When people on your team aren’t pulling their weight or performing to their full potential, nobody wins. As a leader, by stepping into the role of coach you can get them past whatever is blocking their performance.
But this coaching isn’t going to happen casually, when you pass in the hallway or at the coffee machine. It needs to roll out in a series of regularly scheduled coaching meetings. What’s so important about these meetings, and why should they be a priority on your schedule? Here’s an analogy from the friendly skies:
Perhaps some of you, like me, are frequent business travelers. Whenever I board a plane, I’m always tempted to peek into the cockpit. I feel comforted when I spot the captain holding a piece of paper and pen, studying what I imagine is a preflight checklist. Seeing that checklist lets me know that the pilot’s objectives are the same as mine: making sure we have a safe flight.
In your role of coach, the best way for you to maintain flight readiness is through regularly scheduled coaching for accountability sessions. Note that I didn’t say, “casual, periodic, as-needed coaching sessions.” I mean, what would happen if pilots ran through the preflight checklist only when they felt like it or had some extra time?
Now I’m not trying to say that every coaching session involves issues critical to safety. But complacency isn’t an option for the leaders of today’s professional service firms, any more than it is for a pilot. To really hold people accountable, you need to be in touch with them routinely and frequently. Regular coaching sessions give you the structure to do that.
Here are four other good reasons for scheduling regular coaching meetings with your team members:
- To help them learn. Many studies show that people learn new habits and new material best when they review it in frequent intervals (“spaced repetition”). Otherwise, they fall back into their old ways.
- To stay current. You’ll want to follow up on the goals you discussed and the commitments you made before too much time goes by and they become irrelevant.
- To save time. You may not see this at first when you’re adding coaching to your already crowded calendar, but think about how much time you spend cleaning up after people and doing things yourself that others should have handled themselves.
- To show your support. When meetings are scheduled at regular intervals, your people will realize very quickly that they can count on you to help them make progress, meet their goals, and get what they want.
Will all of this make a difference in their performance? Of course it will! And yours, too!
Has making time for coaching for accountability meetings made a difference for your team? Add a comment below!