!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: Coaching Pitfalls

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Coaching Pitfalls

William 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.
All of these advisories are well worth attention. I would particularly emphasize the fourth. Although, obviously, there are exceptions, employees generally do want to be successful. Making a habit of assuming this is true will increase your own odds of successfully guiding employees toward more effective performance.