Coaching for Talent Development and Employee Engagement

Sustained improved performance is a good thing, right? As leaders we all want our employees to continually improve, to remain engaged, and to love their work. So, how do you get all that? We’ve all read how money isn’t a prime motivator for performance; paying someone more doesn’t result in sustained improved performance. If money isn’t it, what is?

Inc. Magazine recently did a survey[i] to find out what exactly DOES motivate people to work hard, to engage, to contribute, to give that extra bit. They found that employees want:

  • To feel proud.
  • To be treated fairly.
  • To respect the boss.
  • To be heard out.
  • To have a personal life.
  • To be coached not micromanaged.
  • To see the assh*les get fired.
  • To feel less stress.
  • To have a little security.
  • To beat the competition.

All of these wants scream for a hands-on leader, one who recognizes the business value of the employee-boss relationship. In my experience of over 21 years of developing leaders and managers, the best way – the most powerful way, the easiest way, the most effective way – for a manager to build that business relationship with his or her employee is by helping the employee excel at work. Effective leaders recognize the potential in others; they call it out; they help develop the talent and stretch and challenge the employee to do better – better even than the employee may believe himself.

I just described a coach.

Actually, I described what a coach DOES. Effective business coaches also know HOW to coach. As Inc. pointed out in #6, employees DON’T want to be micromanaged and, apparently, some managers think that telling – micromanaging – is coaching.

There are many different definitions of coaching, and techniques for coaching employees. My definition based on training thousands of leaders at hundreds of organizations is simple: coaching is a deliberate ongoing conversation focusing on job-specific skills to help the employee take acceptable or good performance to great through self-assessment and discussion.

The job-specific focus is important – people want to succeed – EXCEL – in their work. Coaches help them do that.

The self-assessment element is key; it’s the difference between my boss telling me what to do and me figuring it out on my own. As an employee, I’m more confident (and buy in more completely) if I figure out what I’m doing well and where I may be able to do better; as a leader/coach, I’m more aware of the employee’s abilities if I listen rather than talk (and asking questions reduces my prep time significantly!)

graphEntelechy’s coaching model is simple and effective; it helps build job-related talent and engages employees. The model helps leaders build those critical relationships with employees – relationships that help employees grow and succeed, and feel proud not only of their contributions, but also of their ability to self-assess and develop.

[i] http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/10-things-employees-want-more-than-a-raise.html

Author: Terrance Traut

Terence R. Traut is the president of Entelechy, Inc., a company that helps organizations unlock the potential of their people through customized training programs in the areas of leadership and management, customer service, sales, and training. Entelechy’s client-customizable leadership/management development program, Unleash Your Leadership Potential (www.unleashyourleadership.com), has been adopted by many Fortune 500 companies as their cornerstone management development program. Terence can be reached at ttraut@unlockit.com.