The Most Powerful Leadership Resource You Have

Why Neglecting This One Kills Performance.

This past week I started a new round of LEAD – a leadership development program I run for high potentials in organizations. Young leaders who are slated to move into Executive Level Leadership Positions within the next five to ten years.

The custom programs always begin with allowing each class to choose the first program. The first lesson they want to learn on this leadership journey. It’s funny, even though the classes are different, the individuals unique, and the company’s goals for the program specific to their industry, the first class almost always chooses the same program

I have more than twenty of these under my belt now, and for eighteen of those, including this most recent, the first program centers around coaching. This session is where participants learn about what exactly coaching is, how to design a coaching session, and what they need to get started and how to develop this skill.

This always surprises me. You would think after eighteen that would not be the case, but it does. I am still surprised that a leader can make it this far in their career and they have either not had a good coach, or have not been taught how to coach, or worst of all both!

The Impact of Coaching Cannot Be Overlooked

See I have a pet peeve (okay I have lots of them), but one, in particular, that makes me crazy. That pet peeve is leaders who don’t coach at all, rarely coach, or worst of all, are erratic with their coaching.

Research shows that organizations that place a high-emphasis on coaching, see an increase in performance, improved employee retention and engagement, and boost in revenue. With those types of results, why don’t leaders place more emphasis on coaching?

As a leader, coaching is the highest and best use of your time. There is nothing else you can spend time and energy, that will produce stronger results, happier customers and develop top talent. NOTHING. No sales you can make, no report you can provide, and no meeting you can attend.

5 Strategies To Drive Performance

  1. Make Them A Priority – first and foremost make your coaching sessions a priority. Set the date, set the time, and get them on the calendar. Then schedule around them – treat them like a meeting with the CEO. In other words, a meeting that you would never move or plan over. In a Harvard Business Review article, one of the ways of looking at this as a priority, your coaching is a vital tool for achieving your business goals.
  2. Never Reschedule – no matter what. Okay, never is a strong word, but honestly, unless it is a dire emergency, you should never move a coaching session. Why? Because rescheduling the coaching session, tells the other person, your employee, that they are of less value than the “other” thing you need to do. Not exactly a message you want to send to employees.
  3. Let Them Know – Commit to the sessions by letting your team know that you are prioritizing these and that they will be something that will happen on a continuous basis.  By allowing the team to know they are valuable, important and a priority on their schedule will go a long way in creating trust and engagement.
  4. Learn How to Do It – coaching is not telling others what to do, it is not a performance review, and it is certainly not an accountability session. Coaching is a conversation, one in which you as the leader talk a little and listen a lot. Invest in learning how to coach effectively. The Coaching Habit, Michael Bungay Stainer, provides advice to busy leaders on how to coach effectively. He says there are seven questions you can add to your coaching “toolbox” and get big results.
  5. Payback Is Ten Fold – then get ready because the payback will be ten-fold. Coaching almost has an instant return on investment. In a few short sessions, you will see your employees develop, your connection with them much stronger, and the results of your organization grow.

What you do while nurturing and coaching your talent, creates job satisfaction, trust, and learning opportunities.  It is an important investment of your time and in the long-term health of your organization.

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