The days when managers could lead from a position of command and control are disappearing fast. In today’s competitive knowledge- and service-based world, smart employees and high-performing teams must take ownership of their performance. It is also true that people perform best when they are given tools to improve through coaching and feedback.
Freeing people up to take responsibility
Look carefully at your leadership environment to see if it truly drives performance. Research shows that today’s widespread rank-and-rate performance management is damaging employee engagement, alienating high performers, and costing the valuable time of managers. In a 2014 Bersin by Deloitte survey, only 8 percent of companies report their performance management process drives high levels of value, while 58 percent say it is not an effective use of time. Leading organizations are moving away from the annual evaluation cycle and replacing it with rich, ongoing feedback and coaching designed to promote continuous employee development.
Tools for Managers
Making this shift from annual performance evaluations toward a process of continuous coaching and improvement requires a new role and skill set for managers. How do you train and enable managers to truly coach for performance? Alan Fine, Founder and President of InsideOut Development and widely acknowledged as a pioneer in workplace coaching, provides the following answers in a recent HR.com article, Coaching Conversations: 7 Essential Behaviors:
1. Believe in Performers’ Greatness: Effective coaches believe their employees have untapped greatness within them; their intention is to free up that greatness.
2. Act as a Mirror: Great coaches serve as a mirror for the coachee by providing objectivity to help them more accurately observe their own thinking and behavior.
3. Create a Context of Possibility: Great coaches come from a mindset of possibility, which helps employees see the world differently.
4. Get Clear about Responsibilities: Great coaches do not take responsibility for solving the employee’s issues. They take responsibility for freeing up the employee to take responsibility for solving those issues.
5. Create a Safe Environment: Great coaches create an environment for their employees where they can feel safe and trusted by their leaders.
6. Help Bring Focus: Focus is the driver of human performance, and great coaches help employees discover what’s important to focus on and how to sustain that focus over time.
7. Become Comfortable with Uncertainty: Great coaches are comfortable with the uncertainty that goes with not knowing where the path of a coaching conversation might lead and what the discussion might reveal.
The Proof is in the Pudding
The bottom line is today’s workers need and expect to be held accountable for results, but they also need and want coaching, development, and regular feedback. Look carefully at your performance management environment to see if it truly drives performance rather than just measurement. In many cases, a shift from “command and control” to “feedback and coaching” will drive surprising results. The goal is to make coaching and developing a continuous, collaborative process between managers and employees—a far more motivating outcome.