Coaching Skills for Managers and Supervisors – Part 1: Successful vs. Failed Coaching Efforts

One of the most important tasks for Managers and Supervisors is coaching their employees. Learn the skills you need to be an effective coach.

Note: Click Here to see a Sample  Kindle Version.  U.S. users can order directly.  Global users should  either click here, or visit your applicable Amazon website and input “Coaching Skills for Managers and Supervisors” in the search criteria.

One of the most important tasks for Managers and Supervisors is coaching their employees.

Good Coaching:

  • Helps employees understand what they should be doing and how.

  • Provides employees with important information on whether they are performing up to expectation and if not, how far off the mark they are.

  • Helps employees develop and enhance new skills needed for future positions.

Yet as important as it is, for many Managers and Supervisors, it’s also one of the most dreaded.  Managers and Supervisors often worry that their employees will react negatively to a coaching discussion.  Without the proper ground work employees may feel caught off guard, and indeed react negatively to what they consider as unwarranted criticism.

Despite these reservations, the ability to effectively coach employees and help them attain the desired level of performance and/or development is often the difference between a successful or unsuccessful Manager or Supervisor.  Consequently, as a Supervisor or Manager, the ability to successfully coach your employees is one of the most important skill sets you need to develop.

Successful Coaching Efforts

Successful coaching involves a number of key ingredients.  Some of the most important are:

  • The Manager/Supervisor has credibility in the employee’s eyes that the Manager/Supervisor knows what they’re talking about.

  • The employee trusts the coach’s opinion.

  • The Manager/Supervisor sets an environment conducive to effective communication.

  • The Manager/Supervisor makes sure that the employee receives the needed training on how to perform as expected.

  • Performance expectations and measurement criteria are clear.

  • Feedback on the employee’s performance is accurate.

  • The Manager/Supervisor provides feedback on things done well as well as areas needing improvement.

  • The Manager/Supervisor actively involves the employee’s ideas on how to make needed improvements.

Coaching Efforts That Fail

When coaching fails, it’s also often for some key reasons.  Some of the common ones are:

  • The employee doesn’t trust the Manager/Supervisor.

  • The Manager/Supervisor hasn’t established credibility in the employee’s eyes that they know what they are talking about.

  • The Manager/Supervisor sets a threatening atmosphere for the discussion.

  • The Manager/Supervisor hasn’t trained the employee how to perform as expected.

  • The employee doesn’t feel they’ve been told the applicable performance expectations and how they’re going to be measured.

  • The employee doesn’t feel the Manager/Supervisor’s feedback is accurate and objective.

  • The Supervisor/Manager can’t provide specific examples of what the employee needs to improve.

  • The Manager/Supervisor only concentrates on what the employee needs to improve and doesn’t praise things done well.

So How Do I Learn These Skills?

To help you learn how to coach effectively, KAW Consulting developed  “Coaching Skills for Managers and Supervisors” an electronic handbook that walks you step by step through the process of how to coach your employees effectively.

Written in clear, easy to understand language, you’ll learn how to:

  • Establish the groundwork to have an effective coaching relationship with your employees.

  • Determine expected performance levels for your employees’ major tasks and responsibilities.

  • Provide your employees with the needed training.

  • Analyze your employees’ current level of performance against expected levels, and identify areas needing improvement.

  • Hold an effective coaching discussion to provide employees with feedback on how they are doing, and develop plans for making needed improvements.

We’ve even included sample forms you can use to identify how you want to define expected levels of performance, develop training plans, analyze how well your employees are performing, and plan an effective coaching discussion.

Available in both Kindle and PDF

To meet the demands of our global users, “Coaching Skills for Managers and Supervisors” is now available in both Kindle and PDF versions.  U.S. purchasers can purchase both. International users eligible to purchase from Amazon can purchase the Kindle Version.  Both versions allow you to have it accessible each time you need to coach an employee.

KINDLE Version

Click Here to see a Sample  Kindle Version.  U.S. users can order directly.  Global users should  either click here, or visit your applicable Amazon website and input “Coaching Skills for Managers and Supervisors” in the search criteria.

PDF Version

For U.S. users, the PDF version allows you to store “Coaching Skills for Managers and Supervisors” on your computer so you have it accessible each time you need to coach an employee. It includes hyperlinks so you can jump right to the page or section you need without having to spend time scrolling through unneeded pages. If you want hard copy you can print what you need.

You can purchase single copies or share with additional users by purchasing additional licenses. This makes it easy for organizations to increase the productivity of their staffs.

You can buy single copies for the low price of $21.95.

Sharing with additional users is also easy–just purchase additional licenses at $19.95 per user.

To view a sample and instructions on how to purchase the PDF version online click here.

Note: PDF Version available to only U.S. customers at this time.

How to Delegate Work so It Gets Done

Successful delegation is one of the most critical skill sets a Supervisor or Manager needs to develop. Yet, many Managers and Supervisors resist delegating. Learn some of the principal reasons for this resistance, and how to provide your Supervisors and Managers with the tools they need to delegate effectively.

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Successful delegation is one of the most critical skill sets a Supervisor or Manager needs to develop. Being able to delegate successfully helps you tap into the potential of your staff.  It helps you accomplish much more than you could working alone, and allows you to devote your time and efforts to your most critical tasks, or things you do best.  Put simply, being able to delegate successfully is one of the keys to a successful career in Supervision or Management.

Yet, many Managers and Supervisors resist delegating.  Common reasons include:

  • Fear of loss of control.
  • Don’t feel that their staff has the ability to do the work.
  • Tried to delegate before but it didn’t work
  • Staff resists the idea of taking on more work

The good news, however, is that there are solutions to these factors.  For example you can:

  • Delegate at a level you’re comfortable with.
  • Delegate a small portion of a task initially, and use that as a way of building your delegating skills.
  • Use specific strategies for overcoming staff reluctance.
  • Follow an effective 3 stage process to plan what to delegate, make the delegation and conduct the needed follow-up so you know where things stand.

Because be able to delegate successfully is such an important skill, KAW Consulting developed “DELEGATING FOR RESULTS”, an electronic handbook that will help you learn these vital skills. You’ll learn how to effectively:

  • Identify what tasks to delegate.
  • Identify the right people to delegate to.
  • Identify the level of delegation that you’re comfortable with.
  • Determine what the person doing the task needs, so they can deliver the results you expect.
  • Hold effective delegation meetings.
  • Conduct the needed follow-up to stay on top of the person’s progress.

Unlike most books that describe the delegation process in general terms, “DELEGATING FOR RESULTS” walks you through the process step by step, helping you think of the key ingredients to make your delegation successful, and avoid the common problems that crop up in unsuccessful ones.  We’ve even included forms to help you analyze your major tasks and identify which ones are excellent candidates to delegate, furnish the person you’re delegating to with the important information they need to understand about the task, and a checklist to make sure you’ve considered the vitals steps when planning your delegation.

Like any great handbook, “DELEGATING FOR RESULTS” is something you’ll want to use over and over again..  And unlike paper handbooks, that get lost easily, it’s an electronic book in PDF format, that you can store on your computer so you have it accessible each time you need to use it.  Just call it up and it’s ready to use. If you want hard copy, you can print what you need.  To save you time, we’ve even included hyperlinks in the Table of Contents so you can jump right to the page or section you need without having to spend time scrolling through unneeded pages.

You can buy single copies for the low price of $15.95.

Sharing with additional users is also easy–just purchase additional licenses at $14.95 per user.

To view a sample and instructions on how to purchase online click here.

Note: Available to only U.S. customers at this time.

Training on a Shoestring

Learn how to provide your employees with the training and tools they need without spending a lot of money by creatively using what most of you already have at your fingertips to develop high value training materials and application guides that you can put on your employees’ computer desktop by simply sending them out as e-mail.

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KAW Consulting · Wilmington, DE ·  302-479-7855 · kawconsulting@comcast.net

Training on a Shoestring

Note: For examples of materials developed in the format discussed below, see www.kawconsulting.com and click on any of our Manager’s Toolkit offerings.

During periods of economic stress, your organization’s success is extremely dependent on your employees’ use of key business skills.  Yet, even though critical, during an economic crunch, many organizations cut their training efforts dramatically due to the belief that spending money on training is far too expensive and an unjustifiable use of limited resources when the organization is looking to cut costs as much as possible. 

 As typical as this reaction is, it ignores the reality that during such times employees at all levels often face new challenges requiring new skills—from employees who need to work more collaboratively with other group members or colleagues from other sections, to Supervisors and Managers who suddenly face a whole new host of problems due to dealing with larger staffs and increasingly heavier demands on their time from both above and below. 

 As a Training Manager/Learning Director this presents you with quite a dilemma.  How do you provide your employees with the support they need to learn and apply these new skills in their day to day jobs without spending a lot of money?   The answer lies in creatively using what most of you already have at your fingertips to develop high value materials that you can put on your employees’ computer desktop by simply sending them out as e-mail.  Here’s how:

 Step 1: Think Like an Employee—What Would You Want if You Were in Their Shoes?

As a first step, start by pretending that you’re the employee facing new job expectations, and are looking for something that would not only teach you what you need to know about the key new skills you need to use, but also provide you with tools you can use to apply these skills each time you use them. To find the right solution, you’d probably ask yourself the following types of questions:

  • What am I expected to do that’s different and challenging?
  • What new skills does that take?
  • What do I need to show me how to use these skills in my job?  

 The answers usually cause you to look for something that “shows me what I need to do, the steps I need to take, and has some application tools handy to refer to each time I need them.” 

 That’s why employees have always loved checklists, “cheat sheets” and simple handbooks outlining the critical steps to apply a new procedure.  That’s why so often these items are the most popular take aways from a formal classroom training program.  As a Training Manager, you can take advantage of this natural tendency and develop materials in this format.

 Step 2: Ask People What They Are Dealing With and What Do They Need  To Know?

The best way to find out what challenges people need help dealing with is to ask.  Get some people in similar positions together and ask them questions like:

  • “What’s changed about your job during the last few months?”
  • “What things are the most challenging for you?”
  • “What’s the most frustrating?”

 Their answers will quickly point you to some common skills that people in that type of position need help with. 

 For example, ask a group of Supervisors or Managers the above questions and you may hear answers like:

  • “I have to spend most of my time in meetings, and many aren’t productive.”
  • “I’m not supposed to do the work myself, but I’m responsible for making sure it’s done right.”
  • “I’m on all these special project teams, and we’re struggling getting things done.”
  • “I’m split in 50 different directions.”

 Answers like indicate that you should concentrate your efforts on providing support with things like:

  • Designing and running better meetings
  • Basic delegation skills
  • Basic team project skills
  • Time management

 If you do this for each of the major types of positions in your organization, you will soon have a good handle on the most important type of support you can provide each group.

 Step 3: What to Put in Your Materials

As mentioned previously, employees put a high value on easy to use checklists, and simple handbooks that show them how to do their challenging tasks.   Consequently, you want to develop your materials in this type of format.  Possible topics to include are:

  • Basic information on the skill such as a definition, when to use it, etc.
  • Basic success ingredients and pitfalls to avoid
  • Frameworks or checklists that cover the basic steps to use each time they apply the skill. 

 Step 4: Format Your Materials So They Are Very Easy To Use. 

Write in simple easy to understand language.  Make liberal use of lists and bullet points, so the information can also serve as an application guide. Include a separate section just for forms and checklists. Be sure to include a Table of Contents.  Include hyperlinks to take employees directly to the material they need.

 Most materials can probably be developed using your company’s word processing program. You can protect their integrity by putting them into a PDF file.

 Step 5: Distribute via e-mail.

Many trainers overlook how easy it is to get materials in the hands of employees.  Simply send them out via e-mail with the appropriate cover letter containing instructions on how to use and store them in a dedicated folder on their computer’s desktop for easy access.  Once they have a folder set up, you can add additional materials as needed.  You could, of course, also have the materials accessible on your organization’s intranet if you have one.

 Step 6: Use Materials as the Basis for Further Training

Once distributed, you can also use the materials as the backbone for further training.  One easy way to do so is to conduct any needed sessions by conference call or web conferencing software.  Participants can access the materials on their computer during the session.  For example, you might conduct a session with a group of employees on how to use the materials in some real life situations they face and bring to the call. You can also conduct sessions for Managers on how to coach their reports on how to use the materials on a day to day basis.

 In sum, these methods and some creativity on your part can help you avoid the “we don’t have any money” trap that derails so many training efforts, and start providing much welcome support to your organization’s employees during very difficult times. 

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