As a business leader, it can be tempting to micromanage every member of your team to perfection. Yet, this method of leadership often leads to burnout and low staff retention.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to guiding and mentoring a business team. Effectively coaching your team requires you to understand each member’s individual needs and communication styles, as well as their cohesiveness as a whole.
In this article, I will cover 3 steps for improving your coaching method to better empower and support your team.
1. Practice Active Listening
Your ability to communicate effectively with your team should always be your first priority – and good communication often starts with leadership.
In a leadership position, you hold a level of power that your team looks to for inspiration and reassurance. As such, it’s important that you make yourself available to hear their concerns. To foster and enhance your team consultation skills, there is one key ability to practice: active listening.
Active listening is a style of listening wherein you not only hear the words being said to you but also remain aware of the emotions behind those words, as well as the non-verbal communication offered up often unknowingly by the person.
By practicing active listening, you will find that not only are you understanding your team’s problems more clearly but that you are also able to respond quickly, compassionately, and appropriately.
2. Personalize Your Coaching Style
Business owners recognize that each customer is different to the next. As a business leader, it is your role to recognize that each team member is a unique individual with different needs.
To personalize your coaching style to meet each team member’s needs, the key is to focus on the factors they consider most important. For instance, a person may feel most productive when given strict deadlines and smaller sets of goals. Alternatively, a different team member may desire more independence and freedom, thus requiring less intervention.
What is important is to communicate clearly with each team member to determine the optimal way to coach and communicate with them.
Along with personalizing your coaching style, it is also important to offer your team opportunities for their individual professional development. According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Trends report, 94 percent of employees are enticed to stay at companies that offer to invest in their professional development.
3. Schedule Regular Feedback Sessions
Feedback sessions are crucial for any team, as they help leaders to monitor progress and identify potential problems, as well as allow team members to assess their work and accomplishments.
The frequency of feedback sessions will vary depending on the personalities that compose a team. However, it is important to not overload your team with meetings, as this can contribute to drops in productivity and increased burnout.
Instead, the key is to make the most of the meetings you do have on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. A successful feedback session should include:
- Assessing Progress and Achievements: The first key element to a feedback session is a thorough assessment of the team member’s progress. Achievements should be commended and rewarded, while failures should be looked at empathetically. Strive to uncover why a failure occurred and how to prevent it in the future, rather than immediately dishing out punishment.
- Setting Clear and Realistic Goals: As a leader, it is your job to clearly outline your expectations for your team. When meeting with an individual or group in a feedback session, it is crucial to set clear and realistic goals for them to work towards in a given time period.
- Receiving Employee Feedback: A feedback session should not be one-sided. Team members need the opportunity to express their concerns about aspects of the business and offer their own suggestions for improvement. Not only will this help boost job satisfaction, but it will also open the door for greater collaboration and expression of ideas.
Final Thoughts: Trust in Your Team
The final note on effectively coaching your team is this – build mutual trust.
Your team should feel as though they can rely on you just as much as you can on them. With a solid foundation of trust, your team can work both collaboratively and independently with greater productivity and dedication.