Hopefully, anybody reading this is already at least halfway convinced of the value of coaching in the workplace and creating a coaching culture. By way of illustration, how about these statistics from the Association for Talent Development in the US:
- 80% of workers who have undergone coaching experienced a positive impact on performance, productivity, communication skills, and wellbeing.
- 65% of workers in a coaching culture are highly engaged.
Sounds good. But there’s more to your coaching culture than introducing a formal coaching initiative with coaches carrying out regular structured conversations. In fact, if you really want the engagement benefits, you need to think more casually and have your managers looking out for those ad hoc opportunities that present themselves throughout the day. Those moments when a well-phrased question or targeted intervention can make all the difference.
Timing is important
Spotting coachable moments is the way to ensure that your people are getting the support they need, when they need it; when it will do the most good.
Spotting a moment
So, which moments are coachable? No surprises that we’re looking for situations with a bit of nuance; where there is no right answer and thought is required to decide between the options for action (or non-action). You might spot it through observation or conversation but what makes a coaching moment? For starters:
- A missed objective (or an indication that an objective will be missed).
- A change in circumstances in which someone is working (a change in resources, budget, colleagues, etc. that requires a course correction).
- Unexpected or one-off under-performance (ongoing poor performance often responds to coaching but in that situation, the coaching process is likely to be more formal; not a single moment of opportunity).
- You find yourself tackling or coaching the same issue a second or third time.
- Someone is faced with an unexpected problem or challenge (a demanding customer or colleague, perhaps).
- Someone asks for coaching (you might be busy but beware of being too busy).
Framework for a moment
Step one is just resist the urge to give an answer or instructions. It may help solve the problem but what about next time? Has the person really learned why the answer you gave them is the right one? Bear in mind the old proverb about the difference between giving someone a fish and teaching them to fish.
Next, you need some clarity on the situation (what does the conversation need to focus on?) and what the person wants or needs to achieve (effectively, the coaching goal). Getting the details and input on what they want gives you an indication of what further questions to ask; as well as being an opportunity to gently challenge their understanding of the situation if it needs more thought or reflection.
Having established the parameters, you can apply your favourite coaching model or ‘formula’. A good one for coachable moments is TGROW:
- Topic – getting an understanding of the issue
- Goal – outcome for the conversation
- Reality – what is happening now?
- Options – what is possible?
- What – actions, commitment and wrap-up
Managers are often good at recognising problems. But getting to the root causes and then supporting someone to learn and get out of the ‘hole’ themselves, as opposed to the managerial equivalent of throwing down a rope and yelling, “Climb!”, requires a degree of effort and skill. And promises to be a lot more effective.
If you want an organisation-wide coaching culture, managers need to use their coaching skills in informal circumstances, ad hoc, and not only in formal 1:1 meetings, scheduled appraisals and reviews. If you’re interested in how you could encourage your managers to spot and engage in coaching moments, try our practical 2-hour webinar: Great Coaching Moments or give us a call on 01582 463461; we’re here to help.