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The ability to give constructive feedback is at the core of good coaching skills. How do you measure up in this area? Giving feedback can be a delicate tightrope walk, and the more you hone your skills, the better results you will get. When it is time to give feedback, ask yourself these three questions:
1. Is this feedback necessary and beneficial? If not, table your opinion, and focus only on feedback that is imperative and useful.
2. Does this situation give you the opportunity to point out observable behaviors or activities? Without having a clear sense of exactly what the employee is doing and how to they can make changes, mentioning an unclear or nondescript behavior or activity runs the risk of leaving your employee feeling helpless. Take the time to identify measurable behaviors.
3. How can you pose the situation as a learning opportunity versus a reprimand? This point is critical. If the employee walks away from the interaction having learned something about how to handle the next situation in a more productive way, then your role as coach has been a success!
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To coach is to act in a way that promotes the continual development of the skills of the people in your organization. ~Daniel A. Feldman, Ph.D
Do you enlist a “coaching approach” with your employees? How do you typically handle unexpected situations? Your daily habits feed right into your ability to foster a coaching environment. Here are some “coaching approach” basics:
Avoid being dictatorial. The next time you are about to launch into a list of marching orders for your staff, take a moment to prepare, so you can communicate in a deliberate way. Make the communication mutual and be attentive.
Maintain your composure. Keep yourself from using “off the cuff” remarks when responding to immediate situations. Instead, start by gathering information before spouting off a response.
Use each situation as a learning opportunity. Schedule time for debriefing what happened, and discussing how the situation could have been addressed in a new way. This will spur growth and reflection.
Keep a pulse on employee reactions. Give the employee time to deal with the latest turn of events and present you with a measured response.
At EDSI, we have been helping companies like yours develop their workforce for over 20 years. Browse our library of essential resources to get your organization on track.
As the vice president of product development, Mike overseas five skilled and experienced managers. Unfortunately, his team seems to be having conflicts and disagreements that get in the way of their work. They are arguing over inconsequential issues, and are getting sidetracked by personality differences. These problems then trickle down to the staff, which is creating more roadblocks to getting their work accomplished.
Mike is considering his possible solutions. Should he give the management team more supervision to get them back on track? How about addressing and solving each issue separately? These are just two ideas.
Our author interview this time is with Dr. Steve Gladis, coaching expert and author of over 13 books.
Thanks for taking time to talk with us, Steve. Let’s start by talking about how the role of coaching has changed in the last 10 years.
Coaching has evolved over the past 10 years to become more theory-practice centered. People are writing and teaching about the coaching practice, as a body of knowledge begins to emerge. Thus, it’s beginning to become a bit of a discipline much like communications emerged. Also, as CEOs get more comfortable with the coaching process, many are recommending coaching to their leaders. Finally, with the exit of baby boomers, there’s much more interest in both legacy coaching on the one hand and on-board coaching on the other.
How has coaching changed in the most recent downturn? Has organizational volatility affected the ability of managers/executives to track accountability, follow-through on execution and realistically expect results?
Certainly some organizations have retrenched financially; however, the more robust, forward thinking ones have continued to invest in the future and as a result will come out not only gaining market share but also developing healthier, more successful leaders.
What is the most effective way to be coached or coach others? For example, is a group setting just as effective as consistent one-on-one coaching sessions?
Anyone can coach another person—be an “accountability partner.” The best coaches listen for the story behind the story by asking the right questions. I think both group and individual coaching are equally powerful for different reasons. Groups carry the force of the team involved, while individual coaching focuses on the strong one-on-one relationship between coach and client.
Tell me how your humanitarian work has fed into your professional projects. Do you feel that adding a humanitarian project is critical to executive self-development?
I have a powerful belief that we should all “do well to do good.” If you’ve been blessed with gifts, you have a responsibility to give back. At this point in life, both my wife Donna and I are trying to give away as much of our time, talent and money as possible. I enjoy watching others use it to make their own way, and with the hope they’ll “pay it forward” to the next generation.
Thank you so much for your time, Steve.