Coaching your team is one of the most generous gifts you can give them. It's a caring and personal way to help employees maximize their leadership potential. Everyone has an innate urge to grow and develop, and, as a leader, you're in a unique position to help people achieve this.
When it comes to coaching your team, you don't need formal training—unless you're planning to start a business as a professional coach. Just commit to helping others grow. Then open your heart and mind to see the hidden or unused talents that surround you and shine a light on them.
Generously share the knowledge, insights and wisdom that have helped you in your leadership journey with your people. Chances are someone saw your potential once and helped you believe in your leadership potential. Now may be your turn to develop the nascent leaders in your company by coaching your team.
So, where can you start when embarking on leadership coaching? Consider these three areas:
1. Raise your people's aspirations.
Focusing on the stars in the office is easy. They may be the ones who are always on the forefront, self-assured and vocal.
But what about the quieter members of the team? Those stalwarts who consistently do the work reliably without calling attention to themselves? They avoid the spotlight, are persistent and do what's required of them. These are the good lieutenants.
Consider shifting some of your attention to these individuals who may benefit the most from your coaching.
Here are a few tips to spark your thinking when coaching your team:
● Let them know that their loyalty and efforts have not gone unnoticed.
● Help them raise their aspirations. As a coaching leader, consider what path might be open for them, and guide them along that path.
● Ask them what talents do they have that they might have neglected.
● Consider how they might be able to take their talents to the next level. Then lay out the possibilities and explore them together.
● Evaluate any skills deficiencies as well. Is there a gap between their current skills and the skills they may need for the next step in their career? Help them fill the gap through coaching, mentoring, training and other development resources.
2. Coach people to be adept at handling conflict.
Imagine a culture where every team member can constructively manage all the inevitable conflicts that arise in the workplace. Coaching your team on conflict resolution may pay help with developing leaders.
Coaching your team to handle change like a leader helps them develop their own leadership presence.
A powerful tactic you can use is to hold a mirror up to your team members to help them raise their self-awareness when it comes to conflict management. For example:
Encourage them to develop their self-observation.
There are two parts to this: One is observing their thoughts and emotions in a conflict situation, and the other is observing their behaviors and actions. Self-awareness precedes self-management.
Help them take control of the two conversations that happen in a conflict situation.
One is the content—what's said—and other is the body language—what's conveyed by facial expression and tone. Being mindful of both conversations is the mark of a leader who practices self-composure.
Teach them de-escalating behaviors.
What escalators might they use? Escalators are like throwing gasoline into a room on fire. They magnify the conflict. Examples of escalating behaviors are:
● stonewalling or
● issuing ultimatums.
You can help team members balance their reactivity by coaching them to use de-escalators instead. De-escalating behaviors include:
● allowing silence for reflection and
Help each team member understand their conflict resolution style.
Is there a member who always avoids conflict? That may not be the most prudent course in situations where a frank discussion may be essential in resolving issues. When coaching your team, you also have to assess their conflict resolution styles. Consider using some of the available assessments such as the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® Conflict Style Report.
3. Build teams that can competently manage change.
Being change-ready is an essential skill for anyone who wants to thrive in our rapidly-evolving business world.
Coaching your team to handle change like a leader helps them develop their own leadership presence. We attribute qualities of leadership to those who show aplomb and equanimity in the face of change. It helps team members attract positive attention that can be a boon in their career growth.
Coaching others to be change-ready involves three parts:
Coaching your team to understand the "why" for the change
Help people understand why ongoing transformation is an important aspect of doing business today.
● What are the benefits of the change initiative?
● What are the downsides of maintaining the status quo?
● Explain how the benefits may outweigh the potential downsides.
Encouraging people to anticipate change
Don't allow people to be complacent about the status quo. You can do this by periodically instituting small, incremental changes and communicating the importance of welcoming these changes as the ordinary course of doing business in today's modern era.
Doing this before a crisis necessitates a change may help people manage the shock of a change. This is because it can help acclimatize people to the idea of ongoing change. Small incremental changes can help people develop more fluidity in their thinking and become more adaptable to change as the status quo.
Helping people build their change management competency
You can help develop the hardiness of your team in coping with change.
There are two parts to consider in coaching your team in this key area.
First, their physical and emotional well-being. Encourage people to practice self-care.
We all know the usual ways of practicing physical self-care: adequate sleep, proper nutrition, and exercise. These three pillars of health are especially important when dealing with the stress of change.
You can help them cope with the vagaries of change. Just making space for them to articulate their fears about the downsides of the change can help. Also, encourage them to focus on the potential upsides of the change, and not just dwell on the downsides.
By establishing a set of actionable steps to deal with change, you can help strengthen people's ability to deal with change like a leader.
The mark of a great leader is the ability to bring the best out in people and to open doors for them to realize their potential. Great leaders are talent hunters, and coaching can help talented people think and act bigger and better.
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