Executive Development Tip: To Coach…Drop the Fear

I’ve spoken about the importance of on-sight observation (of a direct report) to be bullet-proof when coaching.

We all as leaders need to add to this action the confidence to relationally invade an exec’s turf by articulating our observations and intention to develop them.

The risk here is that many won’t enjoy the process the first time you do it. Don’t let it stop you. Trust your good will and desire outweighing the criticism they may feel you have.

Employee Confidence Comes from You Being Direct

Its always a bit scary and unpredictable when you initiate this type of conversation. You have to learn to lost that fear. The more you do it, the more comfortable and deft you become at it. More times than not I see leaders avoiding these type of conversations. That’s a problem because your directs are continuing a series of inappropriate actions that will preclude them from fully succeeding under your leadership.

Why would you let this happen?

Confrontation Can Lead to Success

Many leaders say they just don’t want to confront the individual. This actually is more egregious than the inappropriate behavior your observing in your direct.

Therefore, the more you try, the better you get at it and the more your directs will desire your feedback because its so helpful and in the process you get better at delivering feedback!

Fixing the Problem Comes from Understanding the Individual

I was coaching a leader recently who had a consistent tendency to “fix” each direct when they coached them. He would begin by saying that he observed behavior that was preventing this person from fully succeeding at their job, which is the correct way to initiate coaching conversation. The problem was that right after that he went right into the plan, actually, his plan, to strengthen the person.

I initiated my coaching to him by reminding him that he was not talking to himself but another individual with a completely different DNA set to his. I further explained that the development plan needs to be co-authored by the Direct and him versus just him.

Beginning to see what I mean?

Leaders fix… I understand that. But, in this case, when coaching a person you really care about, you must prove that the discussion is two way versus one way. The more the Direct acknowledges their behavior the more they will change it.

Try it and let me know…