When coaching employees, it is a temptation for you to talk more because you have plenty to say.
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To gain information and identifying appropriate goal areas, you must use active listen skills.
Remember, you have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk. Your objective here is to “catch” as much information as possible to help you determine what specific areas you can leverage and where you’ll be able to achieve better results.
Many times, allowing your employee to achieve even the smallest of goals begins a positive reinforcement of coaching. At some point before your actual coaching session, you want to engage in a brief discussion with your employee to determine their personal and professional goals.
Here are some questions you should ask while during your pre-coaching meeting. Remember to write down their answers for your reference later:
- What goals are you working on right now?
- Where are you in relation to those goals?
- What do you think is keeping you from reaching this goal?
- How will you know you reached that goal?
Asking these open-ended questions starts a conversation about your employee, which is what you want to achieve. Allowing your employee to speak openly enables you to gather more personal information. Asking questions about their goals reveals their desires and this is something you can tie in to your coaching ultimate goal.
Maybe an employee is furthering their education by going to college at night. By understanding this situation, you may be able to motivate your employee to achieve better performance, leading them to improve their income so they can fund their educational needs.
Furthermore, understanding where they are in relation to their goals reveals needs that may need support from you. Helping your employee with their personal goals builds a great working relationship.
Finally, determining what roadblocks are preventing them from reaching their goals will provide insight into their personal circumstances.
Granted, you may not solve all of your employee’s problems, but demonstrating empathy goes a long way and helps to form goals for you that take into consideration your employee’s personal situation. Remember, your employee does not care how much you know until you show how much you care.
Listen more and talk less.
One final note, at first you may find asking questions challenging. This is normal. Give it time and do not give up. You may even have to let your employee know that you are interested more in their personal goals as a way to help them reach goals at work.
Setting SMART Goals
Writing goals can be a daunting task if done without a particular format or process. After you have your pre-coaching meeting with your employee, you are ready to meet again with your employee and write a clear goal, starting the GROW process. Having a clear format and goal development process will enable you build an effective goal. SMART is the technique you want to use when building the goal with your employee. It outlines your goal in an easy and clear format that your employee will find useful.
SMART stands for the following goal characteristics:
- Specific: What needs to be done? The goal must be clear. It cannot be a general statement like be better at sales or be more organised. Use action verbs like increase sales or use a calendar. Next, we need to put some measurement in place.
- Measurable: Place some form of measurement that is easily verifiable to the goal. For example, continuing with the last example, increase sales by 3 percent or use a calendar two times a week. When you have a number incorporated to the goal, it makes it easier to check progress and hold your employee accountable.
- Attainable: Make sure the goal is not too much at one time to complete. Setting huge goals will lead to failure because the employee will see it as impossible. In addition, assess your employee’s attitude. Use the information gained from your questions to help make this goal relevant. Irrelevant goals are not done. As an employee coach your goal is to make their goal manageable yet challenging.
- Realistic: Take in to consideration any learning, mentoring that has to take place or habits that have to be broken first before you set your employee’s goal. If you are asking your employee to do something better, make sure they have the basics down first. Assess them, determine any gaps, and set you goals according to their skills and abilities.
Timely: Always set a time limit or time frame for achieving any goal. Do not allow your employee’s goal to wander aimlessly. Set follow up meetings and keep them. Your employee looks forward to these meetings especially when they are moving closer towards the goal. Do not set too much time between meetings. This may send the message to your employee that they have time to make the adjustment. You want to set short specific time frames.
SMART goals are easy to do, but require a commitment on your part to use it consistently. Now that you have an idea how to develop your goal, we are going to see why understanding the reality is essential to the coaching process.
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