You are a member of management of your organization and you have an employee who Is not performing to the level that the organization requires, so what do you do? If you re like many managers your immediate response is to talk to the employee about how to change their work habits in order to achieve your goal.
I recently attended a meeting of the local SHRM chapter in which the presenter made the point that management coaching is not what we think it is. It was an interesting perspective so I attended for that very reason. The presenter, who is an International Coaching Federation certified coach, expressed the view that when we assist our staff to begin the process improvement effort we are faced with two worlds.
The first world is one in which we come to the employee not functioning at the level that is expected from the point of view of the expert. We are the ones who know what needs to be done so we tell the employee this is the way it has to be done. The second world is one in which we facilitate the change needed by asking questions to determine where the individual is coming from and where they want to be in the context of the performance metrics. It means we do not impose solutions.
The coach/manager listens to what the employees are saying and gains real insight into where the problems are situated. Through this coaching process we improve the corporate culture. The coach/manager does not impose solutions but instead helps lay out the improvement roadmap. Toyota Production System is based on this model according to the writings of Jeff Liker. Specifically, I would point you in the direction of two of his books, The Toyota Culture and the Toyota Talent. In these two volumes, Liker suggests that, as a manager, your responsibility is to educate your staff. Explain to them that the organization is now judging performance based on certain metrics. You need to explain why these metrics are important and what is in it for them by abiding by these metrics. Further you need to inform the people around you hat the consequences of non-action are to them and the organization.
Once we have completed this effort, as managers, our roles change. Now we become coaches. It is not our intention to tell them this is the way something has to be done. It is our intention to explain to the employee in question that this is the performance expectation and this is where they are performing. One the base line is established, and then we need to work with them to identify solutions that work for them as to how to get them to the performance level that is expected. Let them determine whether they believe they need further training or a new career path. We fully understand that as we change the organization it may not be the right environment for a specific employee, but it should be their decision to exit the organization.
For the TLS Continuum to become successful, the team needs to develop the solutions to the organizational issues themselves. This does not come about by a manager TELLING them what to do. This comes about by the COACH walking them through solutions developed by them not you.
So returning to the title of this part of the TLS Continuum series, what am I supposed to do? You need to change your focus from being a manager to becoming a coach. You need to change your focus to that of assisting the discovery process into potential solutions to the process improvement effort.
So what are you? Are you the commandeering manager type or are you truly part of the team through the coaching effort? Enter the conversation by leaving a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us which type of manager you are?