How to Improve Your Direct Reports’ Performance Through Coaching

How can you deliver top-flight results through your direct reports—and accelerate your career growth?

Try coaching. Coaching is not restricted to outside professional coaches. As a corporate manager, consider adopting elements of coaching as a key strategy to develop the strengths and capabilities of your direct reports.

If you enjoy learning from books, like I do, let me recommend an excellent one I recently read: Coaching for Performance by Sir John Whitmore. It’s like a textbook on how professional coaches and corporate managers can increase the performance level of their coachees and direct reports, respectively, through coaching.

Here are my top three take-aways from Whitmore’s book, complemented by my own experience as an executive coach:

  1. Ask questions, listen attentively, and keep asking questions to raise your direct reports’ awareness and responsibility. Help them arrive at a conclusion versus prescribing a course of action for them. Aim to grow the relationship toward interdependence between the two of you. They need you to help them grow and achieve their performance goals. You need them to deliver the results that your boss will hold you accountable for.
      
  2. View coaching as helping your direct reports develop and practice their Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Whitmore describes EQ as “…interpersonal intelligence or, even more simply, as personal and social skills.” It can be explained through a four-part model:
    • Self-awareness: Understanding why we do what we do
    • Social awareness: Identifying people’s strengths, interferences, and motivations
    • Self-management: Being authentic, flexible, and positive
    • Relationship management: Trusting, partnering, supporting, and challenging others so your direct reports are equipped to contribute toward a high-performing organization.

  3. Follow the GROW model in each coaching interaction. Although I was already using a somewhat similar model in my coaching sessions, I liked the structure and simplicity of Whitmore’s model, which is applicable to both external and corporate-manager coaching situations. It builds on asking questions, as indicated in point #1 above:
    • Goal: What does the coachee want to accomplish?
    • Reality: Where is the coachee now? What’s their current situation?
    • Options: What could the coachee do? What are the alternative courses of action?
    • Will: What will the coachee commit to do, how truly committed are they, and by when?

I hope you see yourself as a manager who can deliver much better results through your direct reports by coaching them, rather than by the “command and control” style practiced by too many leaders. This, in turn, should carry an additional benefit for you: Accelerate your career growth.

Contact me if you wish to adopt a coaching style to develop the strengths and capabilities of your direct reports.

Percy M. Cannon
www.cannon.consulting

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