People are more likely to change their approach or behaviours if they feel it is their own choice and it is not being imposed upon them. Coaching a team member effectively is about enabling them to think and act in new ways wards a way of thinking which does not feel enforced.
Forcing anybody to do something that is not natural to them or is not the way that they have always done something is likely to fail. However, using coaching you can gently reintroduce them into a new way of thinking.
Becoming an effective coach is more about thinking what your team member wants and needs, rather than what you do. In this way, they feel part of the development process and you are not being dictatorial for your own needs. To do this try the following:
- Tap into their intrinsic motivations. Human nature dictates that we like to make our own decisions. Even if decisions imposed upon us are in our best interests, we are still likely to resist. When coaching a team member, it is vital therefore that you tap into their intrinsic motivations and understand ‘what’s in it for them’. In this way you are removing some of the resistance to change.
- Ask questions rather than provide solutions. Asking questions will help your team member to develop their own solutions to their problems. You can guide people to a way of thinking by asking the right questions. They will then be much more likely to follow through on their own ideas than they ever will on yours.
- Get them to articulate what they will do and by when. Coaching a team member should not be a cosy ‘fireside chat,’ it’s about helping them and motivating them to do something different. Therefore, ensure that they set parameters i.e. what they are going to do and by when. To help them follow it through ask them to confirm what they will do in writing.
Coaching is most effective when it is aligned to the other persons’ own motivations, helps them to develop new skills and supports them to solve their most pressing problems. When it fails to do that, it is simply a management instruction that is unlikely to be fully taken on board or acted on.