- "Oh yes. Our employees are our most valuable asset."
- "Given the way things are these days, we work very hard to retain our employees."
- "We've provided coaching and mentoring training to all of our management staff!"
Well good for you. But why is it that your staff seems nervous and slightly on edge when you're around? Why is it that your staff doesn't know what's happening in other departments or with the company? Why is it that your staff looks with skepticism when they hear: Coaching for Results, Living Performance Management, and Holding Positive Performance Reviews? The topics seem foreign to them and yet you've provided coaching and mentoring training. Hmmm, now isn't that something. It must be because the trainer wasn't any good. Yup, that has to be it.
Well, that could be it. But then again, maybe the problem is that all of the things you say you do -- you really don't. Maybe you and your management team don't really communicate regularly and clearly with staff. Communicating once a quarter isn't "regularly." Maybe you don't apply the foundation concepts shared in training programs. Sitting in a training program and then leaving isn't "learning." Maybe you all have the best of intentions by talking about communicating more effectively and by attending the training, but then you get fouled up in the follow-through part. Maybe. Maybe not.
The trend I'm seeing lately in organizations is that there's a disconnect in what managers say they do in coaching employees and what they're really doing. Without fail, every manager understands that coaching is a buzzy term used to describe the activity a manager does that is specifically targeted to address a desired behavior change. The manager could desire an employee to change a negative behavior to a more positive one. Or, the manager could desire an employee to change a current skill level into a more advanced one.
Coaching addresses negatives and positives. Just as a sports coach constantly addresses performance -- negative and positive -- in athletes. Yet even though the managers understand what coaching is and how it's supposed to be used, it invariably comes into play most often when they are reprimanding employees and need to say something in order to have a complete documentation packet put together when they write up an employee.
So you say you coach your employees.
Well good. But if you say you do, take some advice -- Actually do it! Employees, like athletes, can tell a good coach from one who's faking it. Employees, like athletes, don't stay with or perform well for poor coaches.
Want to succeed? Behave like a leader and DO what you say you do.