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10 tips for when, and how, to coach


The notion of managers coaching their employees is well-entrenched, but what exactly should the coaching entail, and at what point should it happen in an employee's career?

Executive coach Mary-Jo Asmus, on the Aspire Collaborative Services blog, shares 10 coachable situations that managers need to be alert to:

1. When employees struggle

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If you see members of your team struggling, ask questions to help them figure out how to solve the problem or meet the challenge. Remember that this should be coaching, not directive management: With your help, they should figure it out themselves.

2. When their performance slips

Good performers sometimes hit tough times, and their performance dips. Help them out of their slump.

3. When their performance amazes

Express your appreciation and recognition for employees' outstanding work. Ask them what they think made their performance noteworthy, so they can recognize the cause of success and repeat it in the future.

4. When you spot bad habits

If members of your team are too overbearing, or too timid, or exhibit other behavioural quirks that raise concerns, help them change their tendencies to become more effective.

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5. When you see bad habits improve

When you see your employees work hard to turn their old, ineffective habits into more productive behaviour, it's important to remark on their efforts. "Tell them what you've noticed and how much you appreciate their hard work to break the old ways of doing things. Ask them how they can sustain the new habits, and coach them to do so," Ms. Asmus writes.

6. When someone needs to lead

If someone on your team could play a greater leadership role, assist him or her to make the required changes to improve.

7. When someone needs to back off

If someone is overly dominating and needs to give others a chance to express themselves and lead, coach the individual on how to rein in his or her dominating traits.

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8. When someone wants to try something new

If a new project needs to be completed and a staff member is eager to try, sit down with the individual and together create a plan for success. Then meet with them regularly to build confidence to complete the endeavour.

9. When a new member joins your team

Don't let newcomers fend for themselves, in a sink-or-swim atmosphere. Meet regularly with the new employee and help him or her to understand the organizational culture and the top priorities for their position.

10. When someone is ready to move up

Help your employers learn the skills they will need at the next level, so they can be ready for a promotion when it is merited.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Harvey Schachter is a Battersea, Ont.-based writer specializing in management issues. He writes Monday Morning Manager and management book reviews for the print edition of Report on Business and an online work-life column Balance. E-mail Harvey Schachter

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About the Author
Management columnist

Harvey Schachter is a Kingston, Ont.-based writer specializing in management issues. He writes Monday Morning Manager and management book reviews for the print edition of Report on Business and an online column, Power Points. More

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