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.

Why Worry About Social Media?

Ever wondered how to answer someone that asks what’s the value of all this social networking stuff? Or why would anyone ever use Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, You Tube, etc. and how do they relate to each other?

You can play the role of an expert and develop your own answer by solving the case in this posting. A great way to learn by doing!

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Introduction: Ever wondered how to answer someone that asks what’s the value of all this social networking/media stuff?  Or why would anyone ever use Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, You Tube, etc. and how do they relate to each other?

Well, here’s a way to learn by playing the role of an expert and advising someone else asking the same basic question.  The case below challenges you to test your creativity and advise someone on the impact of changes being caused as a result of social networking. In this case it’s your friends (a brother and sister) who as you’ll see in the scenario don’t understand social media, but are being impacted by it in a real way.

This scenario is based on one of the important types of change—the need to adapt to changes in the environment caused by events largely outside of your control. In this case, the change is because of social media.

To play:

  • Read the scenario below.
  • Then develop some advice.
  • If you want to share your ideas, post your response on Twitter #KAWConsulting so others can respond and share their ideas as well.

  • Better yet, share this challenge with others (friends, colleagues, etc.)  and get them to respond as well.  (It can be the start of a collaborative learning community).

  • Or, leave a comment.  (Comments will be public so be advised that others viewing this posting will be able to see them).

Scenario:

Your friends own and run a party store. The store has been in their family for 30 years. Their father started it back in the 80’s, and now they run it. The key to being successful for so long has been based on:

– Location (it’s in a suburban strip mall with easy access from several local single family house developments).

– Carrying the right inventory—supplies for birthday parties, holidays, graduations, weddings, etc.

– Affordable prices

– Marketing—they have display ads in the local phone directory, advertise in the community paper, support school events, etc.

Lately their business is going down, while they’ve noticed that one of their competitors seems awfully busy. This concerns them—along with the fact that their income is taking quite a nose dive.

Consequently, your friends hired a mystery shopper and find out that their competitor is using some strange new techniques, that frankly they had never really heard of. Apparently, the competitor has something called a Blog and writes articles on everything you need to know to plan your party or event. They seem to have fans on something called Facebook, and have created a community of enthusiastic followers, that always seem to know about their specials. They even are using something called Twitter to communicate with an even wider network. What’s more, they’ve even hired someone called an Event Specialist, who can help customers plan your party so it’s just right.

Getting somewhat frantic, your friends call you, because you always seem to be on the leading edge of everything, and ask for advice on what to do. Even though they don’t know much about the new technology, or how to use it, they know they need to do something fast and right.

Based on what you’ve heard, your gut tells you that the changes involved may be enormous and involve a lot more than just technology.

Challenge: Assume that you’re the friend. What advice would you give about:

– What your friends need to learn.

– What they need to do.

– What challenges will they face?

– What changes will they need to make?

– Who will be impacted by the changes?

– What do they need to do to implement them successfully?

– Other advice you think important.

Resources: A couple of Blogs with helpful information–look for ideas on how to use Social Media as Marketing Tool.

http://www.modernmediainstitute.com/

http://mashable.com/

Question for further reflection: What approach can you use to help your organization learn how best to use social media?

Contact Information

E-Mail KAWCONSULTING@COMCAST.NET

Copyright 2010 KAW Consulting.  All rights reserved.

Planning for a Major Change Initiative

For a major change initiative to succeed, it’s vital that the planning for it addresses key strategic, leadership and operational issues. Learn important key questions to consider when planning a major change initiative.

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Note:   This post provides a list of questions that need to be considered when planning a major change initiative. For assistance in developing a plan based on these and other questions unique to your organization, contact KAW Consulting directly.

Introduction:  For a major change initiative to succeed, it’s vital that the planning for it addresses key strategic, leadership and operational issues.  Projects that fail often don’t sufficiently address these areas and find that they didn’t have a broad enough definition of the project’s scope, didn’t include all the necessary activities, or have the needed resources to make the initiative a success.

Following is a list of questions to ask when developing the strategy for a major change initiative to help ensure your plan addresses the needed areas.  

Strategic

  • Is there a clear Vision for the initiative that clearly states why it’s being done, the reasons why it’s critical for the organization’s continued success, the benefit of doing it, and the probable impact of it on the organization?

  • Can the Highest Executive in the organization clearly explain this?

  • Is the definition of the initiative’s scope broad enough to encompass what really needs to be done?

Example: Does the initiative require a re-examination and redesign of existing business processes as well as integration of new technology? Will there be major impacts on staffing, relationships between departments, need for better teamwork, etc. as a result of the initiative?

  • Does each member of Executive Leadership have a clear understanding of the initiative’s purpose, strategic intent and true impact on their segment of the organization, and their role in making this a success? Many times this is only vaguely understood and the result is a lack of communication down the line that this effort is “critical” and the needed attention be paid to it as one of the “key things we’re working on”.

  • Is this initiative’s success reflected in key organization strategic goals and performance criteria at the executive level?

  • Are the initiative’s resource requirements understood and included in the organization’s capital and operating expense budgets?

  • Is the status of the initiative included in the organization’s key monitoring systems that evaluate progress against key strategic goals?

Leadership

  • Who has overall responsibility for implementation of this initiative? Is this clearly communicated and understood by the organization’s Executive and Senior Leadership?

  • Does this responsibility cover all the needed areas such as business impact identification and process redesign, user training, system implementation and adoption planning versus just system development and testing?

  • Does the initiative have a Leadership Team composed of representatives from impacted departments/stakeholder areas with responsibility and accountability for successful implementation in their Department?

  • Do these Departmental representatives clearly understand their roles and responsibilities? Is the success of this initiative a key part of their performance criteria?

  • Do the Departmental representatives have enough organizational authority to ensure the initiative gets the needed attention in their department/area?

  • Do the various Departments and Stakeholders have this initiative and its success as one of their key performance goals? Are the necessary resources included in their Departmental operating budgets?

Operational

  • Does the initiative’s overall project plan include all the major activity areas such as business impact analysis, process redesign evaluation, staffing and culture change needs, communications, implementation planning, user training, etc. versus just system design, testing and implementation?

  • Key Question to Answer: What are the areas someone might say “This is clearly a major area we overlooked in our planning…” if the project failed. These are all activity areas that need to be in your plan.

Example: Departments did not really understand the impact on their operations and proactively get ready for it, and experienced substantial difficulties once new technology started up. When looking at the initiative’s overall plan after the fact, it didn’t include enough attention to departmental business impact analysis as a major phase.

Why Projects Fail and How to Avoid It

Learn how to make your projects succeed and avoid common reasons for project failure.

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If you’ve led or been involved in a project that failed, or ran into significant problems, you know first hand that it can be a real nightmare.  Even if it’s not a major project, the aggravation of unmet deliverables, missed deadlines, or cost overruns can be substantial, and have a real negative impact on your career.

So if your called upon to lead or participate in a  project in addition to your regular responsibilities, understanding some of the common reasons why projects fail and what to do about it is a must.

Common Reasons for Project Failure

Projects that fail, often fail for some common reasons.  Among these are:

  • Poorly Defined Project Requirements:

– Example: A new computer system implementation that left out a plan to adequately train new users.

  • Poor Task Analysis:

    – Example: An office move that left out important steps.

  • Overlooked reaction from people impacted by the project:

    – Example: A plan for a new road that didn’t plan sufficiently for negative community resistance and boycott.

  • Poor Scheduling:

    – Example: A project plan for implementing an initiative that called for heavy involvement from staff during peak normal workloads.

  • Lack of understanding or agreement by project team members of their responsibilities

    – Example: A critical task isn’t done because one of the project team members didn’t realize they were responsible for it.

  • Lack of Coordination with other Groups/Departments. 

    – Example:  The failure to include the impact of a new computer system on another system that uses the same data.

  • Missed Deadline

    – Example: The failure to hold timely project reviews to monitor the project’s status, and take corrective action when necessary.

Projects That Work

On the other hand, successful projects are usually completely the opposite of projects that fail.  They usually have the following traits:

  • A clearly defined purpose and scope.
  • Clearly defined objectives that can be measured to determine if the project is a success.
  • Deliverables that are clearly stated and agreed upon.
  • Buy-in by Key Stakeholders on the need for the project.
  • Identified Coordination requirements both within the project team and with other affected groups.
  • Clearly defined critical success factors.
  • A project plan and schedule that  includes all the needed work tasks and deadlines.
  • A budget that reflects all the needed costs to successfully complete the project.
  • Sufficient status monitoring that  measures progress against the schedule, and identifies any needed corrective actions.

Because being able to manage projects successfully is such an important skill, KAW Consulting developed “PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR MANAGERS AND SUPERVISORS”, an electronic handbook that will help you learn these vital skills.  You’ll learn a 4 phase process to:

  • Define the project’s scope, objectives, deliverables, critical success factors, resource needs, and collaboration requirements.
  • Break the work down into its major work blocks and tasks.
  • Develop an easy to use project schedule.
  • Monitor the project’s status and what to do if you find you’re off course.

Unlike most books on project management that are complicated and hard to understand,  “PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR MANAGERS AND SUPERVISORS ” is exactly the opposite. It’s written in easy to understand language that walks you through the process of managing a project step by step, helping you think of the key ingredients to make your project successful, and avoid the common problems that crop up in unsuccessful ones.  We’ve even included sample forms you can easily adapt to fit your own project when defining the project’s key ingredients and developing the schedule and budget.

Like any great handbook, “PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR MANAGERS AND SUPERVISORS” 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 $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 online click here.

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.

How to Give Your Managers and Supervisors the Training and Tools They Need To Succeed, and Get Them To Use Them

Learn how to provide your Managers and Supervisors with the training and tools they need to succeed in 6 critical basic skill areas.

Summary: This post provides U.S. training consultants with a low cost way of providing Managers, Supervisors and other Leaders with low cost electronic handbooks that help them develop the skills needed to meet 6 of their most fundamental day-to-day challenges.

In today’s turbulent economy having effective Managers and Supervisors is key to your organization’s survival.   Managers and Supervisors are being called on to take on much larger challenges than many are used to such as dealing with larger staffs, taking leadership positions on special projects, and dealing with increasingly heavier demands on their time from both above and below.  And many are being asked to do so without the training and support they need to know how to deal effectively with these challenges.

To succeed in this type of environment, Managers need to master 6 basic skills.  These are how to:

  • Design and Run Effective Meetings
  • Hold Effective Team Discussions
  • Delegate Work Successfully
  • Manage Projects
  • Manage Their Time
  • Coach Employees

While desperately needed, too often attempts to provide Managers and Supervisors with training and/or resources in these important areas fail.  Some of the common reasons are:

  • Available training is too expensive, so none is offered.
  • Available books and resources on the subjects provide too much information, and no real “how to” application tools.
  • Materials are too hard to get to when you need them.

To correct this, KAW Consulting developed the “Manager’s Toolkit“,  a set of electronic handbooks  that guide Managers and Supervisors step by step through each of the processes used in the 6 basic skill areas.

Unlike most books on the 6 key skill areas, that are too complicated and hard to understand, the “Manager’s Toolkit” handbooks are exactly the opposite. They’re written in easy to understand language that walks the Manager or Supervisor step by step through the processes needed to apply each of the 6 key skills.   Many even include sample forms and checklists.

Like any great handbook, the handbooks in the “Manager’s Toolkit” are something meant to be used over and over again.  And unlike paper handbooks, that get lost easily, they’re electronic books in PDF format, that Managers and Supervisors can store on their computer so they have them accessible each time they need to design a meeting, hold a team discussion, delegate a task, manage a project or coach an employee.  Just call up a handbook and it’s ready to use.  If they want a hard copy, they can print what only they need.  To save  time, we’ve even included hyperlinks in each handbook’s  Table of Contents, as appropriate, so they can jump right to the page or section they need without having to spend time scrolling through unneeded pages.

To view samples of each, and to learn how to purchase copies, click here.

Note: PDF Versions Available to U.S. Purchasers Only. Non U.S. Purchasers can purchase Kindle Versions.  Click here for information on how to do so.

How to Stop Having Bad Meetings

70% of employees feel the meetings they attend aren’t productive. Learn how to design and run meetings that work.

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People spend a lot of time at work in meetings.  And according to surveys, 70% of employees feel that the meetings they attend aren’t productive—in short a waste of time.

If you’re one of the majority that feels this way, this comes as no surprise.  You know the feelings of frustration all too well.  As well as the financial cost.  If  4 people each earning $40,000 a year attend a 2 hour meeting that goes nowhere, that’s a cost of $152  of wasted time just for that meeting.  Not to mention the incidental costs such as travel. Take those costs and multiply by the number of meetings you feel are a waste of time over a year and you are getting some real money.  In this day and age when organizations are facing enormous budget constraints, and are  looking hard at all their cost elements, improving meeting quality jumps out as a “no brainer”.

Yet there is often little analysis of why meetings fail, or what needs to happen so they succeed. Here are some of the common reasons things go wrong that you can measure against your own experience.

●    Meeting leader is unprepared and tries to “wing it”

●    There’s no formal agenda

●    Everyone disagrees on the meeting’s subject

●    The expected desired results are not defined

●    People critical to meeting’s success:

–     Don’t Show Up

–     Weren’t Invited

–     Come late or leave early

●    Participants don’t understand their roles

●    Unfocussed discussion

●    Results are not accurately recorded.

●   Other reasons that you’ve experienced

On the other hand, meetings that work usually contain the following elements.

●    Meeting is well designed:

–  Has a purpose statement with agreed upon meeting subject and desired results

– Has an agenda that clearly specifies topics for discussion, timing, participant expectations, etc.

        –  Provides participants with needed background information

–  Determines needed pre-work by participants.

–  Uses effective group discussion processes such as brainstorming, problem solving, decision making, etc.

        –  Determines needed meeting logistics

●    Meeting starts and ends on time

●    Meeting Leader is prepared

●    The critical people are in attendance

●    Participants understand their roles and participate appropriately

●    The meeting’s discussion focuses on the topics at hand

●    Pertinent discussion and results are captured and used going forward as needed.

Because holding better meetings is so important, KAW Consulting developed “Meetings That Work”, an electronic handbook that shows you step by step how to design and run effective meetings.   Written in a clear, easy to use format you’ll learn:

  • What makes meetings succeed, and why many fail
  • The crucial roles that need to be filled in each meeting
  • The 8 Steps for designing Effective Meetings
  • Tips for Running an Effective Meeting
  • How to deal with potential problems you may encounter such as:

                  – Stares and Silence

                  – Negative Remarks

                  – Separate Agendas

                  – One person trying to dominate the discussion

  • How to use effective group discussion processes to:

–  Generate Ideas by Brainstorming

–  Solve Problems

–  Make Better Decisions

–  Plan Tasks

–  Set Goals

What’s more, because it’s an electronic book in PDF format, you can store it on your computer so you have it accessible each time you need to design a meeting!  We’ve even included hyperlinks 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 $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 online click here.

Note: Available to U.S. purchasers only.