!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: Will your coaching make a difference?

Friday, September 04, 2009

Will your coaching make a difference?

The National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI), based at the Oxford campus of the University of Mississippi, provides a variety of services and resources to child nutrition professionals.

Worker in the kitchen of Fifth Avenue High School, Pittsburgh, June 5, 1916
(Child Nutrition Archives, NFSMI)

Among the services NFSMI provides are continuing education courses, some of which are delivered via satellite and then archived at the NFSMI website for ongoing use.

Because I, like any training specialist, am interested in outcomes above all, I was particularly interested in a course dating from 2004 called "Coaching Employees: Will You Make a Difference?."

I can't say I endorse the USED (Understand, Show, Experience, Do) model taught in the course, since it's important for coaches to recognize that some situations are best handled by having the employee come up with his/her own approach.1

On the other hand, I am quite taken with the list of characteristics of effective coaches provided in the course materials. These characteristics (somewhat edited) are:
  • Establish a trusting relationship with all employees.

  • Listen more than talk.

  • Speak directly.

  • Value and model continuous learning.

  • Recognize your own limitations.

  • Make an effort not to overuse your strengths.

  • Offer employees chances to take risks.

  • Remain curious rather than defensive.

  • Model accountability and ownership.

  • Meet others where they are and help them move forward.

  • Keep an optimistic attitude about people. [Think Pygmalion Effect.]

  • Offer immediate positive recognition.

  • Help others view mistakes as learning opportunities.

  • Help employees work on a few skills at a time — generally, no more than three.

  • Meet individually with employees to identify ways to help them be more effective.

  • Use common courtesies, such as saying please and thank-you.

  • Apologize for mistakes.

  • Plan social events with co-workers.

  • Confront the issue, not the person.

  • Demonstrate friendly, positive, and upbeat behavior to others.

  • Smile.
The NFSMI list above can serve as a checklist for self-evaluation — along the same lines as the more general list of characteristics of an effective coach provided in this earlier post on the subject.

Note: If you would like to review the list of "Competencies, Knowledge and Skills of Effective District School Nutrition Directors/Supervisors" that guides NFSMI's training design and development, you can do so here.

1 Stated more fully, the four steps in the USED model are:
  1. Understanding (the coach explains the task to the employee)

  2. Showing (the coach demonstrates the proper way to accomplish the task)

  3. Experiencing (the coach allows the employee to experience the task by practicing it)

  4. Doing (the employee does the task while the coach observes/gives feedback)

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