Coaching is not merely a technique to be wheeled out and rigidly applied in certain prescribed circumstances. It’s a way of managing, a way of treating people, a way of thinking, a way of being

Sir John Whitmore

As a leader’s success depends on others succeeding, then how do we best achieve that without doing it for them?

Leaders holding regular coaching conversations throughout the year can avoid Performance Management conversations. I don’t know of many leaders who enjoy the performance management conversation after months or a year of trying to be helpful, fair, accommodating and bending over backwards only to find there is little meaningful change in behaviour.

On the other hand, employees often report that performance management conversations either; aren’t helpful and are more about ticking the box, a one way conversation or they are either sceptical or fearful of the outcome.

Once you have foundation skills of coaching conversations to create mutual responsibility then its just another coaching conversation. In the coach approach manner you become their thinking partner.

Here’s the structure to the conversation for a better job, as clarity, as feedback, as coaching, better job recognition and this process helps you get there.

7 Step Approach of Mutual Responsibility

  1. Have a 1 to 1 dialogue with each direct report every 2 -3 weeks.
    • This is where we are going?
    • What do you think?
    • Where do you think we should be going?
  2. Doing Well – Lead by exploring
    • This is what I see you doing well.
    • What do you think you are doing well/proud of?
  3. Suggestions for improvement.
    • I have some suggestions, would you be open to hearing them?
    • Before I do, what are yours?
    • If you were the coach for you, what would you say?
  4. How can I help.
    • “As a leader how can I help you?”
    • What suggestions have you for me to be a more effective manager/leader?
  5. Mutual responsibility.
    • “Once every two or three months I’ll go through this process. But if anytime you are unclear, come to me and ask. Anytime you need more feedback please take responsibility to ask so there is no confusion or doubt”.
  6. Holding others accountable.
    • Ask: “How can I help you to hold yourself accountable to achieve your goals?”
    • Focus accountability on personal growth and development that adds value on self, team, department and clients.
    • Nurture growth in people that produces the kind of results you need for yourself, your team and your organisation.
    • Helping them stay committed to what they commit to is a deep well of motivation toward accountability.

Six questions toward accountable growth you could ask:

  1. What new behaviours could move you in the direction you want to go?
  2. How could you put one of these new behaviours into practice this week?
  3. What specifically will you do or say differently?
  4. When specifically (and with whom) will you put that into practice?
  5. What might get in your way of doing that?
  6. How can I help you stay accountable to doing that?
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