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fter my company grew out of the small closet it started in, we set up headquarters

in Omaha, Nebraska with employees stationed across the country. However, as with many small businesses, we were concerned our rapid growth could lead to gaps in our communication, triggering employee uncertainty, distrust and, ultimately, disengagement. Every day, we do our best to focus

on our own culture – how we can im- prove it and what our employees need to be the best version of themselves. In 2012, we surveyed our employees and found they disagreed with two

crucial communication statements: ` `


Tere is open and honest communication between employees and managers.

Like many of our clients, we were having issues connecting the dots between employee engagement and employee performance. We knew our data would only be helpful if we acted immediately and aggressively. So, we set up a coaching strategy to address employees’ concerns. Here’s what happened when our managers stopped managing and started coaching.

Two-way conversations happen frequently

Most managers feel the extreme pressure from company leaders to get their jobs done. Tey know what the bottom line is, which means they also know when employees are far from reaching their goals. Feeling this heavy weight causes managers to tell employees how to do their jobs and complete daily tasks. But how does this really benefit employees? Coaches handle situations like these a bit differently. Even though the desired end result is the same – an employee must understand how to effectively do their job – coaching employees allows two-way conversations that give managers and employees better insight into the issue and how to solve it. In order to start the process,

our managers began meeting with employees one-on-one on a monthly basis (we called them GOOD lunches

My immediate supervisor regularly gives me constructive feedback on my job performance.

– Goals, Obstacles, Opportunities and Decisions). Together, they discuss employee career and project goals, obstacles that get in the way of their work or hinder performance, opportunities for growth and advancement, and action steps to take before the next one-on-one meeting. Tis allows employees to express

exactly what issues or concerns they’re having at work and have the problem immediately assessed. Managers also save time by addressing issues head-on. Meeting with employees frequently gives them the oppor- tunity to discuss both positive and negative feedback to help employees move forward constructively.

Priorities change from tasks to goals

Te word ‘task’ sounds so tedious. It re- minds me of something I push through just to throw a tick next to it, so I can move on to the next mundane task. However, ‘goals’, even though

they’re not always easy to accomplish, give me a sense of empowerment. When I hear that term, I feel motivated to propel forward, do my best, and advance to the next level. Managers know the importance of

even when it’s negative, they’ll be able to offer it more openly. With a manager-to-employee

coaching strategy, employees gain the tools and training needed to reach their goals. Managers found helping employees grow to reach their goals gives them the power to achieve their full potential with the company.

Learning is enhanced for each individual

Every good manager knows employee coaching can’t be one-sided. Each employee has a different learning style. Even with this knowledge, many learning and development opportunities consist of online courses, webinars, and software tutorials. While some of these options

touch on both reading and hands-on learning, the range and depth is limited by the screen. When employees’ learning opportunities are diminished to quick step-by-step run-downs or on-screen tutorials, their growth potential is stunted. Not only are learning and

development opportunities affected by the way you coach employees, but so is engagement.

Coaching employees allows two-way conversations that give managers and employees better insight into the issue and how to solve it

finishing tasks and getting them com- pleted before the due date. Clients, cus- tomers and other departments in the company depend on the finalisation of these tasks to move on with next steps. While coaches also under- stand the moving parts of the business, they know it’s not about ticking tasks off lists. Instead, it’s about making goals, hitting or exceeding expectations and feeling pride in those accomplishments. But goals and expectations can only be reached through the proper amount of training and development. Focusing on immediate supervisors

regularly providing constructive feedback on job performance makes teams aware of going beyond daily tasks. Once managers understand that employees want to hear feedback,

report, Coaching Employees for High Performance,1

According to our October 2016 employees who preferred

peer coaching as a form of professional development, were 8 percentage points more engaged. Tey were 5.6 percentage points more engaged if they preferred coaching from a supervisor/ manager and only 2.9 percentage points more engaged if they preferred online training sessions/webinars. However, when employees

preferred classroom-style learning, they were 2.8 percentage points less engaged – and 6 percentage points less engaged when they preferred to develop in a cross-training environment. When peer-to-peer and manager-

to-employee coaching strategies are put into place, each team member is able to learn at their own pace and

 | June 2017 | 19

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