The recently concluded French Open Tennis championship and the ongoing ICC Cricket cup have engrossed people the world over. It doesn’t matter that one is a display of individual resilience & skill backed by months of hard work, while the other is about a cohesive team display on the day. Spectators will rally to support their favourites and celebrate success like it is a personal victory anyhow! The world of sports has always been a source of unbridled passion, intense learning and inspiration. It undoubtedly leads the way in skill mastery and mindset preparedness. How? By using performance coaching.
Performance coaching has become the mainstay of driving and improving performance. It is a personal and conversational process that facilitates discovery and unlocking of a person’s potential to maximize performance. Most organizations are continuously ‘raising the bar’ of expectations from their employees and the ask of leaders is to inspire people to strive for more and better. Performance coaching is a powerful yet intimate process that augments openness to personal learning and the ability to identify solutions to specific work-related issues. It creates a commitment and momentum with the individuals involved to get things done.
Performance coaching is a learnt skill and there are several models that give some structure and direction to the conversation. Understanding the model is almost never enough and post training skill practice with feedback from an expert coach is a good practice.
The Principles of Performance Coaching
To make performance coaching work for your employees, here are 6 principles to keep in mind:
- Coaching sessions should be planned and scheduled in advance
Performance coaching conversations are exploratory in nature. The employee and coach agree on the agenda and embark on a discovery journey to find solutions and remove barriers. The employee needs to be in an open and relaxed mind space to explore possibilities and commit to actions. On the other hand, the coach needs to be observant and alert to understand the individual dynamics and ask insightful questions to facilitate the exploration. Planning the session helps in ensuring that one enters the coaching session, prepared and rearing to go!
- Not all leaders are inherently good coaches; train and support them to become one
My profound learning as a coach is that coaching is more than just a process or conversation. It is commitment to a ‘way of being’ to allow others to discover and share personal truths and individual paths.
The coach needs to suspend his judgement and be in service of the coachee. There may be a time when the coach needs to share his knowledge and experience, but the coach needs to be judicious in picking that moment.
A coach needs to wear the learner hat and keep learning from every performance coaching experience.
- Performance coaching is not the coach’s agenda, the coachee has to have equal buy in
In general, the coaching conversation is about the employee. The coaching session helps the employee reach higher levels of effectiveness by creating a dialogue that leads to awareness and action. For it to be effective both parties have to be equally invested in the conversation and seeking to understand each other. They are not trying to prove, teach or motivate the other to do something.
The coach starts the coaching relationship explaining the purpose and setting the context of the conversation. With time, they reach a space of mutual respect and understanding.
- Coaching helps in learning rather than in teaching
One of my favourite thumb rules for the coach is to be mindful of who is speaking more in the conversation. The coachee is the focal point and star of the conversation. The coach triggers thoughts through insightful questions that can lead to revelations for the coachee.
The coach needs to learn to ‘hold space’ and be comfortable with silence during the conversation. He needs to allow learning to happen rather than jumping to a teaching mode.
- Feedback and appraisal conversations are not the same as performance coaching
Feedback, Appraisals and Coaching all have a place in improving and managing performance and cannot be interchanged with each other.
Coaching is about assisting employees reach their goals, while feedback is about helping employees understand the barriers that prevent them from reaching their current goals. The fundamental difference between coaching and feedback is that feedback focuses on the past, while coaching focuses on the future. Performance appraisals on the other hand are conversations to review past performance against benchmarks, agree on future goals and discuss training and development needs. Used together, the 3 are the cornerstones of performance management.
- Do not confuse performance coaching with counselling
Coaching is work-related and focused on cognitive realities or on some occasions revelations of ‘just below the surface’ things. Performance coaching is a proactive approach as it looks at generating possibilities, whereas counselling is reactive in nature as it focuses on observed symptoms and behaviours. Counsellors may actually require professional training in psychological processes.
Performance coaching creates a space to step back and reflect. It helps a person effectively deal with their reactions to barriers and discover effective solutions as they move forward to achieve better results. Just like sports!
To give your team some great insights about their performance and take them to the next level, do give us a call on 9769733305. Do also visit our website at http://www.theyellowspot.com/organisational-development.php.