Employee groups
December 2, 2016

Be a Good Coach

 |  By: Mike Opperman

As the number of employees on your dairy grows, so does the need to create management layers. This is especially true as some employees start to establish themselves as leaders. Recognizing this talent is important, and giving them the resources to grow and flourish in a leadership role will pay great dividends. But these new middle managers won’t be successful overnight – it will take coaching from you to make it happen.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Dick Grote, a Dallas, Texas-based management consultant, lists two different ways to be an effective coach.

Calendar-driven coaching. Scheduled sessions are a great way to gauge progress and provide critical feedback to management teams. Coate says that these sessions need to be more than just a quick ‘how’s it going’ chat. He recommends that these sessions should:

  • Occur in formal, structured, sit-down meetings
  • Be initiated, led and controlled by the manager
  • Cover work conducted over time, not a singular event or project
  • Provide a forum for discussion and review of multiple events and competencies
  • Be recognized as a feedback event

Coate says these scheduled sessions are an opportunity to go through the major events that have taken place since the previous meeting. Then spend time going through success, challenges and lessons learned. Coate also suggests to make the employee a partner in the discussion by asking that they email you a list of things to cover in the meeting in advance.

Event-driven coaching. These are events that occur spontaneously after a specific incident or activity. Coate says these feedback sessions should:

  • Occur whenever discussion is needed
  • Focus on a discrete incident
  • Be triggered by a ‘teachable moment’
  • Be a routine part of day-to-day work
  • Rely on two-way accountability and interaction. Either you or your employee can initiate the coaching discussion
  • Be not necessarily recognized as a feedback session

Coate says to start by asking the employee questions, then provide your own insights—agreements, disagreement and ‘in additions’. Point out what the individual should take from the discussion. Make sure that your core message is heard.

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