Here are five simple steps to ensure you coach your new team players to deliver winning results. They are based on best practices from my experiences with our clients for the past 17 years:
- Assess the Player – Use a few types of assessments to capture intelligence (e.g., Wonderlic), Leadership capability (e.g., Leadership Practices Inventory), emotional intelligence (e.g., ZeroRisk) behavioral style (e.g., DISC). There are many options, but it is really helpful (and increases chances of success) to have data on the candidate to understand their inherent capabilities and limits. John Maxwell says, “Our job as leaders is no to put in what God left out, but to draw out what God put in.” Assessments enable you to know what to draw out and what to not waste time on trying to put in.
- Explain the Game – Typically 80% of coaching issues are rooted in unclear, shared expectations. The leader might think he was clear, but the employee was not. There are two reasons. First, the leader did check to see if the employee was clear. Second, the employee did not want to admit he was unclear because he felt like he should know (face saving). Since the second reason is a natural human dynamic, the leader must be extra diligent to ask the employee to restate what he herd or demonstrate understanding. In general, we need to be more SPECIFIC than we think we need to be. Blurry expectations leader to blurry places.
- Equip the Player – Although equipping includes traditional training, daily learning from an internal mentor or external coach creates layered, better real-time and sustained learning and performance improvement. When we equip we tend to think of skills, but attitude and mental preparation are typically where the game is won. Between the ears is where a coach or mentor is most valuable.
- Measure the Results – With a newly promoted leader, create a meeting rhythm for accountability that is more frequent that your instincts might suggest. You can always reduce the meeting frequency later. Measure only those few things that are most critical to his/her success. Do not forget about metrics like: turnover, engagement scores and % of his/her team who get promoted, readiness of his/her successor. Since a leader’s job is to get results through others, you should balance team performance metrics with people metrics.
- Modify the Performance – To keep it simple, use this format to structure your discussions, Ask, “What can you Start, Stop and Keep doing to improve your results?” It is a good way to acknowledge what is going well and what can change to elevate performance.
Check out Leadership Matters for more simple tools and insights.