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Saturday, July 29, 2017

How to Be A Great Leader








Armed with engagement surveys and research, a few colleagues and I set out to learn what’s different about the people who lead America’s best workplaces. Our goal was to escape from management theory and consultant jargon and break leadership down to its most universal elements.  Companies recognized as America’s Best Places to Work blogs and articles were researched. 

THESE ARE THE 15 TRIED AND TRUE SKILLS THAT WILL MAKE YOU A LEADER WORTH FOLLOWING:

1.DEFINE YOUR DESTINATION 
[VISION OF THE FUTURE]

ALL GREAT LEADERS HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON: VISION.

Whether you’re leading a huge company or a small team, you need to be able to communicate an inspiring vision of the end goal. Leading implies movement from here
to there. Great leaders envision and communicate the destination. What’s your purpose? Sit down and write out your vision, the end goal. This will become a rallying cry so prepare to communicate your vision again and again.
Without vision, you can’t lead; you can only wander.

2. CHART YOUR COURSE
[CLARITY]

IF VISION DEFINES THE DESTINATION, CLARITY IS THE ROADMAP.

In an uncertain world, people are hungry for clarity. Great leaders see the trip in their minds before they leave and plan for the road ahead. Your people want to know how their role specifically supports the greater vision. Sit
down with each member of your team and help them
understand how they fit into the mission.

3. BE READY TO ADJUST YOUR COURSE
[ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT]

AS THE JOURNEY EVOLVES, YOU’LL SEE UNEXPLORED LANDSCAPES AND POTENTIAL SHORTCUTS.

Great leaders are willing to take prudent risks on their way toward the destination. You’ll need to make tough choices about which shortcuts are worth exploring and which shortcuts are too risky.

4.BECOME CHIEF PROBLEM SOLVER 
[CONFRONTING ISSUES]

YOUR MAP WON’T ALWAYS BE ACCURATE . SHORTCUTS WON’T ALWAYS WORK OUT. THERE WILL BE PROBLEMS.

Great leaders are great problem solvers. You need the ability to recognize and address a problem before it becomes an emergency. You’ll need to be a fair mediator when conflict arises between members of your team. And great leaders never tolerate a bad crew member. Think about your team, are their people who are threatening your journey?

5.EMBRACE CHANGE & TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
[MANAGING CHANGE]

GREAT LEADERS TRACK THEIR PROGRESS TO GET BETTER AS THE JOURNEY GOES ON.

As you confront problems, change course and explore new ground, you’ll also need to gather feedback and learn from your mistakes. Never get comfortable; complacency
is the beginning of the end for many leaders. You should always be challenging the status quo and looking for
opportunities for improvement.

6.BE AN EXPERT 
[BUSINESS ACUMEN]

GREAT LEADERS ARE ETERNALLY CURIOUS.

You might be leading a journey through uncharted territory; but you can always learn from other expeditions. Study the competition and those that have gone before. Seek out ways to learn about what stands between you and the goal. Understand the financial implications of your decisions relative to the budget for your journey. Don’t expect people to follow you if you’re not an expert – or at least on your way to becoming one.

7. INNOVATE
[DRIVING INNOVATION]

INNOVATION STEMS FROM THE LATIN INNOVATIO, MEANING “ TO RENEW OR CHANGE”.

And since leadership is all about creating postive change, leadership is fundamentally tied to innovation. Maybe innovation is your end goal (like a new product or service). Or maybe it’s a new way to get to your end goal (like the compass was for ancient mariners). Either way, leaders must constantly look for innovative ideas and solutions.
They develop a ‘culture of innovation’, an environment that encourages and rewards innovation. And most importantly, great leaders are good at picking which innovations
to pursue.

8.GET THINGS DONE
[ACHIEVING RESULTS]

IDEAS ARE OVERRATED.EXECUTION IS WHAT LEADERSHIP IS REALLY ABOUT.

Great leaders set and communicate aggressive goals. They are able to manage priorities during hard times and point their people toward the most worthwhile problems. The best leaders understand that they cannot do it all; they delegate responsibilities to their team and hold their team accountable for the results.

9.EXERCISE GOOD JUDGEMENT
[SOUND JUDGEMENT]

TO EARN YOUR FOLLOWERS TRUST AND  RESPECT, YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE SOUND DECISIONS.

Don’t subscribe to the trust-your-gut school of leadership. Great leaders make data-driven decisions. They collect and analyze the right data to make sound decisions. They look at all their options and balance short and long-term considerations when making judgments.

10.KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS 
[CLIENT FOCUS]

LEADERSHIP CAN BE LONELY.

At times you will feel isolated, even from the members of your own team or inner circle. It can be tempting to hole up in your ivory tower, mapping out strategy. But great leaders maintain their focus on the client. They get out into the field to intimately get to know their customers’ needs. They develop and encourage strong relationships with customers. And they successfully prioritize customer requests.

11.BUILD A GREAT CREW 
[BUILDING TEAMS]

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT ATTRACTING FOLLOWERS. IT’S ABOUT ATTRACTING THE RIGHT FOLLOWERS.

Great leaders know there’s a ceiling to what they can get done alone – so they need to surround themselves with great people to leverage their effectiveness. Great leaders don’t stack their team with weak players in order to cement their leadership; they surround themselves with the best players they can find.

12.INSPIRE THE TEAM 
[INSPIRING OTHERS]

MOST PEOPLE THINK INSPIRATION LOOKS LIKE THE COACH’S HALF TIME SPEECH AT A FOOTBALL GAME .

But you don’t need to be a motivational speaker to inspire your team. That’s because actions talk louder than words. You’ll get the best commitment from your team by setting an example for your team. When they see your energy and enthusiasm in pursuit of the vision, they’ll be inspired to follow suit. 

Intrinsic rewards like feeling valued and pursuing a worthy goal are often more motivating than extrinsic rewards like cash or other concrete benefits.

13.EARN THEIR TRUST
[INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION]

ONE OF THE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS FOR LEADERSHIP IS TRUST.

What builds trust? Honesty (telling the truth) and integrity (keeping your promises) are vital to earning and maintaining trust. Then sit down and listen to your
people. Get to know their skills and interests —repeat it back to them so they know you’ve heard. Do it because it’s the right thing to do — and also because you’ll earn their trust.

14.BREAK DOWN WALLS
[COLLABORATING]

GREAT LEADERS ARE CONNECTORS.

They connect their followers to one another. They tear down barriers to collaboration. They bring together teams and people to drive results. They develop collaborative partnerships to make things happen. And they evangelize the vision across this network of connected followers, teams and partners. What more can you do to connect your followers in order to create new opportunities?

15.CARE.REALLY, TRULY GIVE A HOOT.
[CLIENT FOCUS]

GREAT LEADERS ARE COMMITTED TO KEEPING THEIR PEOPLE AROUND.

How do you retain your best people? First, genuinely acknowledge your people for great work. Sometimes that means publicly, but authentic recognition also happens one- on-one; it means pulling them aside to say “I noticed what you did. And it was awesome.” The key to retaining your best people is demonstrating genuine care and concern for them and proving your commitment to creating a great workplace.

Sometimes what gets left off a list is equally as interesting. A sampling of leadership skills that were discarded by leading HR executives were:
financial acumen, global perspective, and executive presence. Perhaps these were too narrow to apply to broad leadership teams. Or perhaps they represent
a generation of management competencies that have been left behind. 

What we learned is that the 15 elements above are the great separators. They are the characteristics that distinguish adequate from awesome.

As you think about how you’d grade in these 15 competencies, pick one or two to focus on. Progress comes to those who focus on one skill at a time.

Get feedback from your peers and direct reports. Find someone in your company or community that’s widely recognized for excellence in the competency you’re focused on — and buy her lunch. Once you’ve mastered one, move on to two. 

Excellence happens one step at a time

A LEADER KNOWS THE WAY, GOES THE WAY, AND SHOWS THE WAY.”  ---John C. Maxwell


To your greater success,

Peter Mclees, Leadership Coach and Trainer
petercmclees@gmail.com
Mobile: 323-854-1713

P. S. Smart Development has an exceptional track record helping ports, sales teams, restaurants, stores, distribution centers, food production facilities, nonprofits, and other businesses create a strong culture, leadership bench strength, coaching skills and the teamwork necessary for growth. Having worked with several companies throughout their growth cycle, we have valuable insights and strategies that would help any late stage startup, small or medium sized company achieve sustained growth and prosperity.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

French and Raven's Five Forms of Power--Understanding Where Power Comes From in the Workplace












Do you know the source of your power?

Think of a leader you've known who relied on his or her ability to discipline or reward people to get things done. Then, remind yourself of a leader who was a renowned expert in his field, or who you really admired for his integrity.

How did it feel to work for these leaders, and which one got the best from you? The way a leader behaves toward you and how effectively you work as a result can both depend on the source of her power. And her power need not come from her official status or title.

Social psychologists John French and Bertram Raven studied this phenomenon more than half a century ago. Despite its age, their research can still help us to understand why some leaders influence us, how prepared we are to accept their power, and – if you are a leader – how you can develop new power bases to get the best from your people.

Understanding Power

In 1959, French and Raven described five bases of power:

  • Legitimate – This comes from the belief that a person has the formal right to make demands, and to expect others to be compliant and obedient.
  • Reward – This results from one person's ability to compensate another for compliance.
  • Expert – This is based on a person's high levels of skill and knowledge.
  • Referent – This is the result of a person's perceived attractiveness, worthiness and right to others' respect.
  • Coercive – This comes from the belief that a person can punish others for noncompliance.

Six years later, Raven added an extra power base:

Informational – This results from a person's ability to control the information that others need to accomplish something.

By understanding these different forms of power, you can learn to use the positive ones to full effect, while avoiding the negative power bases that managers can instinctively rely on.

The Bases of Power

Let's explore French and Raven's bases of power in two groups – positional and personal.

Positional Power Sources

Legitimate Power

A president, prime minister or monarch has legitimate power. So does a CEO, a religious minister, or a fire chief. Electoral mandates, social hierarchies, cultural norms, and organizational structure all provide the basis for legitimate power.

This type of power, however, can be unpredictable and unstable. If you lose the title or position, your legitimate power can instantly disappear, because people were influenced by the position you held rather than by you.

Also, the scope of your power is limited to situations that others believe you have a right to control. If a fire chief tells people to stay away from a burning building, for example, they'll likely listen. But if he tries to make two people act more courteously toward one another, they'll likely ignore the instruction.

Reward Power

People in power are often able to give out rewards. Raises, promotions, desirable assignments, training opportunities, and simple compliments – these are all examples of rewards controlled by people "in power." If others expect that you'll reward them for doing what you want, there's a high probability that they'll do it.

The problem with this power base is that it may not be as strong as it first seems. Supervisors rarely have complete control over salary increases, managers often can't control promotions by themselves, and even CEOs need permission from their boards of directors for some actions. Also, when you use up rewards, or when the rewards don't have enough perceived value, your power weakens.

Tip:

The exceptions to this are praise and thanks. We love to receive them and, best of all, they're free to give!
Coercive Power

This source of power is also problematic, and can be abused. What's more, it can cause dissatisfaction or resentment among the people it's applied to.

Threats and punishment are common coercive tools. You use coercive power when you imply or threaten that someone will be fired, demoted or denied privileges. While your position may allow you to do this, though, it doesn't mean that you have the will or the justification to do so. You may sometimes need to punish people as a last resort but if you use coercive power too much, people will leave. (You might also risk being accused of bullying them.)

Informational Power

Having control over information that others need or want puts you in a powerful position. Having access to confidential financial reports, being aware of who's due to be laid off, and knowing where your team is going for its annual “away day” are all examples of informational power.

In the modern economy, information is a particularly potent form of power. The power derives not from the information itself but from having access to it, and from being in a position to share, withhold, manipulate, distort, or conceal it. With this type of power, you can use information to help others, or as a weapon or a bargaining tool against them.

Personal Power Sources

Relying on these positional forms of power alone can result in a cold, technocratic, impoverished style of leadership. To be a true leader, you need a more robust source of power than a title, an ability to reward or punish, or access to information.

Expert Power

When you have knowledge and skills that enable you to understand a situation, suggest solutions, use solid judgment, and generally outperform others, people will listen to you, trust you, and respect what you say. As a subject matter expert, your ideas will have value, and others will look to you for leadership in that area.

What's more, you can expand your confidence, decisiveness and reputation for rational thinking into other subjects and issues. This is a good way to build and maintain expert power, and to improve your leadership skills.

You can read more about building expert power, and using it as an effective foundation for leadership, here.

Referent Power

Referent power comes from one person liking and respecting another, and identifying with her in some way. Celebrities have referent power, which is why they can influence everything from what people buy to which politician they elect. In a workplace, a person with referent power often makes everyone feel good, so he tends to have a lot of influence.

Referent power can be a big responsibility, because you don't necessarily have to do anything to earn it. So, it can be abused quite easily. Someone who is likeable, but who lacks integrity and honesty, may rise to power – and use that power to hurt and alienate people as well as to gain personal advantage.

Relying on referent power alone is not a good strategy for a leader who wants longevity and respect. When it is combined with expert power, however, it can help you to be very successful.

Key Points

In 1959, social psychologists John French and Bertram Raven identified five bases of power:

Legitimate.
Reward.
Expert.
Referent.
Coercive.
And, six years later, added an extra power base:

Informational.
Anyone is capable of holding power and influencing others: you don't need to have an important job title or a big office. But if you recognize the different forms of power, you can avoid being influenced by those who use the less positive ones – and you can focus on developing expert and referent power for yourself. This will help you to become an influential and effective leader.

Apply This to Your Life

Go through each power base and write down when and how you've used it.
Ask yourself if you used the power appropriately. Consider the expected and unexpected consequences, and decide what you'll do differently next time.

Think about the people who have power and influence over you. What sources of power do they use? Do they use their power appropriately?Where necessary, develop a strategy to reduce someone else's illegitimate use of power over you.

When you feel powerless or overly influenced, think about how you could regain your own power and control. After all, you're never without power. Aim to be more aware of the power you have, and use it to get what you need – humanely.

All the success,

Peter Mclees, Leadership Trainer and Coach 
petercmclees@gmail.com
Mobile: 323-854-1713

Smart Development  specializes in helping managers coach employees so they can and will contribute in greater ways to key organizational imperatives.


Call or email us today for more information on how we’ve helped other companies improve the coaching skills of their management team.

7 Leadership Lessons that can be Learned on the Golf Course










There are so many things can be accomplished on the golf course. For centuries it has served as a great place to sell, network, spend time with friends, or just take in the day.
Golf is a hobby to many, they play the game passionately and with high expectations even though for many it is played only sporadically. These high expectations combined with passion can also yield immense frustration as golf is an incredibly difficult game for even the most avid player. However, it often takes only a single great shot to makes all the pain and adversity entirely worthwhile. Ultimately it is what will keep you coming back to the links for years to come.
Leadership can be the same way. Those who are most active at it are often doing it out of passion and a desire to improve (self or others). This desire to change, inspire, and impassion can deliver amazing results one day only to bring dismal results the next. Nevertheless, when leadership and passion are a part of your DNA, quitting is never an option. So the choice becomes to persevere and to be a life long learner.
The lessons in leadership can come from many places. The classroom, conferences, the office, or from friends and family. I have learned from all of those places. I have also learned some lessons about leadership from my friends who are avid golfers. The following seven are the most impactful ones so far.

1. Sometimes you have to “Grip and Rip”

When it comes to leadership, sometimes we need to take some risks and go big. The safe shot to the landing area may keep you in play, but if it is going to take an eagle to achieve success, laying it up isn’t going to cut it. When these times come, you need to know it in your gut and then you need to grip it and rip it!

2. Other times it is best to “Lay Up”

Leadership is often about balance. And above we talk about going after it, but a strong leader does realize that there are times where the lay up is the best shot. When the risk/reward equation does not show a benefit in going “Pin Seeking” you need to realize that the center of the green/fairway is a good place to be, and Par is a good score (all the time).

3. The majority is in between your ears

A big part of being a leader is instinct. When you get on the course, put away the gizmos and gadgets and focus on the game. You cannot fix your swing on the course, that is what the practice range is for. In leadership, when you are in the middle of the fire, you need to react based on your experience and your gut. It is certainly not the time to “Do More Research.”

4. “Drive for Show and Putt for Dough”

As a leader, do not get wrapped up in the idea that the little things don’t count. Talk to all of the PGA professionals that have missed 2 foot putts costing them tournaments and money. That is where the “Putt for dough” phrase comes from. You see amateurs at the range all of the time banging drives, but never practicing their short game (chipping/putting) When you do the little things right, many of the bigger things become more clear and fall into place. While good driving and good putting help you to play a better overall game; if you are going to choose one or the other, make sure you are doing the little things right.

5. Recovery is a big part of Success

Failure is a part of any strong leaders CV. If not, you either aren’t really leading or you haven’t been doing it long enough. On the golf course, bad shots happen. The question is are you going to hit another bad shot because you are busy thinking about the shot before? In leadership it is the same, you have to quickly learn from your failure and put it behind you. If not, the mistakes become exponential and as a leader it can cost you dearly.

6. The ups and downs are “Common”

Many golfers can tell you about their low rounds and their hole in ones. These are the up moments. In leadership this is when the cards fall in place and success follows. Golf is a tough game and you can have your best and worst days in succession. Some days the ball bounces your way and other days it bounces into the water. This lesson transcends within leadership that results are never a guarantee, and sometimes a little luck can make a big difference! You have to learn to take in the bad with the good.

7. Improvement and Mastery are not the same thing!

Neither golf nor leadership can be mastered. We can make strides in self improvement through practice, action, and experience, however the idea of becoming a master is futile. Seek the former and ignore the latter. When you hit the pinnacle (not the brand of ball) in either golf or leadership there is always further to go if you so choose to continue the journey.
In Conclusion
  • So grab your Driver and go for it, unless of course laying up is a better option.
  • Be sure to use your brain, but not over think it because leadership is in your heart as much as your mind.
  • Keep your vision big, but focus on the little things so they don’t become a nuisance
  • When you hit a bad shot, don’t mess up the next 3 while dwelling on it because ups and downs are part of leadership.
All the success,


Peter Mclees, Leadership Trainer and Coach 
petercmclees@gmail.com
Mobile: 323-854-1713


Smart Development  specializes in helping managers coach employees so they can and will contribute in greater ways to key organizational imperatives.

Call or email us today for more information on how we’ve helped other companies improve the coaching skills of their management team.

Are you facing a looming empathy gap?












“Empathy is the critical 21st-century skill.” This quote is from Meg Bear, who was then a Group VP for Oracle. It appeared in a June, 2015 Fortune magazine article, written by Geoff Colvin, that was titled Humans are Underrated.

It’s hard to argue with the premise that as selling increasingly becomes automated that the ability to authentically connect with another human being will become more highly valued by both employers and customers.

Yet, in the same article, Colvin discusses the work of researchers who "analyzed 72 studies that measured empathy in about 14,000 college students since 1979 and found a broad decline over time.”

That’s right. At the same moment that having empathy is growing in importance in sales, it appears that successive generations of sellers (boomers, GenX'ers and millennials) possess increasingly diminishing amounts of it.

As Colvin states "As demand for empathy grows, supply shrinks.”
This is a problem. Your ability to understand and share the feelings of your customers is absolutely central to your ability to succeed. This is especially true as you deal with an increasingly diverse set of buyers, who are people you may not actually like or agree with.

What should you do? There are a number of good books available to help you elevate your emotional IQ (EQ.) Jeb Blount’s Sales EQ and Collen Stanley’s Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success are great places to start. 

In the meantime, please spending some time thinking about the following quote from Michele Norris, an American radio journalist.


“If you want to conquer the world, you have to understand it. The concern is that we are losing the ability to actively listen and therefore to engage in deep and meaningful conversation, that as we pull deeper inside ourselves with our headphones and personal devices and timelines full of people we choose to ‘like’ or to ‘follow,’ we put less of a premium on engagement with people we might not like or don’t want to follow.” 

To your greater success,

Peter Mclees, Sales Trainer and Coach
petercmclees@gmail.com
Mobile: 323-854-1713


P. S. Smart Development has an exceptional track record helping sales teams, restaurants, stores, distribution centers, food production facilities, nonprofits, ports and other businesses create a strong culture, leadership bench strength, coaching skills and the teamwork necessary for growth. Having worked with several companies throughout their growth cycle, we have valuable insights and strategies that would help any late stage startup, small or medium sized company achieve sustained growth and prosperity.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Coaching is the "secret sauce" for elevating performance














Coaching in a Nutshell

Coaching is the process of equipping people with the tools, knowledge, and opportunities they need to develop themselves and become more effective. 

Coaches equip people to develop themselves. Rarely will a leader or manager have the time to be involved with every aspect of someone’s development. And rarely will you possess all the information, skills, wisdom that someone might need to ensure their development to be an effective coach. Instead, view your role as a catalyst for development. 

Coaching is a continuous process, not an occasional conversation—“Let’s sit down and have a coaching session”—or a single event—“It’s time for you to take an advanced leadership class.” You might compare yourself to an orchestra conductor, so that sometimes you work one-on-one with a player, other times you direct them from afar, and on some occasions you cut people loose so they develop in areas completely outside you scope. You guide them to learn and practice regularly; you help channel their passion to learn into the best opportunities, and you harmonize their playing with the other members of the company. 

“Education is not filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” 
                                                        --William Butler Yeats


The 4 Realities That Compel Leaders To Be Better Coaches

Reality #1: Change is inevitable. Even the most successful organizations cannot rest on their laurels. They must continually remake themselves or risk falling from glory. Because today’s excellence is not a guarantee for tomorrow’s success, leaders who bask in complacency are due for rude awakening. 

Reality #2: People must learn and adapt quickly. Your people’s skills will become obsolete—in the same way technologies become outdated—if you rely solely on today’s capabilities to lead your company into the future. You cannot just hire talented people, teach them to do their jobs, and leave them alone. To cope with the inevitability of changing work demands, you need a work force that can learn new skills and adapt quickly. 

One way or another, most people figure out how to do their jobs. But development by default is too passive to achieve the standards of excellence and versatility that you must meet. Because the world refuses to wait for those who say “slow down while I gain more experience,” organizations are looking for better and faster ways to achieve breakthrough performance with their people. Experience and time alone are slow and inefficient teachers. You need to jump start learning and make sure it runs full speed in the right direction. 

Reality #3: Employees want to grow. Lifelong employment in the same job is a career path found only in the history books. Millennials at 33 percent, now represent the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, surpassing the Baby Boomer group, which has declined to 31%. And Millennials are not just pursuing job satisfaction ? they are pursuing development. 
  
Reality #4: People are the real source of competitive advantage. Versatile people—those who learn better and faster than your competition—sustain you edge in the marketplace. Because your people are your most important assets, coaching is your investment vehicle for long-term payback. 

Why Managers Don’t Coach

When managers are asked why they don’t coach they usually say one of the following: 

“I just don’t have time to do it.” (See the 5% Solution) 

“I don’t need to do coaching with my team. After all, I talk to them almost every day.” 

Let’s examine these two obstacles to coaching. 

When looking at the workload of today’s managers, the “no time” barrier rings true. Coaching does take time, especially for the manager, who must focus on his or her own tasks as well as coach. In the short run, coaching takes more time than not coaching. Although you are busy and have lots of responsibilities, consider this: your coaching helps create motivated, productive team members. In turn, these high-performance employees will lighten your load. The real question to answer is, “Can you afford not to?” 

One of the most common remarks made by managers that are introduced to coaching, “Why should I do coach with my team? I talk or see them every day. By the way, I also have an open door policy; so, my employees can come see me any time they need me. This approach is for other managers that don’t communicate with their people on a regular basis—not me.” 

Coaching sessions do no replace daily communication—they, in fact, are completely different. During our daily conversations and interactions, how often do we actually stop to discuss the activities of our employees or role-play sales calls? And although most managers have an open door policy, most people do not actually walk up to manager and say, “Hey, Boss. I am sure glad you have an open door policy. Can we spend the next 15 minutes talking about how I can develop?” 

The reality is this: every team can benefit from implementing developmental coaching. The process is used by highly successful managers and companies to bring out the best in their employees. 

How Coaching Benefits the Entire Organization 

The benefits of coaching seem to be very employee-oriented; however, looking at the bigger picture, your organization as a whole gains from having effective coaching sessions. Workplace Psychology, a website which covers areas of the workplace and workers from a scholarly perspective, offers some advantages of integrating coaching in your organization. I have elaborated their top three reasons: 

1. Overcome costly and time-consuming performance problems: many companies still rely on their annual performance to evaluate their employees’ performance. By integrating coaching in your organization, you can identify performance problems easier and quicker, and take the appropriate measures to overcome these hurdles such as re-aligning the employees’ objectives, or offering training/mentoring to help your employees succeed. 

2. Strengthen employees’ skills: Coaching allows employees to gain valuable skills and knowledge from their coach – whether it is you or a senior employee – which will eventually increase the productivity of your organization. Coaching also provides you with how the employees are performing; by following up with their progress, you may discover that they possess skills that you were not aware of. Therefore coaching helps you identify the competencies of your team and you may then take the initiative to strengthen these skills by encouraging them to take advanced classes or/and attend seminars. 

3. Improve retention: when employees are coached, they feel supported and encouraged by their manager and their organization. Coaching is a two-way communication process. You provide feedback to your employees and they are able to use this opportunity to also give feedback. Employees are more likely to stay in your organization if they feel that their voice is being heard by you and senior management. By integrating coaching, you are encouraging your managers and yourself to be more present among your employees. Coaching also allows you to identify employees who fit with your succession planning. 

The Secret of the 5% Solution

Many managers when exhorted to coach more and boss less will rightly say, “But my plate is already full. I can’t handle one more obligation. I rarely see my people because I’m so busy and they are scattered all over the place. There’s no way I can do all this.” 

You face a dilemma: Simple solutions don’t work for development, yet you don’t have time for complex solutions. So you need a coaching process that attacks the true challenges of getting a variety of people to change and yet is still manageable in light of available time and resources. That process is the 5% solution. 

You can be effective and efficient if you focus 5% of your energy and attention on coaching and development. Working smarter—not harder—helps you make the best investment of your time. The secret of efficient coaching is to know your priorities and then to create and seize coaching opportunities that arise in the course of your everyday work. If you are prepared, you can leverage a relatively small investment of your time into a walloping payback. 

The Role of Feedback in Coaching

What most managers do when they “coach” is evaluate, not develop their people to help them become more competent and committed. The key to both change and cooperation is feedback. 

What is feedback? Feedback is the process of giving information to someone about the impact the person makes through his or her attitudes, actions, and words. If there is lots of honest, open, specific feedback going on in a company, up and down and sideways, that is a clear signal that people are learning, changing and improving. 

Unfortunately, this is often not the case, most people dread feedback. They anticipate criticism and they feel they will be under attack. Egos goes up and receptivity goes down. This is because people look at feedback as evaluative, not developmental—probably because that is how they have experienced it. 

The main reason feedback is viewed negatively is that the person receiving the feedback believes the feedback is judgmental and that motives of the giver may be negative. People are not accustomed to feedback as a form of ongoing development. 

Although many people avoid getting feedback initially, once a person experiences effective feedback aimed at helping him or her get to the next level—developmental feedback—he or she becomes hungry for more. 

Developmental coaching is one of the most important things a manager can do to increase the productivity of his people and to help them meet or exceed their goals. 

Three Development Groups

1. Set the standard. 
The people in this category are not performing at the desired level and need to add new competencies to their repertories. People in this group might be new in their jobs or seasoned employees whose skills are below standard. 

2. Set new direction. 
People in this group have to unlearn old behaviors and learn new skills. Typically, they are performing well today, but their skills will be obsolete or insufficient as priorities evolve and new challenges become a reality. Changes in work demands, organizational strategies, or competitive forces might precipitate the need for a new direction. Sometimes the emerging demand for change is subtle, because needs are being met and people have been succeeding. But alert leaders recognize that the status quo will quickly fall short in a changing environment. 

3. Set free. 
In this group, you help people soar toward their full potential. They need to stretch their limits and find fresh applications for their skills so they do not become stale or restless. You might not notice these development needs if people are content within their comfort zone and they are meeting organizational needs. Sometimes you need to stir people up and expose them to new possibilities to get maximum yield from their talents. 

All the success,


Peter Mclees, Leadership Trainer and Coach 
petercmclees@gmail.com
Mobile: 323-854-1713


Smart Development  specializes in helping managers coach employees so they can and will contribute in greater ways to key organizational imperatives.

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