A 6-part series focusing on impactful practices for developmental coaching conversations.
Today’s manufacturing leaders are savvy firefighters – addressing and solving complex fires (situations) one after another. But what if there was a different approach? One that allows the employee to address and solve the complexity with their leader instead of being dependent on their leader to solve or fix the challenge at hand? What might it be like if the leader paused, recalibrated, and approached the situation as a coaching conversation opportunity?
You might be thinking to yourself, “I just don’t have time for this type of conversation”, “We need to move and move fast”, or “It’s just easier if I do it”. Certainly, those are valid considerations; however, as leaders, if we continuously solve problems or put out those fires for our employees, we unwittingly create a culture of dependency and enablement. Then, we as leaders scratch our heads and wonder why our employees can’t problem-solve on their own. The hard truth is… not choosing to have these important coaching conversations with our team members and teams creates a business ecosystem that erodes trust and lowers their ability to work autonomously and make sound, empowering decisions.
This is the first of a 6-part series based on my own coaching observations and conversations I’ve had with manufacturing leaders. This series is intended to help manufacturing leaders explore their own coaching practices and habits and consider techniques to further develop their own coaching approach. The impacts of having healthy, proactive developmental coaching conversations build up an employee’s capacity to handle the tough stuff and engages them in ways that enrich them personally as well as the organizational culture. And know that as leaders, in order to be an effective coach, one must remain coachable.
Developmental Coaching is defined as “A focused and intentional conversation between you and your team member that involves a creative and thought-provoking process inspiring the team member to tap into their own unique resourcefulness and discover and create their own decisions to maximize outcomes”.
Powerful Coaching Practice #1: Focus
When initiating a coaching conversation, formally or impromptu, find your center, let go of all other distractions, and focus solely on the other person and their needs. Allow them to show up and speak as themselves and not how you wish they would be. Pay close attention to how your mind wanders and bring yourself back to the moment. Become aware of any judgements or biases that may begin to surface and simply notice them. Judgements and biases without deep awareness will begin to unwittingly seep into your behaviors and actions towards that person and often times will hinder or misdirect the conversation.
Take a moment to reflect on what they are truly saying and discern facts from the story they may be telling themselves. Acknowledge their emotions if that should surface and reflect back what you heard to be the facts within their context, not yours.
For reflection: are you fully present during the coaching conversation for the team member? What distractions might be hindering your focus and how might you readjust those distractions (or judgements/biases) to help you support what is truly important to them?
Next Up: Powerful Coaching Practice #2: Listening Simply to Understand and Not to Judge, Fix, or Solve
Schedule a complimentary leadership coaching assessment with Stacey Curry here.