Finding time to develop your people
Given the daily distractions, time constraints and current workload you face, how can you find the time to coach your people? It certainly can be a challenge. If the only thing on your daily agenda was employee development, you would have lots of time to put together elaborate coaching plans that utilize numerous approaches.
But that’s just not the reality facing “coaches” in the business world. Developing your people is just one of the many mandates facing today’s leaders. So how do you fit it all in? One approach that many leaders have found helpful is to reframe the question.
The view of coaching as a skill or process tends to lead to it becoming one more action item on a to-do list that’s already five pages too long. And yet the reality is that coaching is more than just a skill or process. At its core, coaching is really a mindset focused on helping people do what they do better – assisting them to identify and overcome the obstacles that prevent them from getting from where they are now to where they would like to be.
Frequently, the block has something to do with one of three areas: insufficient clarity around what a good performance really looks like; insufficient skills or confidence to successfully carry out the performance; or insufficient recognition or ownership around desired performances and behaviours.
When viewed as a mindset, rather than an activity, coaching becomes a layer on top of your day-to-day management activities, not something that you do in addition. And so rather than increasing your activity with your people, instead focus on having those same interactions, but viewed through a developmental mindset. In other words, each time you send out an e-mail, have a hallway conversation, or conduct a meeting, ask yourself, “How can I use this opportunity to improve clarity, increase knowledge or confidence, increase ownership or recognize performances I would like to see repeated?” And as you use the insight gained from those questions to shape your daily activities around the development needs of those you manage – you are being a coach.
The important thing is to remember that you don’t have to manufacture “coaching moments.” If you communicate with your people, then such moments already exist. It’s not about doing more. It’s about bringing purpose and focus to what you already do. Garry Watanabe is an Ottawa-based trainer with Performance Coaching Inc.