5 coaching skills to coach employees to greater performance

As a leader at your company, your job is to do more than initiate goal setting, make plans, and evaluate your employees. You have to support your staff in reaching their greatest potential. That often requires that you serve as an employee coach. While you might not consider yourself a coach, you certainly have to employ many coaching skills to help your employees thrive in their position.

Research shows that a casual coaching style is the most effective management method for employee performance and retention. If you’re ready to engage and inspire your employees with super coaching skills, keep reading.

Ask high-quality questions

Sometimes you want an answer to a question, but to be a great coach for your team members, you have to know how to ask questions that lead to the desired result.

You want to use your questions to guide the conversation but allow your employees as often as possible to come to conclusions on their own instead of you always answering.

Employees feel when you’re asking questions that are accusatory or negative. Instead, ask open-ended guiding queries, and you’ll often get more detailed and thoughtful answers. Remember that the quality of your question dictates the quality of your response. This is a crucial part of the coaching process to understand and implement.

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When you communicate with your employees in a way that makes them feel comfortable, you can connect with them on a deeper level and get through to them. Just be sure that your body language and other nonverbal communication matches the level of questions you’re asking.

Offer constructive performance improvement recommendations

To be an effective coach, you have to develop a strong coaching relationship with your employees. That requires that you take time to mention what’s going well along with what needs to be improved.

If you spend most of your time harping on the negative, your employees will operate from day to day feeling insecure, judged, and uncomfortable in their position. That’s not the culture you want to develop. Instead, provide authentic recognition of what’s going well and use those opportunities to mention something that can also be improved.

Keep in mind that according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace, only 26% of employees strongly agree that the feedback they receive from management helps them perform better at work. That’s why as a manager you have to learn to effectively coach your employees.

Provide on the spot coaching

To have a productive coaching session, it doesn’t have to be formal or pre-planned. Some of the most effective coaching takes place on the spot when your employee asks a question or when you see an opportunity for performance improvement. This level of coaching requires that you be able to think on your feet and offer more informal support and feedback.

When employees can learn to work through performance issues on the spot, it can be more helpful than adding your observations to action plans to address later. Though, if this is your only choice, you want to try to address these issues as soon as possible.

Offer support through employee coaching

Being a great coach requires that you don’t solely focus on how to help your employees improve for the direct benefit of your company, but for them as a whole. Workplace coaching also challenges you to support your employees by knowing their goals and committing to helping them reach them if you can.

According to a 2018 Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees say they would remain at a company longer if they felt the company was invested in their career.

You should empower them by building a strong 1-on-1 relationship that will lead to a positive impact overall. Care about their thoughts and opinions. Answer their questions. Take heed to their feelings. That’s your responsibility as a leader and a coach. Developing a more personal relationship with your employees can lead to better performance overall.

When you show that you care about your employees because of who they are, not how they can help you look better, you are showcasing a level of emotional intelligence that business coaches should all strive to achieve.

Understand their viewpoint

The last coaching skill we want to highlight is the ability to see things through your employee’s perspective. When you’re able to offer coaching while looking through their eyes, not yours, their ability to receive your coaching support increases tremendously.

When you ask high-quality questions and show support, you can find it easier to understand where your employee is coming from. Knowing their prospective helps you to give them the coaching they need to achieve the performance improvement you want to see.

Improve coaching skills to experience greater employee performance

The role of a manager is constantly evolving, and having coaching skills is now a crucial communication skill associated with doing well in this role. Stop telling your employees what to do and controlling their actions. Those days are gone. Instead, you want to engage with them and inspire them to operate at their best. When you work with a coaching mindset, you will be able to connect differently with your employees with guidance, support, and encouragement at the forefront. This leads to employees who feel more supported, heard, and valued in a collaborative environment.