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Top-Shelf Tip No. 179:

"Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It’s helping them to learn rather than teaching them."

Tim Gallwey

Effective Coaching To Drive Top Performance, Part 2

Coaching is an important step to improving performance whether you're an athlete or a sales pro. Serena Williams, arguably the one of the greatest athletes of all time, recently competed in her 11th U.S. Open. To mark the occasion, Nike released a touching video that shows Serena training as a young girl with her father, who was also her coach. In the video, Williams' father tells 9-year-old Serena to serve as if she's playing in the U.S. Open. His coaching style is gentle, powerful and visionary.

Coaching with encouragement and vision is critical in the work setting, too. Coaching will drive employees to do their best to reach and exceed performance goals, yet many organizations do not take the time to make coaching a part of the work culture.

Yesterday, Promotional Consultant Today shared three ways to help you become a better coach to others and improve your leadership skills, from executive leadership coach, Jeff Foley. Today, we're sharing Foley's tips for creating an effective coaching session agenda with your employees.

First, review the individual goals and those of the organization. Ensure alignment of both to clarify where the individual is contributing to the mission of the organization.

Second, discuss what is going well. Where do both the coach and the individual agree on successes? Provide positive recognition for achievements where important.

Third, discuss the challenges or areas for improvement. Underwrite honest mistakes in the pursuit of excellence so people can learn. Determine how you, as the manager, can help. Gain a clear understanding of the shortfall in the individual's ability and desire to achieve the goal and what resources or assistance the individual needs to be successful. When unsatisfactory performance occurs, managers must address it.

Leaders who never take action to remove an underperformer are doing a great disservice to their institution. All too often, good people serving in leadership positions fear the task of confrontation. They hope, magically, that something will happen which will turn the underperformer around and all will be well in the end. Hope is not a strategy; the magic seldom happens. Your goal as a leader and coach is to inspire a willingness to succeed. When coaching, it is often easier to criticize and find fault. Think before you speak—find ways to praise.

Fourth, as the manager, seek suggestions for how you can be a more effective leader for them. This question can change the dynamic of the coaching session and can provide powerful feedback for the manager in his or her quest to be the best they can be. Doing so will enhance their trust in you and help build confidence in their own capabilities.

Remember, effective one-on-one coaching can be the catalyst for attracting and retaining the best people, and that will ultimately boost your organization to unprecedented results.

Source: Jeff Foley is a recognized speaker, executive leadership coach and author of Rules and Tools for Leaders. He is a West Point graduate and retired as a Brigadier General having served 32 years in the U.S. Army. Drawing on his unique military experience, Foley uses his singular insight to build better leaders.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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