Coaching PitfallsWilliam Hendricks, author of Coaching, Mentoring and Managing, offers this instructive list of pitfalls to avoid when coaching:
- Talking at your employees, rather than with them. Often this approach is accompanied by frequent use of phrases like "I want" and "you should."
- Giving more attention to attitudes than behaviors. Attitudes are often highly resistant to change and not sufficiently concrete to coach on.
- Exaggerating situations or behavior. Generalizing with words like "always," "never," and "everybody" has a built-in sound of unfairness.
- Assuming the employee is out to make you look bad. Employees usually want to succeed. Therefore, it's most likely that a problem is due to a mistake rather than a conspiracy. Use a mistake as an opportunity to teach.
- Not following up on promises. Failure to follow up is not the sort of example to set for employees from whom you want commitment.
- Not rewarding improved behavior. If you don't reward positive changes in behavior, the changes are unlikely to persist.