Coaching Conversations

Coach to the Person and NOT the Situation

September 17, 2022 Tim Hagen
Coaching Conversations
Coach to the Person and NOT the Situation
Show Notes Transcript

 Recently, I was collaborating with a client and the client was expressing some frustration with an employee. During our conversation he stated he was very frustrated by what the employee was doing. He began to share two or three situations where the employee was doing things incorrectly and I said at its foundation, what do you think the employee needs to improve? He immediately said attitude and teamwork. I then asked a question, how are you currently coaching to those two areas? His response was very interesting. He stated to me, this is what he is doing right now.

 

I challenged his thought premise by saying, you are reacting to a situation versus proactively cultivating a positive attitude and sense of teamwork. He said, what do you mean? I said, you are mentioning situations and you are responding as if you are almost triggered by these events. He said, I think I am triggered by these events. I then shared, I am wondering if you are reacting to the situations and coaching to the situation, and it is causing the defensiveness even further with your employee? My client immediately thought to himself, this is interesting because that is exactly what is happening. I said, how are you having conversations around attitude and teamwork outside of situations? He said, what is the difference? I said, the difference is you are coaching to a situation. You are reacting to something that's occurred so somebody is probably feeling put on the spot or is in a very defensive mode, almost defending what they did right or wrong in their mind and I'm wondering if that's coming at the expense of a really good, authentic, thoughtful, proactive conversation that could occur to develop a positive attitude in teamwork. He said, how can I go about doing that? I said, well, first, have conversations on a regular basis that focus on those two areas. Number two have learning projects such as having this employee come in every single week with something that they did positive above and beyond the call of duty that exemplified a positive attitude in teamwork. Now you are creating positive situations and cultivating the experience and behaviors that the employee needs to adopt. 

 I think a critical component we all need to be aware of is that we tend to be very triggered by what we see wrong or what we want to correct. Then we call it coaching. I would call that Situational Reaction. 

 We have to be very proactive and focused outside of situations so our coaching stands on its own versus supporting a corrective action that can really be masked or perceived as being delivered as constructive feedback. Coaching is a very initiative-taking, thoughtful, strength-based, and question-based approach that drives positive change and the good things that our people do as well as those areas where they have opportunities to improve. If we are reacting to a situation, we will typically react to things that we see that are wrong and need to be corrected; therefore, the employee will be triggered typically to become defensive and be in a mode of, I hope I'm not in trouble and not really thoughtfully engage in the process to truly improving. 

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Speaker 1:

Coach to the person and not the situation. Recently I was working with a client and the client was expressing some frustration with an employee. During our conversation, he stated he was very frustrated by what the employee was doing. He began to share two or three situations where the employee was doing things incorrectly, and I said, At its foundation, what do you think the employee needs to improve? He immediately said, attitude and teamwork. I then asked a question, How are you currently coaching to those two areas? His response was very interesting. As he stated to me, This is what he's doing right now. I somewhat challenged his thought premise by saying, I think you're reacting to a situation versus proactively cultivating a positive attitude and sense of teamwork. He said, What do you mean? I said, You're bringing up situations and you're responding as if you are almost triggered by these events. He said, I think I am triggered by these events. I then shared, I'm wondering if you are reacting to the situations and coaching, did the situation and it's causing the defensiveness even further with your employee. My clients immediately thought to himself, This is interesting because that's exactly what's happening. I said, How are you having conversations around attitude and teamwork outside of situations? He said, What's the difference? I said, The difference is you are coaching to a situation. You are reacting to something that's occurred, so somebody is probably feeling put on the spot or is in a very defensive mode, almost defending what they did right or wrong in their mind, and I'm wondering if that's coming at the expense of a really good, authentic, thoughtful, proactive conversation that could occur to develop a positive attitude in teamwork. He said, How can I go about doing that? I said, Well, first of all, have conversations on a regular basis that focus on those two areas. Number two, have learning projects such as having this employee come in every single week was something that they did positive above and beyond the call of duty. That exemplified a positive attitude in teamwork. Now you're creating positive situations and cultivating the experience and behaviors that the employee needs to adopt. I think a critical component we all need to be aware of is that we tend to be very triggered by what we see wrong or what we want to correct. Then we call it coaching. I would call that situational

Speaker 2:

Reaction. I think we have to be very proactive and focused outside of situations so our coaching stands on its own versus supporting a corrective action that can really be masked or perceived as being delivered as constructive feedback. Coaching is a very proactive, thoughtful, strength based , question based approach that drives positive change in the good things that our people do as well as those areas where they have opportunities to improve. If we are reacting to a situation, we will typically react to things that we see that are wrong and need to be corrected. Therefore, the employee will be triggered typically to become defensive and be in a mode of, I hope I'm not in trouble, and not really thoughtfully engage in the process to truly improve.