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Find a category of articles on the right that appeals to you. Each category contains a series of articles on that topic. For a complete overview of the topic, read the articles in the order they are listed.

   
 
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Meiss Education Institute

Coaching For Results: The Overview
By Rich Meiss

Coaching For Results Series: l
One of the most pressing challenges facing organizations in America today is finding and keeping talented people.   All the data point to the fact that we are in an era where there are more jobs than there are skilled people to fill those jobs. Our talent pool is shrinking!   

With such a short supply of good people, an important task for managers and leaders is to learn how to develop their people to their full potential. That is the purpose of this series of articles on Coaching for Results. We define coaching as a process of “growing your people while getting top results”. Notice that coaching is a balance between getting results while helping people grow. Few people will have the opportunity to fully develop their potential without the help of a competent and caring coach. And that is becoming the role of more and more managers today – learning how to coach their people. Just as an athletic coach works to bring out the best in his/her team members, managers in organizations today need to learn how to coach and develop their people.

Managing and coaching are the two sides of a coin for an effective leader. Managers tend to work with numbers, systems, processes and products to get the results they are looking for. Their jobs are to plan, organize, direct, coordinate and control. They are usually more concerned with getting results than they are with growing people. Coaches are also concerned with results, but they focus on getting those results by growing and developing their people. Although this is a bit simplistic, here are some of the distinctions between coaching and managing:

Coaching:                                          Managing:
Leading and inspiring                           Dictating and controlling
Goal driven                                         Process driven
Future oriented                                    Present oriented
Seeing people as they might become      Seeing people as they are
Customer and people focused                Systems and process focused
Setting direction                                  Setting plans and rules
Empowering                                        Controlling

Coaches tend to operate with a philosophy about people that says most people want to be effective and productive, and they often need someone to challenge them and encourage them along the way. Coaches believe that:
·         You can’t motivate people. People are already motivated (but for their reasons).
·         You can create an environment in which people motivate themselves (when you tap into their reasons).
·         The way you create a motivational environment is to understand the needs and values of people and meet those needs and reinforce those values in the work place.
·         The most satisfying and productive relationships are authentic.
·         In authentic relationships, people are free to say what’s on their minds – the thinking and saying gaps are small. Open communications is common and encouraged.
·         People grow best when a competent and caring coach helps them see the impact of their behaviors.

The making of a great coach includes these four key elements:
1.    Ownership: Coaches are responsible for the results of others (not their behavior).
2.    Awareness: They know what “good” looks like.
3.    Skill:   Coaches know what to say and how to say it. They praise good behavior/performance and re-direct poor behavior/performance.
4.    Confidence: They believe in themselves and in their people.
To help people become great coaches, we use the 4 G model. The four G’s are: 
·         Good
·         Goal 
·         Gap 
·         Guidance 

GOOD          
Strong coaches start out by identifying the values, purpose and vision of their enterprise. They set standards and ask people to abide by these standards. They recognize that they should always coach to the highest good. By doing so, they help keep their organizations from experiencing some of the ethical lapses that have dogged many in the past decade – the Enron’s, World Com’s and Arthur Anderson’s of the world. Those organizations got caught in the trap of managing by objectives rather than managing by values. Strong coaches manage by values. (For help in constructing your organization’s or department’s values, refer to the article under Teams for High Performance titled, “Team Reasons: Determining the WHAT/WHY/HOW of Teams.”)
 
GOALS
Once the highest good is established, coaches need to identify the specific goals they’d like to reach – for each individual contributor, as well as for the overall department or organization. Good coaches recognize the need of most people to be involved in setting goals, so they allow employee input into the process. Together with the individual contributor, they come up with a set of SMART goals for each person as well as the department and/or organization. 
Goals should be:
-      Specific:           Goals should be specific.
-      Measurable:       Goals need some metrics to measure progress.
-      Actionable         Goals should be action oriented.
-      Responsibility    Goals should be assigned to someone on the team.
-      Time-Specific     Goals should have a time element for accomplishment.

GAPS
After establishing the “good” and the “goals”, coaches look for gaps in performance. If there is a positive gap (the contributor is performing ABOVE the level of the good or the goals), the coach looks for ways to specifically praise the performance. If there is a negative gap (the contributor is performing BELOW the level of good or the goals), the coach immediately looks to re-direct the performance back to good. Good, goals, and gap make up the first three G’s.

GUIDANCE
Giving proper guidance, the fourth G of the formula, is the content of the following five chapters in this series of articles. Effective coaches identify what kind of guidance is necessary to close the gaps in the good and the goals, and they fulfill these five roles of an effective coach. The five roles* are:
1.    The coach as Cheerleader, praising good performance when it is delivered. 
2.    The coach as Corrector, re-directing poor behavior to a better outcome. 
3.    The coach as Confidant, becoming a mentor to help work through issues. 
4.    The coach as Co-facilitator, working out tough issues between two employees. 
5.    The coach as Challenger, confronting continued poor performance so that it gets resolved (or the performer leaves the department or organization). 
*See individual articles on each coaching role. 

Throughout this process, coaches need to walk the fine line between being sensitive to people, and being set on goal achievement. This concept of people-focus vs. production-focus has been written about in management literature for many years, first made popular by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton in their Managerial Grid Model (1964), and later expanded on by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard in their Situational Leadership Model (1969). The basis of these models is that some managers or leaders (coaches) are more concerned about people, and others are more concerned about production. Good coaches maintain a balance in both of these factors – people and productivity.    Article three in this series, “The Coach as Corrector” will help you determine your tendency towards people or productivity, and give you some ideas on how to strike a better balance.

If you are looking for ways to help your people – or yourself – to become better coaches, continue reading the articles in this series. You might find that these ideas will help your organization solve one of its most difficult issues of the next decade and beyond – developing and keeping good employees!

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