September 17, 2008

Coaching Your People!

The key to leveraging talent and retaining your best employees

It’s a Gift
In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams, (Gratton, Erickson), one best practice stood out in a study of 100 of the most collaborative companies in the world – leaders coaching employees. A company where leaders took the time to coach and mentor their employees was identified as a “Gift” culture. The study found that this went far in building employee loyalty and motivation – which in turn led to more collaborative behaviors. The country western song is true after all, “Love is spelled T-I-M-E”.

But I Don’t Have Time
Leaders have known, for many years that they must invest in their people by personally spending time training, coaching and mentoring. Yet research shows that few leaders do it. The big reason given: “no time.” The truth is the pace of work is steadily increasing each year and leaders today are under enormous pressures. Yet, when you look at the cost of not spending the time, you risk:

  • Losing your best employees to your competitors (FACT: 85% of people who leave their jobs leave because of perceived “unkindness” in the workplace.)
  • Not having the benefit of the full talents of your people
  • Low engagement and morale levels
  • Mediocre performance
  • Poor business results

The Business Case for Coaching/Mentoring
Let’s look at the upside – you will notice that these benefits will give you back the time you initially lost. And the return on investment grows.

  • Ability to delegate more (more competent employees)
  • High retention rates of your best employees
  • Healthy morale and engagement levels (FACT: HR studies indicate that 65% of an employee’s motivation and morale level comes directly from the leadership style of their direct boss.)
  • Increase in bottom line performance

Plus…YOU look good when your people are happy and productive!

Three Steps for Coaching Employees

  1. Do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis with each direct report. Together, decide what area of growth is most important over the next six months.
  2. Create a “Development Plan” – What books, classes, mentors, practices, new behaviors will support the targeted growth? (Have your employee draft it first.)
  3. Have monthly “one to one” coaching sessions – one hour sessions can be done over lunch in an informal environment. Ask your employee to come to each session prepared to share how their growth plan is going, and where they need support. Take advantage of that teachable moment.

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