The Cheat-Sheet on High-Performance Coaching
Many of you asked for a cheat-sheet on my five-step process for high-performance coaching. Here it is!
Before anything else, make sure you have permission to coach. Just because someone shows up for work, or puts on your uniform, does not mean that they want your coaching. Being coachable is not a natural thing for most human beings. Always recheck the permission to coach by asking something like, “Can I give you some coaching now?” And then, make sure you always are speaking to what THEY want to achieve and not what YOU want from them.
If you are in a position to coach people, remind yourself to ignore their flaws. Don’t pay attention to how much they complain. Tune out all the noisy excuses they are making. Instead, see them as bigger and better than they see themselves. See them as giants, no matter what they do. When you start seeing, speaking, and relating to people as giants, you will get more out of them. Everyone aspires to be more—more than what they currently are or what they currently do. If you relate to people as extraordinary, they will express the greatness inside.
Separate the fact from the emotion and the story. If a person you are coaching has a setback or breakdown, they will likely get worked up and start telling a complicated story that explains all the reasons they cannot accomplish their goals. Your job is to realize that these why’s get in the way of clarity and solutions. Stick to the facts so that your employees and others can be grounded and find the solutions. All of the excuses, regardless of how valid they might be, do little to help a person find a solution. The emotions, feelings, and worries just get in the way of resolution. So no matter what, don’t get drawn in. Set all that aside. The question that needs to be asked is this: What can be done now, after the setback, to get your goals back on track?
When a person is working toward a goal, the truth is that sometimes the progress is enormous. And sometimes it’s tiny. And sometimes, it seems to get worse before it gets better. Remember, though, that if a person is sticking with the goal instead of quitting, he or she is making progress. So if you are in a position to manage, supervise, or coach people who are trying to meet new goals or exceed quotas, you must acknowledge every accomplishment, effort, or attempt, to keep them in the game. Every. Single. One. Your employees and others can get depressed, frustrated, or tired. If you want them to rise to the occasion, they cannot feel defeated. They cannot believe they are powerless. They cannot believe they are incapable.
Inspiration is easier to come by than it is to keep alive. Think of all the moments of inspiration you have had. You might have a moment of inspiration at a traffic light, but by the time you get home, you have talked yourself out of your idea! Our inspiration disappears and is replaced by thoughts of all the steps required between the moment of inspiration and accomplishment. Your job, then, when coaching someone, is to keep them inspired. Too often, though, managers, supervisors, and bosses get absorbed with a missed goal or slow progress. They forget the original inspiration. But the truth is: If we know that all people can achieve great things, we must help them remember their inspiration during the struggles and challenges along the way to accomplishment.
Like any new goal, sometimes the effort of any new initiative seems impossible. It can be demoralizing to think of everything that needs to be accomplished from Point A to Point Z. The process is not all roses and unicorns, and your people can quickly start feeling that what they want to do is impossible. The fifth responsibility of a high-performance coach is this …
Help them build a bigger boat.
By this, I mean that you need to help your people create a lifestyle that includes habits that will support their new initiative. Simply wanting to be a high performer isn’t enough. They also need to invent new approaches. High-performance coaches recognize that one way or another, if their people wake up tomorrow and do what they did today, they will not arrive at a new level of performance. They need a bigger boat to deal with whatever setbacks have come their way or might come their way.
And remember, if you work with giants, they will need a massive boat!