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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

10 Rules for Effectively Coaching Your Reports

According to the majority of the clients I have coached over the years, one of the most difficult things they have to tackle in their role is to turn around and coach and develop their own reports. You might think that it would be simple for them to sit in a session or class with me and then utilize those same strategies and tactics, but that’s hardly the case due to a lack of execution.

Coaching and developing others, develops you! When you help others get better, you’ll most likely get better too!

It may be due to a couple of reasons. One reason is that it takes work to prepare and then coach people. If you want to be good at this skill, you must accept that it’s part of your job, so you must want to get better at it. Another reason is they would rather delegate or relegate this as an HR activity. Huge mistake, this is your accountability, not the HR department’s.

If you think about it, you are probably coaching someone already. Consider, for example, your children; who you guide through many difficult situations and developmental circumstances. That’s good for them and good for you. Coaching and developing others, develops you! When you help others get better, you’ll most likely get better too!

1. Develop the mindset that you have value to offer your people.

Hopefully, you didn’t get your current position by someone drawing your name out of a hat. No, you worked hard and you earned it. By doing so, you learned plenty along the way that would serve your reports as they begin to work through similar situations you have already faced and conquered. That’s very valuable.

2. Be an impeccable example and protect your credibility.

Make sure you protect your professional brand by upholding professional standards always. Stay away from situations where you might tend to behave in a way that you would not want your reports to emulate.

3. Shelve your ego.

During your coaching sessions, try as much as you can to avoid talking about yourself. Be totally focused on your report and what they are facing, what they are thinking, and what their available options are moving forward. Try to avoid turning everything into a personal anecdote.

4. Slow down, don’t rush through your time together.

Have you ever spent time with a customer service representative who didn’t seem interested in helping you but just moving you on to get to the next call or customer? This is what your report feels if you try to rush through this time together. Again, this is their time with you, relax and help.

5. Continue to raise the bar on yourself as well as those that report to you.

If you want better results, get better at coaching and developing this skillset. You owe it to the people who report to you. Do you want your external customers to always have better experiences and results? You should want the same for your internal customers as well.

6. Do not be intimidated by your report.

I’m thinking your report will be superior to you in some areas. This is natural as you cannot be great at everything and if you have done a good job in hiring, you have team members who can do some things you can’t do. You still have value to offer them, don’t shy from it.

7. If you have value, do not allow your report to diminish it.

Sometimes your reports (especially if they don’t want to do it or work on it) will try to dismiss what you are saying or offering. Do not be offended or allow them to lower the standard you are trying to set. Some leaders can be too empathetic for their people and allow them to step over the bar instead of having to work to jump over it.

8. Give your advice, but don’t be offended if it’s rejected.

Resist the temptation to get resentful if your report does not accept your thinking or direction. It’s naive to think everything you say will be embraced fully. Your job is to teach and your report must want to learn. Make sure your judgment or evaluation of the person does not get clouded because they didn’t take to what you offered. Look at results for evaluation not necessarily method used to get the results.

9. Own your own mistakes.

If you give advice that turns out to be wrong or less than successful, be willing to exempt your person from it. You own it, don’t try to twist it to their detriment.

10. Remain as objective as you can.

As much as you may care for your report, you must stay impartial. You will offer better direction and be a better coach if you stay objective and as neutral as you can.

For more resources, sign up for Tony’s Monday Morning Coaching Memo.

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