Ep #89: How to Be a Coach for Your Employees
As a female entrepreneur and business owner, do you crave having an ownership-accountability culture? Today I have the “what, how and why” that will show you how to be a coach for your employees!
What you’ll find in this episode:
- Why coaching is both an art and a science.
- The formula for how to remember to be in “coach mode” when you’re talking to your employees.
- How trust comes into play and why it’s sometimes a vicious circle.
- The role a coach plays.
Featured on the Show and Other Notes:
- Opt-in here to get some coaching questions to ask employees in your one-on-ones.
- What’s your view as you listen to this podcast? Take a picture and tag me in one of these places. Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn.
- Let me know what questions you have or what you think at email@example.com
- Follow me on Instagram and send me a DM.
- I’d be honored, if you find this podcast of value, if you would write a review. Then DM me on Instagram or Facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know it was you. Then we’ll send you my favorite books list!
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Hey, I’m Kris Plachy, host of the Lead Your Team podcast. Running a million dollar business is not easy. And whether you’re just getting started with building your team or you’ve been at this for a while, I’m going to bring you honest, specific, and clear practices you can use right now, today to improve how well you lead your team. Let’s go ahead and get started.
Howdy, how are you doing today? I hope this finds you well this beautiful morning or evening or afternoon, wherever you are in the world. I should have a thing on Instagram. Why don’t you do this?
Let’s try it, Instagram or Facebook. While you’re listening to the podcast, take a picture of whatever you’re looking at. I’m in this Facebook group that’s called View from my window, and it’s so fun because it’s just people just posting pictures of the view they have from their window. It’s people everywhere, places I honestly have never heard of. Some people have gorgeous views, other people look out a window at a dumpster. So that’d be kind of fun. I’m coming up with an idea even as I’m talking to you. If everybody just posted a picture, I should do the same thing.
I’ll take a picture of what I look at when I’m recording this podcast and I’ll post it, and then you guys post. Take a picture right now of what you’re looking at while you are listening to this podcast. Maybe it’s your frying pan, maybe it’s your treadmill dashboard, maybe it’s your neighborhood trees, maybe it’s your car window. Although, just wait till you’re stopped. Don’t do it while you’re driving. What is it? I’m now really curious. [inaudible 00:02:13] maybe it will be out a train window. That’s kind of fun. Anyway, send me… Post it. So the way to do that so I can see it.
A lot of people post stuff and tell me they did, but I never see it. You have to tag me, okay? So if you post on Instagram, post @krisplachycoach. You got to tag @krisplachycoach. That’s the best way to do it. If you want to do it on Facebook, you have to tag my page, which is a little bit harder to do. But I’m Kris Plachy: Coach, Author, Speaker, something like that on Facebook. But @krisplachycoach if you’re on Instagram is the best way to do it. You can do it on LinkedIn too, which is also Kris Plachy. So let’s talk about coaching. That’s what we’re going to do today.
So I talked to you a little bit about this higher level discussion around coaching. This week, I want to get a little more nitty-gritty, and we’re also going to do fun things. So we’re going to give you an opt-in to be able to go and get some really good coaching questions. So if you need some coaching questions to ask your employees while you are coaching them, having some one-on-ones, you can go to… I’ll share with you the website, but you could go to a particular website and you’ll be able to download those questions and have them for you, because that’s how I roll.
So today, we’re going to just talk about a little more nitty-gritty. Now, I do want to say that coaching is both art and science. I’ve been coaching for so long. I know I’ve told you guys this story for so many… I’ve told this so many times. But the first coaching class I took was literally in 1994 or ’95. I have been enthralled with this whole concept of coaching and how to really help extract other people’s insight and wisdom out of them so that they come up with and really drive their own solutions. And so, I love to teach coaching, but I will also tell you that teaching how to coach is like teaching people how to do something that you do so automatically. It’s like brushing your teeth or…
It makes me think of what I was trying to teach my oldest son, how to drive a stick shift. I was like, “Well, no, you just let up on the clutch and you could just feel the car just pulling.” He was so mad at me, because I couldn’t be very good specific. So with you, I want to be as specific as I can, and I’m going to do that by breaking up the coaching process as cleanly as I can, especially when it comes to employees and performance and helping them improve their work and so forth. Now, one of the things that I do teach is called coaching algebra. I do that in, how to CEO.
If you work with me in my program, you’re going to get a lot more opportunity to flesh all of this out specifically, but I certainly want to give you some very handy tools if you are in the process right now of just wanting to start having some more meaningful, substantive, one-on-one conversations with people on your team. Coaching is different. I first want to say coaching is a different process than what we would call briefings or just those check-ins like, Hey, what’s up? What are you working on? How’s it going? Are you going to have that done? Certainly coaching one-on-ones can have that element to them.
But when we’re really getting into coaching, we’re doing a little more discovery, a little more connecting. Okay? So I’m going to give you what I think is the formula to always remember how to be in a coach mode when you’re talking to your employees. All right? So let’s get started and to break it apart. Okay, so first of all, in order to really be able to coach someone, you have to know what their work is, what their job is, what their role is. So there’s always going to be the what is going on. What are the things that are on your employee’s plate? Then there’s going to be the how.
How do they do their work? How do they think about their work, and how do they feel about their work? So there’s this whole how element. So there’s what they do, and then there’s how they do it, and then there’s why. There’s why they do what they do or why they don’t do what they do. So you can take three different employees, and they could all have the same what. They have the same job, the same responsibilities, the same outcomes, [inaudible 00:07:05] expected to do the same thing. But then they have very different hows. Maybe one of them has been there 12 years, one of them has been there two, one of them just started.
So their how is very different, and then their whys are also different. Why do they do what they do? Why do they not do what they do? All right? So what happens is for most of us, we tend to just focus on what they do. That’s what I meant by the briefing, what are you up to? What have you got going on? Are you going to meet that deadline? And for day to day transactional connecting, making sure work is getting done, of course that’s how it works. But then if we want to take the conversations further, we want to understand more about their how and their why. The how and the why is where things get really important when they’re not meeting their goals. Last week, I talked about people you want to coach versus people you want to manage.
So even those high performing employees, we want to coach because we want to understand how they do what they do and why they do what they do. That’s how we help them continue to connect their special sauce. So the way that I approach most conversations with my employees is that combination of art and science. For me, when I say art, I really mean it’s an intuitiveness and an understanding and a paying attention. People who’ve worked for me may tell you this is good or bad. I think most would say it’s okay, but I pay a lot of attention. I listen to what people say. I watch people’s body language even though all of my employees are virtual.
I am always trying to make sure that I not only am listening to what they’re doing, but I am paying attention to how. And as an example, a while ago, someone who is always really on top of things and gets things done, all of a sudden I could tell there was a miss in the how, body language how different, just the timing of things, how different. And so, in a conversation that I was having with her that was more of a coaching-based conversation, I just asked, “Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you overstretched?” I wanted to find out her thoughts.
And with that one question, I found out everything I needed to know and that she needed to tell me, but then she might not have told me if I hadn’t created a gateway for that. So there’s elements to coaching. So there’s the what, the how and the why. What do people do? How do they do it? Why do they do it? That you have to know if you want to be their coach. And then there’s also that understanding that in order for you to have permission to coach, there has to be trust. But you can’t have trust if you don’t understand what, how, and why. So it’s a little bit of a quagmire if you’re not used to it or if you haven’t developed that relationship.
So how does this look operationally? So I have a meeting with an employee. We sit down and first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to talk about what, so what are you up to? What’s going on? What are you working on? What’s on your plate? What actions are you focused on this week? What are your goals? Okay? Fill it up, ask it all. Second round of questions, how’s it going with this? How are you getting this done? How are you going to figure that out? Those questions are more revealing than, what are you doing? How do you feel about this assignment? How do you feel about this project?
How do you feel about your results? And then we ask why, why do you think that you missed that deadline? Why do you think you’re doing so well at that? Why do you do what you do every day? Why have you started to avoid that part of your work? Why is this the third time we’re talking about this project with no progress? But what I want you to notice, if that’s how a conversation can go, I’m not solving it. Managing and directing are what they are. I’m going to tell you what I want done and direct you through that process, and there are times for that. Coaching is more of an extraction process where the employee is revealing to themselves and to you what they will do, why they haven’t done what they wanted to do.
Do they even want to do what they’ve committed to? What’s in their way. Okay? That’s when you’re coaching. You’re not interfering. So if you’re going to follow this; what, how, why, do not start managing and directing in all of that. Now after you’ve done, what are you up to, and you’ve asked, how’s it going and how are you getting that done and you’ve asked why questions, you might say, would you like to brainstorm? Would you like for me to help you come up with ideas? Who else could help you? So that’s when we bring ourselves into the equation, but again, with a request for permission, not like, well, here’s what you need to do.
And then we close it with a what. So we find out what they’re up to. We ask them how they’re doing what they’re doing. We ask them why they’re doing what they’re doing. We ask them who could help them, and would they like to discuss solutions with you and brainstorm? And then we close with what again. So of our conversation today, what would you like to do? What would you like to commit to? What would you like to say you have done by the next time we chat? What do you need from me to make that happen? So we go what, how, why would you or who and then what.
You could add a little when in that last what too. And to me, that’s a very loose but I hope enough of a skeleton of a conversation that is more of a coaching discussion than a directive one. If you’re not used to coaching, this is not normal, because you’re not involving so much of yourself. It can feel sometimes when you first start to do this work like you are out of control, like somehow you’re not doing enough. But the role of coach is not to fix, the role of coach is to provide the environment for someone else to solve and heal and serve up their own insight, their own ideas, their own wisdom with your support.
And through that, that’s how we really build you guys. That’s how you build that ownership, accountability culture that I know so many of you crave and really desperately want more of. So that’s your assignment to take this into your next coaching conversation. Download the questions if you like. Otherwise, I gave you quite a few of them just here in this podcast, and see what you can do in that next one-on-one that pulls you out of feeling so burdened to solve all of their problems, and instead, creates an opportunity for you to connect with them, get to know them, and let them walk through that path and identify how they will solve their own challenges.
Okay? And again, as a quick reminder… Oh, to get the questions, go to coachingquestionsforyou.com, that’s coachingquestionsforyou.com and you can access the questions. I know we’ll put the link in the notes. And again, I just want to remind you, I think I might do this more than once. Send me a picture of where you were when you listened to this podcast. I’d love to know. It’d be so fun to see all of these shots on people’s Instagram feeds or stories and I could share them with the world. So, okay. I will talk with you again next time, thanks for tuning in.
One more thing before you go. In a world of digital courses and online content, I like to work with my clients live, because I know that when you have someone you can work with, ask questions of and meet with, you’re so much more likely to get the success that you want. So head on over to howtoceolive.com to learn more about our very exciting, very exclusive program just for female entrepreneurs. We’ll see you there.