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Coaching for Success

The true success of a supervisor can be measured by the success of the people that work for them. When supervisors and leaders adopt a coaching style, the productivity, motivation and satisfaction of the employees increases. All this makes for an engaged workforce who are committed to giving the University as much as it is giving them. And as an extra incentive, adopting a coaching style of management results in a much more enjoyable workplace for everybody!

What is coaching?

Coaching is the process of equipping employee with the tools, knowledge, and opportunities they need to develop themselves and become more effective.

In a work environment, the role of a coach can be described as:

  • achieving results and excellence through others rather than personally taking care of things, and focusing on developing employees in order to achieve results rather than micro-managing their every move.

Adopting coaching as a management style requires managers to help other people unlock their potential and enhance their own performance. It's about supporting people to learn instead of telling them what the answers are.

The mindset of the manager/coach is to create an environment that fosters learning, independent thinking and opportunities to contribute. The coach doesn't want to be seen as a solution provider. Rather, they want to be seen as a facilitator, paving the way for employees to achieve their results.

Coaches are a role model for others. They are excellent listeners and communicators, providing perspective and encouragement whilst setting high standards and expectations.

what are the objectives to coaching?

  • Coaching helps identify areas of below par performance.
  • Coaching aids in strengthening above average performance.
  • Coaching solidifies the supervisor's role.
  • Coaching aids in achieving goals.
  • Coaching helps create an environment that fosters learning, independent thinking and opportunities to contribute.

when do we use coaching?

Coaching is important not only when there's concern about poor performance or when performance is at its peak, but when performance is somewhere in the middle. Given the fact that the majority of employee performance ratings occur somewhere between outstanding and needs improvement, this "in between" range is where coaching can have its greatest impact.

How to make coaching behaviors a part of your management style:

Stop thinking about employees as people that need to be controlled or managed and give them the latitude to take actions and make decisions. Trust is a vital component of this equation. If you can't trust people to do their jobs well, then you either have the wrong people in the jobs, or you have the right people but you haven't trained them sufficiently. A third option is that the people are properly skilled, but the supervisor just can't let go.

Listen, listen listen. If there are unhappy or disgruntled people in your department, you can guarantee that at some stage they've tried to tell you what the problem is. It's likely you weren't listening (or didn't want to listen), or perhaps your initial reaction made the person think twice about bringing the problem to you. Truly listening is one of the greatest skills to develop, regardless of your role. Good listeners are genuinely interested, convey empathy, and want to find out what's behind the conversation. Great coaches are great listeners - without exception.

Focus on developing the strengths of each employee rather than managing merely for results. Identify each person's development needs and commit to following through on them. When people are growing and improving, their enthusiasm and effectiveness is greater. And they feel more connected and loyal to the company for supporting them.

Endorse effort and growth instead of pointing out failures or errors. As individuals, we all know how seldom we are given positive feedback, but how often we are reminded of our "mistakes". Instead of pointing out errors, a coach accepts them as learning opportunities and uses them to develop their employees. The focus is on making sure the same mistake doesn't happen again by fixing the source of the problem.

Stop providing solutions. Supervisors often achieve their positions after being technical specialists, and so will have an opinion or view on how to "fix" situations or problems. The mindset is that it's usually faster to tell someone what to do, or do it yourself, than give your employees an opportunity to figure it out. By always providing the answers, supervisors take away the learning opportunity for their employees to come up with alternative (and potentially better) ways of doing things. If you catch yourself about to provide the answer, take a deep breath and ask a question like: "What would you do in this situation?"

As a supervisor, stop making all the decisions. You don't have all the answers all of the time. Engage those around you - your team and peers - when it comes to finding a way forwards. Involvement breeds ownership and engagement. The more you can find opportunities for people to contribute to the decision-making process and encourage people to have their say, the more your employees will feel connected and satisfied with the company.

Be unconditionally constructive - no exceptions. Don't patronize or be critical of others - take complete responsibility for how you are heard. If you catch yourself about to make negative remarks, take a breath and rephrase your words to get your message across without the emotional attachment. It is possible to phrase everything in constructive terms - even a negative sentiment. Practice makes perfect!

Create an environment where people want to work with you, and feel valued and respected. Make it clear to your employees what they are responsible for, but give them the latitude to go about it in their own way. In short, treat them the way you would want to be treated.

Please contact the Employee Relations staff if you need assistance with coaching employees.



Rankin Hall Room, 300
Terre Haute, IN 47809

Phone: (812) 237-4114

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.