"Coaches need a plan, and that plan needs to include two things -
- You've got a coach to a standard, and
- Focus on fundamentals.
Standards give your coaching purpose and direction. A standard defines what 'good' looks like. It gives people a goal to shoot for and a reason to accept your coaching.
Fundamentals give your coaching substance and value. Fundamental explains what works and what doesn't work. It gives people clear direction and a proven best practice to follow.
When you coach to a standard, there are four things you've got to do -
- You got to promote your standard,
- Give good examples to follow,
- Set clear expectations, and
- Hold people accountable
This is a process you need to repeat over-and-over.
- The best way to promote a standard is to explain why it's important.
- And the best way to give an example is to use a role model.
When an employee sees a peer doing something important, you validate that standard and you make the standard seem reasonable and attainable. Then set your expectation and hold people accountable, and you'll bring that standard to life. You'll make it real because all of a sudden the standard applies to them.
Once you've coached to the standard, begin to focus on fundamentals. You want to focus on one fundamental at a time so people don't get overwhelmed.
Remember, a 'fundamental' is something that works. It's a proven best practice. Start with a best practice that plays to the person's strength. This is a good way to build their confidence and some coaching momentum. Then you can introduce a best practice that's outside of their comfort zone.
When you do, demonstrate the fundamental. Let them see what you're explaining in action, and let them try to replicate. Be encouraging, but offer immediate course corrections. Let them try again and again with more feedback, course corrections, and encouragement.
When you coach fundamentals, you've got to encourage trial-and-error. They've got to practice the best practice, or they'll never become second nature.
So specify 'when' and 'how' they can apply that best practice. If you can be there to observe, great. But if you can't, ask them to update you on how things went.
Remember, fundamentals require constant focus until they become second nature. When you coach to a standard and focus on fundamentals, people will know what's expected and how to be successful. That's what good coaching is.
You get people to embrace your standards and you help them perform to those standards. People want to be successful, and if they're struggling to meet your expectations, don't just give them the benefit of the doubt, give them the benefit of your coaching."
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