Thursday, October 24, 2013

Manager As Coach

Managers and leaders can easily improve performance by 70% when using a few basic coaching principles with employees instead of the traditional management or communication style.  Particularly with annual performance reviews, re-framing your conversation can also improve communication by 72%, and team effectiveness by 51%, relationships by 73%, time management by 57%, in addition to satisfaction and return on investment by 86%.  If you invest a lot of time or energy managing your employees, then the coaching approach can make your job significantly easier while simultaneously improving performance and satisfaction.

Coaching is a much more powerful conversation that helps employees create solutions through the skilled use of challenging questions and action-oriented planning.  It can be spontaneous to a specific situation or a structured long-term development plan with accountability.  Click here to read more about ‘What is Coaching?'

Although coaching is a skilled profession, there are some fundamental principles and questions you can use to elevate your competency to make your conversations much more influential and effective. 
  • The best coaching approach asks questions to facilitate the coachee solving their own problems.
  • Coaching engages active listening with a variety of questioning styles.
  • Coaching is future-oriented and positive. 
  • Coach the person, not the problem.

Regardless if your conversation is spontaneous or scheduled as part of a long-term plan, issues and goals should be solution-oriented.  The approach is how to move forward in a positive way.  A simple example:  "I want to be better organized" versus "I want to be less disorganized."  Another Example:  "I want to be more happy" versus "...less angry."

>Why did you do that?  Say instead -->  What were you hoping to gain?
>Why did you tell her that?  Say instead -->  How did that work out for you?
>Why are you going to analyze it for the third time?  Say instead -->  How will running a third analyses increase your confidence in the number?


The meeting was a disaster (blah blah blah details)

What happened?  Did you have the hand-outs?

How do you want your meetings to run?  What do you need to do differently?

I can't believe I let her get to me like that!

What did she say when you...?  Why didn't you tell her...?

How would you like it to be when she's like that?  What do you need to do to keep calm next time?

A critical competency of effective conversations is Active Listening.  It is the ability to focus completely on what the speaker is saying and is not saying, to understand the meaning of what is said in the context of the speaker's desires, and to support the speaker's self-expression without judgment.

"Tell me about the relationship with..."
"How are you feeling today"
"How would you define success"

"Is the relationship with your boss good?"
"Are you feeling better today?"
"Is that your final answer?"

"What are you expectations?"
"What did you mean when you said...?"
"Could you please repeat?"
"How did you know that you were being successful?"

Connecting:  "Is the text error similar to the email error?"

Leading:  "Were you at Macy's on the night of June 5th?"

Behavioral:  "Describe a time when you were successful?"

Reflective:  "I heard you say... is what I said accurate?"

"What if the opposite were true?"
"Why would you want to do that?"
"What if you were able to ....(do or feel the opposite / positive)?"

These examples are from
-What is the outcome you’re looking to achieve here?
-What have you tried so far?
-What haven’t you tried so far?  What’s another solution/approach that may work?
-How have you handled something like this before? (What was the outcome?)
-What’s the first thing you need to do to (resolve/achieve this)?
-What resources do you need? (Who else do you think needs to be involved in this? How else can I support you?)
-What are you willing to commit to doing/trying/changing (by when)?
-When should we reconnect on this to ensure you achieved the result you want?

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SELF-ASSESSMENT: How to Write An Easy Self-Assessment


No one knows what you’ve accomplished better than you.
  Your input provides a more accurate insight of your effort and could determine a better rating.  Your performance review will follow you for years and influence your career success both internally and externally.  Now there’s no excuse to say you don’t like what your boss wrote, regardless of your job or position.  Here are targeted tips how you can influence your own performance review with a Self-Assessment (“SA”) that is easy, consolidated, benefits your career, but doesn’t come across as self-effacing. 

Have you ever thought “It’s the boss’ job to write my review, not mine?  He should know what I did!”?  Your SA fills in the gaps regarding your level of effort, accolades, and contributing factors that provides a much more clear and accurate picture for how you achieved success.

I recently had an employee who did not achieve any of the required outcomes on his three work objectives.  Should he receive a “failed” rating on his Review?  He received a good rating because he did everything within his sphere of control and level of skill to produce results.  

If you don’t contribute to your performance review, then you’re letting others document your results and determine your destiny.  Even if you’re not required to produce a SA, don’t leave it up to the boss to decide and document what you achieved. 

Just as you don’t like reading long emails or lengthy company memos, neither does your boss.  That can be a particular challenge when you’re summarizing a full year.  So keep in mind a few fundamentals:

  • Report on results, not activities.
  • Ratings are based on substance of the contribution, not how well it’s described.
  • Know your job performance requirements/expectations. 
  • Keep track throughout the year, such as saving accolades, emails, and other documentation.

  1. Correspond each result to either your goals, projects, or organization strategy.
  2. Highlight significant achievements, not the day-to-day activities.
  3. Make the connection between what was accomplished and why it matters to the organization.
  4. Provide perspective of the achievement, such as why it exceeded expectations and how you faced challenges.  
  5. Don’t exaggerate or try to cover up.  Don’t justify bad results by explaining why it wasn’t met.  Describe your level of effort to try and get it met.
  6. Start each bullet with “Met” “Exceeded” or “Didn’t Meet” Expectations.
  7. When describing the level of effort, include:
a. Statements of fact that support the results. 
b. Describes perspective of the value.  
c. Addresses contributing factors, such as communication, team work and customers and extenuating circumstances.    

EXAMPLES  (these are abbreviated to provide a starting point)

1) Met expectations for the Help Desk call response times.
          Average weekly call wait time was 1.4 minutes, which was slightly better than the requirement of 1.5 minutes as reported by the call tracking system.  Objective achieved despite extended absences of two call center reps mid-February through mid-August. 

2) Exceeded expectations for the Help Desk customer satisfaction.
Customer satisfaction averaged 4.6 on a 1 – 5 scale, which was significantly better than the requirement of 3.0 as reported by the weekly Customer Satisfaction Survey.  My supervisor reported in an email on 6/15/13 that customers consistently report positive comments regarding my communication style and friendliness.

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Friday, October 4, 2013

How to Determine Your Value


A well-known speaker started off his seminar holding up a $20.00 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, "Who would like this $20 bill?" Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this." 

He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill. He then asked, "Who still wants it...?" Still the hands were up in the air. "Well," he replied, "What if I do this?" And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. "Now, who still wants it?" Still the hands went into the air.

"My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We may feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. 

Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who DO LOVE you. The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by WHO WE ARE. 

You are special-Don't EVER forget it." Count your blessings, not your problems.  

Can you write at least 6 things for which you are grateful?

1. _____________________________________

2. _____________________________________

3. _____________________________________

4. _____________________________________

5. _____________________________________

6. _____________________________________

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