Coach your Employees to Success!

Mar 4 09:24 2008 Kerrie Halmi Print This Article

Coaching your employees is crucial to your success as a leader, enabling you to develop your employees, retain them and free up your time to focus on more strategic initiatives. You need to coach all of your employees, especially your stars. Learn how to start coaching your employees if you haven't done it or how to hone your coaching skills if you are already coaching them.

Susan,Guest Posting an engineering director, was feeling very overwhelmed and frustrated. She had recently been promoted to a bigger job and was not sure how she would be able to manage more projects and more people. I was hired to be her coach and together, we realized that in order to succeed in the new position, she needed to start coaching her employees. She did, and is seeing the benefits already. Her employees are taking on more responsibility and are therefore happier. She has more time to focus on long-term planning for the department.

Coaching your employees is crucial. Some managers mistakenly believe that coaching only applies to "problem" employees, but nothing could be further from the truth. You need to coach all of your employees, especially your stars. By comparing "traditional" management with a coaching model, you can see the benefits of coaching:

- Traditional management assumes the manager has all the answers, while coaching assumes employees have knowledge. - In traditional management the manager gives advice, while in coaching the manager listens closely, and then asks appropriate questions to help employees find answers. - In traditional management it is difficult for employees to get anything done when the manager is physically gone. With coaching, employees have knowledge and can continue working when the manager is not physically there. - In traditional management, the manager is constantly fixing problems. In coaching, employees fix the problems and managers spend their time developing the employees. - With traditional management, managers say, "Here's what you should do." With coaching, managers say, "Tell me the options you have considered."

The result? When you manage traditionally, employees feel like they leave their brains at the door when coming to work. When you are coaching your employees, they are happier, more motivated and more productive.

One of the first steps you can take to start coaching your employees is to switch from a "tell" mentality to an "ask" mentality. When your employees come to you with an issue, resist the urge to quickly give them the answer. Instead, ask them questions about it. If you haven't been doing this, it may seem quite unnatural at first. Let your employees know what you are doing and more importantly, why you are doing it. Once you start asking more versus telling, you learn which questions resonate with different people and it becomes more of a habit.

Of course, this is more easily said than done. Coaching requires some specific skills, like observation and assessment, questioning, listening and feedback. Initially, coaching takes more time than traditional management. However, when your coaching results in employees solving issues themselves versus you giving them the answers, you will find that they are more likely to come up with the solution on their own the next time. In the long run, you will save time and have a stronger team.

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Kerrie Halmi
Kerrie Halmi

Kerrie Halmi of Halmi Performance Consulting specializes in increasing women's success in business through speaking, coaching and facilitation. Kerrie has over fifteen years of experience in the Human Resources field with such clients as eBay, Wells Fargo and Kaiser. She received her MBA from the University of Michigan. To learn more about coaching, join a teleclass on March 5, 2008. Register at

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