Archive for the ‘mentoring’ Category

Four Things Every Employee Wants to Know

October 16, 2009 Leave a comment

If you’re striving to be the best manager/coach/mentor/leader you can be, you don’t need to overcomplicate your life trying to achieve this.  All Things Workplace gives you four simple things to think about — and if you can do these for your employees, you’ll achieve your goals.


What Can a Coach Do For You?

What’s your image of a coach?  Bob Knight?  Maybe it’s your H.S. cross country coach who drove the car and smoked cigars while you and the rest of the team huffed out your 5 or 6 miles through town.  Or maybe it’s reruns of the TV show, Coach.  But a job coach, business coach and/or leadership coach is a whole different animal. 

So forget the yelling and suicide sprints.  If we look at the lexicon on the word coach we would find that it is derived from the word Kocs, which is the name of a small village in northeastern Hungary, where carriages and carts were made.  The slang term Kocs meant “tutor”.  It was said of university instructors during the 1800s, who took such a personal interest in the progress of their students, that the students would say that they seemed to be carried through their exams as if they were driven in the professor’s carriage (or coach). 

Maybe you had a coach different from the ones mentioned above.  If so, please comment and share how they helped you perform better. 

Also, think about your role as a leader.  Are you measuring performance well enough to understand the gaps between your team’s current performance and the performances goals?  Do you know the team’s hopes, feelings and attitudes that may make it difficult for them to accept any needed help or to pass along that help to others when they are exceeding those performance markers? 

Consider this as you are thinking about those annual performance appraisals coming up at the end of the year. 

If you would like to bounce some ideas around, give me a shout or stop by. 

Mr. Anderson

Source:  The Dance of Change, Peter Senge

The Firm, episode 1

Coaching happens everyday in big and small ways at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC). This film series, an odd collection of personalities and real life situations, was created to show PwC staff just what they mean by “coaching culture.” This is the series that made Amy and Blake cult favorites inside the Firm.

New episodes are released every 2 weeks. Check out the first espisode of the Firm.

Categories: coaching, mentoring

John Wooden on True Success

Coaching Staff — Part V

The 5th Installment of Coaching Staff from the Brilliant Leadership Blog. Share other topics you’d like to learn about! ~Kristin

Coaching Staff — Part V
The Brilliant Leadership Blog
So far in this series we’ve looked at how to provide clear instruction, effective demonstrations, enable practice in a safe environment and the under-rated element of observing this practice. In this section we’ll be looking at how to make an effective coaching intervention and provide feedback to the staff member.

In fact, the very phrase, provide feedback to the staff member is wrong. This implies that feedback is a one way process whereas it really should be a two way discussion. Wherever possible, the staff member should be encouraged to review their own performance or progression in the task or skill area with a view to identifying what has worked well and what can be improved. The coach’s role is to ask great questions and listen actively. In Brilliant Leader I recommend the use of the communication funnel as a key coaching technique for such interventions.

Apart from being a two way discussion, what are the other aspects of a feedback intervention that we should consider?

1. Positive Reinforcement – It is vital that people understand what they have done well and why. This is much more than simply praising the individual. It is about helping them to understand the positive behaviours they have employed so that they learn when and how to employ these behaviours in the future.

2. Constructive Improvement – When something hasn’t gone as well as was intended, it is important for the staff member to understand what they needed to do differently and how. The key guideline here is that if they were to perform this task again will they be able to exhibit different and more effective behaviours.

3. Support Interventions – Often, a feedback intervention occurs because the staff member asks for help – usually because they encounter something new or different in relation to the task or skill area. In the early stages of the coaching cycle, the coach might simply provide a recommendation or even an instruction. However, as the individual becomes more accomplished, the coach’s role is to challenge the staff member to come up with their own solutions or recommendations. These can then be shaped, if necessary, before being ratified.

4. Timely – Coaching interventions should be timely. The longer it is left after the event before the staff member receives feedback, the less relevant the feedback becomes. This presents particular challenges for those who are coaching remotely. This might involve coaching via the telephone or video conferencing. It might also indicate a need to meet with the staff member more frequently or to involve additional help in the coaching process from those who are on the same site or location.

5. Motivational – While remembering that the purpose of a feedback conversation is for the staff member to learn, it is also important that the environment that is created is motivational and inspirational. This requires that encouragement is provided even when correcting or improving behaviour. The feedback session should finish on the development of an action plan or a summary of key points that will be taken away from the session and the coach should instil a sense of belief in the staff member that they can successfully implement and apply these actions.

The final point to make when considering the coaching cycle is to remember precisely that – it is a cycle and not a straight line process. The cycle will repeat less and less frequently until the staff member becomes fully competent in the task or skill area. This implies that coaching is an ongoing process not a one off exercise. To be clear on this, coaching is a fundamental part of managing and leading people – it is a core part of the job.

This will be an important point to note in the next part of this series we explore how to find the time to coach.

Simon Cooper is chief executive of the Experiential Learning Centre, author of the exciting new book, Brilliant Leader and architect of the Brilliant Leadership workshops.

Coaching Staff — Part II

The 2nd installment from a really great series of coaching tips I found on the Brilliant Leadership blog. Please let me know what other topics you’d like to learn about! ~Kristin

Coaching Staff — Part II
The Brilliant Leadership Blog
In the first part of this series on how to coach staff and how to find the time to coach staff, I looked at the instructional stage of the coaching cycle. The need for the coach to provide a clear explanation of the task or skill area by breaking it down into bite sized chunks, delivering a clear and unambiguous message while checking the staff member’s understanding.

An optional tool for imparting knowledge is the use of a demonstration. This primarily enhances the staff member’s knowledge and awareness of the task or skill area by enabling them to see how it is done by an expert or competent individual. However, like each stage of the coaching cycle, providing an effective demonstration is not without its difficulties.

For example, has anyone ever shown you how to do something on a computer? Explanation – Talk – Click! Explanation – Talk – Click! Explanation – Talk – Click! I’m sure most of us have been there and the net result is that we are rarely further forward than when the demonstration began and more often than not, we are more confused.

So how does a coach provide an effective demonstration?

Competent Individual or Expert?
The first challenge is to ensure the person providing the demonstration is able to exhibit model behaviour. The problem often encountered by experts is that they have progressed to a level of unconscious competence – they don’t even have to think about what they are doing. Often, the most effective demonstration will be provided by a competent individual – someone who can think about what they are doing at each stage. This is not to say an expert cannot fulfil the role but they must be able to increase their level of conscious awareness.

An effective demonstration will break the task or skill down into stages and deliver these in a step-by-step format, taking questions at each stage before moving on. This process should conclude with a joined up demonstration that brings all of the stages together.

Running Commentary
While providing a demonstration the coach should provide a running commentary that also allows for the staff member to ask questions as the demonstration unfolds.

While this is technically the third stage of the coaching cycle, an effective demonstration should allow an opportunity for the staff member to have a go at the task or skill in the presence of the coach. This will often include a summary of the issues arising from the demonstration before allowing the staff member to move onto the next stage of the coaching cycle – extended practice.

In the next part of this series I will explore further the challenges that are faced by both the coach and staff member in providing opportunities for extended, unsupervised practice in the task or skill area.

Simon Cooper is Chief Executive of the Experiential Learning Centre, author of the exciting new book, Brilliant Leader and architect of the unique and powerful Brilliant Leadership workshops.

Become a Mentor

January 20, 2009 Leave a comment
It’s National Mentoring Month – learn more at, or:

Thank Your Mentor Day – January 22, 2009 marks the fifth annual “Thank Your Mentor Day™,” which many mentoring programs selected as a day of volunteer recognition.

Become a Big Brother or Big Sister – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana develops mentors committed to helping boys and girls grow into the next generation of caring, confident and competent adults.
When: Thursday, January 22, 5:30-7pm
Where: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana, 2960 N. Meridian St.
RSVP: To Molly by Jan. 21 at

Element of Effective Practice – latest in quality mentoring research, policies and practices.

The Art of Mentoring ( webcast) – A mentor takes on many roles, including teacher, counselor, leader and manager. Carew International CEO Jeff Seeley discusses how to mentor someone effectively.