Coaching For Improvement: A Primer For Leaders by Cindy Stradling CSL. CPC

One of the common issues leaders of any team or organization experience is the lack of motivation to change. As humans, we are comfortable in staying in our comfort zone and focusing on what we know we do well. It can be very difficult to acknowledge our weaknesses or to embrace change, even if it is a positive change.

As a leader, using a coaching model to help team members make improvements can turn this challenge into an opportunity to explore personal and professional development on a much deeper level. To get started as a leader in a coaching role supporting individual professional development, there are a few strategic steps to begin the process.

Start with Curiosity

One of the changes from a manager to a coaching approach is to use questions to get information from the individual rather than telling them where they need to improve. Asking questions about their strengths allows the individual to provide information on where they see their talents and abilities contributing to the team. It is also a way to work with the individual in understanding their perspective.

From this, discussing where the individual would like to make improvements is a logical next step. Using open-ended questions that allow the team member to share where they see their professional development goals allows the coach to go deeper, asking questions to develop specific goals around the improvement.

The coach and individual also have the ability to discuss how these goals will be met. The individual may want to take a specific training, find a mentor, job shadow a more experienced individual, or perhaps even engage in coaching on an ongoing basis.

They key factor is that the individual is creating their focus and motivation for achieving their goals. This is highly motivating and allows the individual to set milestones to trace improvement, change, and growth. Managers at all levels will find increased motivation within their team to reach these individually set goals and milestones through a positive and supportive discussion that can be held bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

Assisting with Goals   

In this process, the coach also asks questions to allow the team member to identify the areas of improvement that are most beneficial. With practice, this becomes a regular part of being on the team. Individuals become more comfortable and confident in setting goals that align with their interests as well as that of the team, department, and organization.