A Harvard poll revealed that 3 out of every 4 adults played a sport at one point in their life. Yes, this includes soccer when you were just 4 years old. This means 75% of people have experience with coaching.
The workplace is a great opportunity to cross-reference this foundation of being coachable with your employees. On the transverse, it is also important to know how to be a great coach so your employees can be optimally coachable!
My personal experience in writing this blog comes from my experience as a collegiate athlete, a former coach, as well as a professional in the medical billing industry working mainly with skilled nursing facilities as well as other healthcare entities.
I have separated the blog into Coach and Coachable. I believe it’s important to see both perspectives of being the coach and being coachable to create understanding and empathy on both sides. I hope you enjoy reading my blog and feel free to comment any questions or additions you may have to the content!
Be Aware & Receptive
Coach: When it comes to coaching, not only does the “player” need to be receptive, but the coach does as well. While coaching, pay attention to your employees’ reactions, body language, and feedback. Being a team is all about working together and though you may be the coach, paying attention to your employees’ needs and how they learn best is going to benefit you in the long run. Some people work best when their coach gives them “tough love” and tells them how it is, while others need more coddling and positive interaction. Now, I’m not saying you need to coach every single person completely different and change your style to match each individual on a personal level, but noticing what works best for them and making an effort will go a long way.
Coachable: When your superior is coaching you in the workplace, be open to their feedback, delegation, and constructive criticism. Understand that they are not personally attacking you, rather pushing you to be the best at your duties for the success of the team. It is important to acknowledge (by nodding or gesturing) that you understand the feedback your coach is providing. If you do not understand, don’t be afraid to ask questions and continue to build communication with your boss.
Both: Being aware and receptive also entails being cognizant of your own body language, verbal responses, and other behaviors you may be projecting. Interpersonal communication is all about reciprocity. Therefore, the person you interact with, whether you are the coach or the coached, feeds off your behavior just as much as you feed off theirs.
If you are coaching with a smile, eye contact, and friendliness the employee will perceive your words differently than if you have a stern brow, closed arms, lack of eye contact, and shortness in conversation. Of course, these are both extreme but you can see how a simple conversation can be perceived very differently with both.
Coach: If you are only pointing out when your employees are doing something wrong, coaching moments are going to continually be in retrospect and have a negative association that you always point out “what they did wrong.” Instead, try to be proactive and coach employees in tasks and responsibilities before they “mess it up.” This means having a great training program in place for new hires to feel confident in their duties and lower needs for corrections is crucial. If employees understand and execute duties most efficiently because of great training, a coach can then focus on facilitating collaboration and process/product improvements.
Coachable: The best way to be proactive when it comes to being coachable is to ASK QUESTIONS! Do not wait for a supervisor to have to correct you, try not to guess at something you don’t know how to do, just ask! Another way to be proactive is to do something before you are told. If you see something that is incomplete, a mistake someone made, or something nobody considered doing- jump on it! Not only will this make life easier on the team, but it will make you stand out as a hard-working employee and your “coach” will account for this when it comes time for review.
Both: Be proactive in communicating conflict, if there is anything going on behind the scenes that one party is unaware of, talk about it. A lot of times when there is conflict, one party may be oblivious, and it can continue to build and anger the other party. Communication, especially before something blows up into a major issue, is huge in a team and helps build trust and foster cohesiveness.
Coach: Develop a “coaching” culture in your workplace. This means be consistent in giving feedback, being open to receiving feedback, positivity, constructive criticism, collaboration, and the importance of teamwork. When you instill a coaching culture in the office and maintain a consistent and healthy coaching method, your employees will know what to expect and will feel supported.
Also, build up your employees. Offer resources for expanding their toolbox, to improve skills for their responsibilities, gain certifications, anything that will support their growth. When you support the growth of your employees, they will support the company’s productivity and grow for their personal professional future as well. Offering your team valuable growth resources shows you care as a coach and fosters a great team relationship in the long run. Check out the REVEX Blog, 4 New Training Programs to Help You Unlock Your Team’s Potential, for some great training ideas!
Coachable: Just as your supervisor, or coach, is investing in growing your skillset, invest back in them with effort, positive energy, and a willingness to learn. Be open to growth opportunities presented to you and get the most out of resources your coach provides.
Additionally, as a supervisor is working to instill a coaching culture in the workplace, support that with a coachable attitude. Teams are all about collaboration and support, and the more cohesiveness there is in the workplace, the higher the morale and easier it is to show up to work every day!
Make Change Stick
Coach: Making change last is going to rely tremendously on the coach’s role in the workplace. The coach is the source of authority who is instilling the company culture by remaining consistent and providing standards of what is expected. This does mean discipline is a big factor in coaching as well. When you implement change, such as a new method to procedures, and train your employees on the change, you must maintain these changes and sometimes that requires discipline of both yourself and your employees. Discipline needs to be fair and consistent with what behavior is being punished across employees. On the contrary, there must also be positive reinforcement and rewards. As your employees are making changes and being coachable, the positive reinforcement will carry these changes on, so they don’t get lost in translation!
Coachable: Keeping the change is reliant on the team! The employees! THE COACHABLE! When your coach is teaching and guiding, it is imperative that you take that guidance in and maintain the changes necessary. If there are issues with changes or coaching, communication needs to be an open channel, conflicts resolved, and the appropriate changes need to be implemented from resolution on out. A cohesive and dedicated team is invaluable and will undoubtedly be rewarded by a coach when they see their changes are being maintained.
In conclusion, learning to be a great coach and to be coachable is an ongoing process involving a lot of open communication, effort, and consistency. Both parties rely on one another to perform their duties optimally and for expectations to be clear. Coach and Be Coachable!
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Thanks so much for reading!
 Anderson, D., & Frey, A. (2018, February 12). Seven Ways to Become More Coachable. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.digitaldealer.com/dealer-ops-leadership/dealer-management/seven-ways-become-coachable/
 Hoppen, D. (n.d.). Coaching to Engage: 12 Rules to Effective, Ongoing Employee Coaching. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.quantumworkplace.com/future-of-work/12-rules-for-effective-employee-coaching
 Hunt, J. M., & Weintraub, J. R. (2007). The Coaching Organization. The Coaching Organization: A Strategy for Developing Leaders, 1-26. doi:10.4135/9781483329062.n1
 Poll: Three in four adults played sports when they were younger, but only one in four still play. (2015, June 15). Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/poll-many-adults-played-sports-when-young-but-few-still-play/