But Where Do I Aim?

coaching coaching and consulting employee coaching goals leadership Feb 16, 2023
But Where Do I Aim?

One of the struggles employees are facing in today’s market is that of having a target to shoot for in success. We bring on new employees, take them through the paperwork, teach them to do a job, and then hope for the best. It has been my experience that hope is a pretty lousy strategy. We have to help them find a purpose to shoot for.

People stay the most engaged when they understand the positive impact their role has on the organization. They need to know the end game of putting in the effort, keeping their focus, and working their best. If we can’t articulate the outcome their role is supposed to achieve, they won’t know the target to shoot for. When you coach your teams to success, focus on setting a clear expectation, coaching them toward the achievement of the expectation, and appreciating them when they achieve the expectation.

To set an expectation, you establish what you want, when you want it by, how it will be measured, and why it matters. Think about the last time you set expectations with an employee. Did it (the expectation) hit each of those criteria? If not, adjust and try again.

To coach people toward an expectation, you have to observe them in action and seek ways to help them succeed. You don’t need to stand around watching them work. Instead, this is about making the effort to be present, to be seen when they are working. MBWA, or Management By Walking Around, is one of the best ways to know what is going on with your people. When you do notice something they could do differently that would make them more successful, engage in a conversation about the possible changes that will help. Always keep a focus on wanting to help them succeed rather than a focus on finding their mistakes.

Finally, you have to appreciate them when they do hit a target. It isn’t really any fun to accomplish something great and not get any kind of recognition or validation for the accomplishment. When you appreciate a person, the structure of the message is, “I really appreciated when you did X-behavior because it had Y-positive impact.” By addressing what they did and the outcome it created, our appreciation bridges the two together, ensuring they feel valued and appreciated.

You have to help your people find the right target for their energy and effort. You have to coach them toward the attainment of hitting the target. You have to pay attention to them to know what is going on. And you have to appreciate them when they succeed. If you do these things, your people will seek out new targets that help them achieve even more at work.

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