You are under pressure as you start to realise your people have a hard time in managing themselves in your absence. Overall, you are a good boss. You don’t get mad quickly. You do not push your people to get things done. Maybe you are a little too lenient towards them. As a result from your leniency, they do not know how to execute tasks assigned to them. All you keep hearing is questions after questions from them upon each work assignment. You gave clear instructions to your people, so why can’t they just manage themselves? To you, this simply does not make any sense at all.
Your people are unable to perform well. They are not putting in their maximum effort. This is a huge obstruction for you to achieve your business goals. Is being a good boss not enough to make people think and act the way you do? If this problem keeps being in your way, how are you able to bring your business to the next level? If you think that being a good boss is what it takes to make your business successful, then you are wrong. So, do you want to know how you could bring the best out of people to improve productivity? Perhaps, establish higher job satisfaction among your people? Therefore, you should learn a better way to deal with emotions, be it yours or your people. This is a process called ‘coaching’.
To visualise the above scenario even better, let’s talk about Eric. Eric is an entrepreneur in the food and beverages sector. In the beginning, Eric had only one outlet operating and to him, it was fairly easy to handle. He then expanded his business by opening two additional outlets. Having three outlets in total, Eric started to feel that he was not able to manage his business well. This was due to the fact that he had to deal with a lot of people, ranging from his people, customers, as well as suppliers. Eric had to invest a lot of time dealing with human issues that arise among his people. He felt pressured and was uncertain of what had to be done. Thus, to reduce his burden, Eric decided to hire a CFO, who is a certified business coach. The CFO went through all of Eric’s problems for a span of three months.
What is Coaching?
First introduced in the 1880s, coaching is used in many aspects of life, and this includes in businesses. Coaching is often mistaken to be similar to teaching, training, mentoring and counselling. According to John Whitmore, coaching is the process of unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. In other words, coaching is able to improve the human’s performance by focusing solely on the individual to unlock their potential. In your business, you are trying to unlock your people’s fullest potential. Thus, you should use coaching to go in depth to know what is in your people’s head.
When we talk about coaching, we relate it to maximising a person’s performance. What does performance actually mean in this context?
To make the concept clear for you to relate it to your business, understand this equation:
Performance = Capability – Negative Emotion.
Ability represents your people’s physical, intellectual, or emotional capability to get the job done. You should be able to determine to what extent are your people capable of doing what is required in the job. However, why does Capability minus Negative Emotion? The reason is simple. Just ask yourself, are you able to get something done at your best when you are drowning in negative emotions? The answer is no, am I right? Therefore, performance is maximised when your people are in a good mood, feeling motivated, and thus being able to utilise their full abilities in getting a job done.
Coaching focuses on the ‘here and now’ perspective, whereby it helps your people cope better with events occurring right now, in the present. The fundamental skill of coaching involves powerful questioning, alongside active listening. A skilled coach would know what are the right questions to ask the other party, in order to help them work their way through in solving issues. You, as a coach, should practice this as a manner of leading your people to the right path, and not merely giving them direct solutions to their problems.
How to Perform Coaching Effectively
Now that you have learnt about coaching theoretically, it is time for you to learn how to perform coaching effectively. Effective coaching can be achieved through a simple methodology, consisting of three key items:
A good environment should be established with your people. Build rapport with your people.Get to know them better, such as their characteristics and personality traits, or their likes and dislikes. This is to ease the process of understanding what is in their head.
2. Be curious when you listen
When you receive feedback or questions from your people, listen to them tentatively and be curious. Do not just listen to them and immediately give solutions. Instead, be more inquisitive to understand your people’s minds better as there must be a reasoning for each feedback or question obtained from them. It is all about perspectives.
3. Take action
At the end of your coaching process, you have to ensure that the action is done. You built rapport with your people, you listened to them, you lead them with questions, and finally, they should have the idea of how to get a job done. If the action taken results in a job being done successfully, then you are said to have accomplished a fruitful coaching process.
To accompany the coaching methodology and making it even more effective, you could implement the usage of FIVE questions to lead your people. Known as the 5 BCQ (Business Coaching Questions), this series of simple, understandable questions is suitable to be implemented in your workplace as a basis to your exercise of being a coach.
1. What happened?
2. What is your opinion?
3. Which method have you tried before?
4. Do you need any help?
5. What else / Anything else?
The 5 BCQ does not necessarily need to be asked to your people in a sequential manner. In addition to this, you are not restricted to the above five questions only. As for me, I will ask any other powerful questions to help me lead my people. Just ask the right questions to obtain the right answers to your curious mind. Coaching is a flexible process.
You have now learnt so much about coaching and you find it a bit heavy to put into practice, especially that it is to be used in your business only. I assure you, coaching is a universal process you can implement almost anywhere. Relationship issues? Life management and self esteem? Confidence enhancement? Effective decision making? You name it. Coaching is the primary process that helps us lead people, or sometimes even yourself!
So, what was the three months being spent by the CFO with Eric all about? Well, that was a coaching session, something totally new to Eric. He was being coached on how to coach. From this, he finally understood how important coaching is. Eric, now a skilled coach, managed to open another seven outlets of restaurants. Coaching is his answer to solving the problem of his people and his business. With the CFO’s method of coaching, Eric is now able to lead his people to be capable of managing his business, even in his absence.