Rock Products

NOV 2012

Rock Products is the aggregates industry's leading source for market analysis and technology solutions, delivering critical content focusing on aggregates-processing equipment; operational efficiencies; management best practices; comprehensive market

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Coaching Is More Than Just Yelling On The Sidelines Managers Must Go beyond Identifying and Documenting Mistakes. By Steve Schumacher I was having a conversation recently with a supervisor about coaching. I asked him how often he finds him‐ self in a coaching situation with his employees. He said that it seemed like all he does is coach his employees, especially the low performers. That kind of sur‐ prised me; he would consider only to coach someone when they made a mistake. I then asked him to give me a further explanation of coaching. He pulled out a form that he had been given by the Human Resources department. It was titled "Coaching Worksheet." The form went into great detail on how to basically document when an em‐ ployee messes up. I walked away from that conversation thinking about the effective coaches I have had in my life. As I thought about them, I came up with a list of things they did that went beyond merely iden‐ tifying and documenting my mistakes. The following list includes a number of situations when you are a coach: Giving directions. The ability to break down sometimes‐complex tasks into clear instructions is one behavior of an effective coach. It takes a good deal of patience, com‐ munication ability, and listening. Being very clear about exactly what you want done, at the outset of a task, will reduce mistakes and increase the confidence of your employees. Setting objectives. An effective coach understands that people will be more motivated to achieve their 26 ROCKproducts • NOVEMBER 2012 objectives when they are involved in setting them. You must start with the big picture goals of the company, move to your depart‐ ment objectives, and then to the individual's objectives. We all want scoreboards, and if you are a good coach, you will help employ‐ ees set up their own. Giving feedback. The key to coaching employees to achieve their objectives is providing them with timely and specific feedback. This includes letting them know when they are doing it right, as well as when they get off track. Make sure your feedback is delivered in a way that the employee has a clear picture of what they did right or wrong. A simple "thumbs up" is not enough. Paint a clear picture of what it is you liked, so the employee will con‐ tinue to do it. Dealing with failure. When an employee cannot, or will not, perform their tasks correctly, an effective coach understands which tools to use. Those tools could take the form of encouragement, a reprimand, redi‐ recting, or retraining. If you use the proper tool at the proper time, the odds increase that the employee will get it right. If you do not, you may be encouraging more failure. Following through. Keeping your commitments, as a coach, is the key to building trust with employees. Without trust in your work relation‐ ships, you will not be able to get any‐ thing accomplished. If you know nothing else as a coach, doing what you said you would do will make up for a lot of other shortcomings. Steve Schumacher is a management consultant, trainer and public speaker with more than 25 years of experience in numerous industries throughout North America, including aggregates operations. He can be reached at Motivating others. We all know that people motivate themselves. An effective coach works on creating an environment for that motivation to happen. Just trying to "read" your employees can be inaccurate and have the opposite effect. Effective coaches ask their employees what is important to them in relation to the task at hand. Continual assessment and re‐assessment of the person and the situation is required for true mo‐ tivation. Assessing strengths and weak- nesses. Effective coaches are adept at truly assessing root causes of their employee's issues, not symptoms. This requires keen observations and attention to detail. Without clearly identifying a person's strengths and weaknesses, you may end up coach‐ ing a non‐existent problem. Working with personal issues. Often, a coach must deal with an em‐

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