On November 9th, 2010, Johnson Consulting Group kicked off their inaugural, in person training program, Coaching for Accountability.  This was the first training program offered by JCG in their new facility and the first of quarterly in-person training programs.  The Coaching for Accountability program was designed to assist managers with ways to improve employee motivation, confidence, and accountability.  During this training session, strategies and tactics were provided for improving employee accountability through coaching.  The two primary coaching skills or tactics taught during this training session were listening and providing feedback.  This article will highlight ideas for anyone considering coaching. 

Listen and truly hear what the employees are saying

Managers need to work hard to hear the entire message and to understand the feelings that are being conveyed through words, body language, expression and tone of voice.  Listening is one of the most important skills an effective manager can possess.  How well one listens, has a major impact on the quality, effectiveness, and productivity of workplace relationships. 

Managers should incorporate the following tactics when listening:

  • Nodding – A simple nod lets the employee know you are listening.
  • Casual Remarks – Every once in a while, provide short feedback remarks.
  • The Pause – This is a moment of silence.  Remain quiet and let the employee continue the conversation.
  • The Echo – Echo back the last comment from the employee.
  • The Mirror – Reflect back the actual ideas/feelings conveyed by the employee.
  • Hearing What Is Not Said – Look past what the employee is saying in an attempt to perceive their tone and body language.

 Feedback is an important part of coaching

Feedback is provided to the employee in order to inform them of the tasks done well and those needing improvement.  There are two types of feedback used during coaching: positive and negative (or “constructive”) feedback.  The easiest way to remember the feedback principals are to use S.B.I.F or:

  • Describe the Situation
  • Describe the Behavior
  • Explain the Impact
  • Suggest Future Action

 As a way to practice and track feedback, consider placing five dimes in one pocket.  Then, over the course of a day, as you provide feedback, move one dime from one pocket to the other.  By the end of the day, you should have five dimes in the other pocket.

Establishing a coaching environment

To start the coaching process, managers should consider the following five stages:

  1. Establish a relationship with the employee – Managers should make every effort to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their employees.
  2. Opportunity – The opportunities for coaching are numerous and never-ending.  Regularly review each member of your staff in order to identify coaching opportunities.
  3. Observe and assess the employee – What may not seem important under the most normal circumstances becomes paramount once coaching begins.
  4. Enroll the employee in coaching – Enrollment goes beyond simply asking “are you up for the challenge?” Confirm both verbally and in writing that the employee is engaged in the coaching process.
  5. Coaching Conversation – The manger should spend most of the coaching conversation listening and encouraging the employee to develop the improvement plan.

The ideas presented in this article are just a taste of the entire coaching training program.  For more information on the Coaching for Accountability program or any of the JCG professionally produced funeral business training programs, please contact Jake Johnson or your local JCG representative.