly, monthly, or quarterly? • Where should coaching take place? In the ofﬁce, in the ﬁeld, or via a Web meeting? • What is the right duration of coaching interactions and what is the best agenda to ensure comprehensive coaching? • What preparation is required by the manager and the seller? What are the outputs and where are they captured? A sales management rhythm must be based on a holistic view of sales managers’ priorities, objectives, and daily responsibilities. With such a view, sales leaders, trainers, and sales managers can work together to develop a framework and management rhythm that allots sufﬁcient coaching attention to the types of coaching that will have the biggest impact
on seller productivity. An effective sales management rhythm reduces unnecessary tasks, leaving room for coaching that is relevant, executable within the manager’s real world, and linked to desired outcomes. Understanding how sales rep coaching will be operationalized in a sales manager’s daily environment must be determined prior to training so sales managers immediately can implement the skills learned during training. By adding structure and time frames to key activities and interactions, sales managers—with the support of executive leadership—can reprioritize to focus their efforts to make sales rep coaching a priority. When managers develop a relevant, workable rhythm, knowledge gained during training on coaching is put into action, sales productivity increases, salespeople are more satisﬁed with their managers, and managers feel more in control of their teams.
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