Coaching others is one of the most important skills a leader can possess but is often undervalued or approached in the wrong way. Rather than viewing coaching solely as a tool for delivering difficult feedback, the most effective coaches use this skill as a complete performance-management tool. Through this lens, coaching is viewed as a broad, holistic development methodology, a powerful vehicle for delivering ongoing feedback and support, and a relatively simple way to keep the lines of communication open and consistent with all team members.
There are many benefits of establishing a healthy coaching culture in your organization, and enhancing a team’s performance by having regular coaching conversations is one of the most attractive potential outcomes. Let’s take a look at five ways coaching can improve your team’s performance.
1. Enhances Understanding of Blind Spots among Team Members
Coaching is tremendously helpful as organizations strive to create a productive and routine environment for their team members. In order to create greater harmony and teamwork, everyone needs to make some adjustments to their behaviors, skills, and style of working. Generally speaking, most people do not need to make major changes to fit into an organization’s culture or be a valued member of a team, but most of us do have some blind spots. If they are not discussed openly, these blind spots may prevent us from seeing the subtle changes and accommodations that need to be made to support the development of a highly effective team. Coaches who are skilled and courageous work to guide and support members of the team in making personal changes that will benefit the individual, the team, and the organization.
2. Establishes Boundaries and Expectations
Every new member of an organization will experience a learning curve as they work to understand their job as well as their larger role on the team and within the organization. Team-member orientation is a natural process that takes time and requires active coaching as people strive to understand what is expected of them, learn about the team and organizational culture and their role in it, and meet the demands of the job. Good coaches help people learn how best to contribute to the organization and meet critical performance expectations.
3. Provides Support and Facilitates Open Communication
It is not uncommon for people to experience disruptions and personal challenges that can cause their level of performance to drop. In these situations, coaching can be used as a mechanism to help people recover from adversity and challenges and return to acceptable levels of performance more quickly. This can help team members avoid formal performance-improvement plans or even separation from the organization and helps the organization avoid the tangible and intangible costs of employee turnover, recruitment, and onboarding.
4. Provides a Mechanism to Celebrate Success and Progress
One-on-one coaching can be a powerful tool for reinforcement and acknowledgement of important breakthroughs, achievements, and progress. When people are recognized for meeting targets and excelling in their roles, they feel seen and appreciated. This benefits the organization by strengthening communication, increasing team-member loyalty, and bolstering employee commitment and engagement. Coaching can and should also be used as a tool for continuous improvement, where the coach and coachee discuss how to repeat, sustain, and share new processes, insights, and best practices with other members of the team and organization.
5. Supports Change-Management Efforts
Coaching can be instrumental when new initiatives, plans, and strategies are introduced to the organization. In order to succeed with a strategic agenda and execute on the required change, people will need to adapt to new requirements, fulfill new roles, and perform new activities. Change can be uncomfortable for many people, and effective coaching can help people to understand how they fit and why they matter in the new structure. This helps spark higher levels of performance, facilitates acceptance of the changes being made, and helps people to elevate their performance.
Organizations will struggle to compete and deliver long-term value to customers and stakeholders if leaders don’t engage individuals and establish an active coaching regimen. Coaching is an essential leadership responsibility and learning how to coach people effectively has a cascading positive effect on the entire organization. To learn more about the skills of highly effective coaches and how to use them with your team, click here.