A good employer is not just a boss, but also a mentor. They are dedicated to helping their employees build their skills so that they can become better at their job. This in turn creates a stronger workforce and a better business.
But just what is the best way to coach employees? As many employers soon realise, coaching is a skill in itself. And yes, you can hire a coach to help teach you how to coach. However, you can also learn coaching skills from other places. This post offers just a few tips that could be of use.
Find the best way to measure performance
In order to help employees perform better at their job, you need a good way of tracking performance. When it comes to some industries and roles, you may be able to use hard stats like sales figures to do this. In other industries, you may have to rely more on recording errors and complaints to determine what employees are doing wrong (while positive feedback can be a good indicator of what employees are doing right).
Without measuring performance, you can carry out performance reviews and suggest improvements. In most cases, it’s best to compare performance over a few different areas and possibly create private scores for each employee. This could include attributes like speed, attitude, punctuality, organisation and autonomy.
Understand your employees’ personality and behaviours
We all have different personalities and behaviours that can affect how well suited we are to certain tasks. Our personality and behaviours also influence the types of coaching methods that are most effective.
A personality test such as the Myers-Briggs personality test can tell you a lot about the personalities of your employees.
Learn how to give constructive criticism
Criticism is essential for helping your employees improve, however it’s important to make sure that this criticism is constructive. Telling an employee that they are slow at their job and that they need to speed up is not constructive criticism. Instead, you need to help offer specific actionable ways to help them improve their speed at work. It’s also important to offer praise – including acknowledging small improvements.
Work with your employees to find solutions
To help find the best solutions to employee issues, try to work with your employees rather than just telling them what you think they need to do. This could include suggesting different solutions and allowing them to choose the option they think will work for them. In other cases, it may benefit an employee for you to work closely with them and perhaps offer some hands-on training.
Help employees hone their strengths
You can also encourage employees to become better at things that they are already good at. This could allow them to master this skill and become a truly valuable asset within your business.
Helping employees to hone their strengths involves first praising and rewarding them for their achievements. Once an employee realises they are good at a task, you can then start to suggest improvements while still reinforcing the fact that they are already great. This could include allowing an employee who is great at sales to take an advanced sales course (paid by you), or giving them personal best targets to try to beat. Make sure to empower employees that are good at tasks by also encouraging them to train others and letting them suggest company improvements.
Set clear goals with employees
Employees are more likely to improve if they have clear goals to work towards. This could include having to hit tangible targets by specific dates. It’s important to work with employees to set a goal that is challenging but realistic. Make sure that you don’t move goalposts – if goals are constantly being altered, employees may give up working towards them.
Encourage feedback from your employees
Feedback can not only help you to find ways of helping your employees improve, but it can also help you find ways of improving yourself and your business. Allow employees to be critical of coaching methods that they don’t think are working. At the same time, ask your employees to tell you exactly which coaching strategies have been successful. This could help you in the future when coaching other employees who may have similar issues. You can ask employees to provide feedback in person, or you can find a way for them to submit feedback anonymously.