Find­ing time to de­velop your peo­ple

Ottawa Business Journal - HR Update - - Career Coaching - Writ­ten by GARRY WATAN­ABE

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.

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