Communicating effectively is of great importance in the work place. It is especially important for managers who would like to boost the morale and performance of their employees. Coaching is offered to employees who may need extra encouragement and molding so that they may be able to be more productive in their teams or work place. The manager needs to transform from being a figure of authority to being a coach. As a coach it is vital to approach the issue very carefully, and first begin by requesting the particular employee for permission to coach (Craumer, 2001). Offering to coach is respectful and considerate to the employee, as opposed to giving unsolicited advice, which may elicit a defensive response from the employee.
When coaching, it is necessary to prepare and assess carefully how employees interact with each other. This will assist in assessing individual impact on the team, and its objectives. The result of this assessment would be the identification of individual’s strengths and weaknesses. The coach should then find ways in which these strengths can be used for the higher productivity (Craumer, 2001). In addition, perceived weaknesses can also be used creatively to increase productivity within the work environment. The coach should be especially careful to make enough observations to draw a correct conclusion and not be quick to judge (Craumer, 2001). After this, the coach should approach the individual to be coached and offer particular instances which require correction or improvement.
An important skill during coaching is that of questioning. The coach should be able to ask questions from employees, which promote sharing ideas and active participation (Craumer, 2001). In doing so, the coach must exercise great caution in his body language as this may greatly affect the manner in which employees respond. For example, the coach who is asking questions while appearing distracted, or trying to multitask will fail to observe the body language, emotions, and unspoken messages of the employee. The employee will also not take the session seriously. It is wiser for the coach to give the employee full attention, as the session will then be more productive. This requires the coach to cultivate good listening skills and create an atmosphere that will result in honest communication.
The manner in which a coach offers feedback to employees plays a big role in determining how effective it will be. The coach should first be respectful to the employee by requesting permission to offer this feedback. It is crucial for the coach not to appear to be having personal issues with the employee. The feedback should then be descriptive, citing specific cases and be objective. Positive accomplishments and attitudes should also be noted and praised.
For maximum success, the coach should ensure that the employee is also committed to bein coached. They should both formulate an action plan to work on observed issues. A follow-up meeting should also be scheduled to assess the progress made. The coach should guarantee that he is available to answer questions or to support the employee (Craumer, 2001).
As a Registered Nurse, several coaching opportunities often present themselves, especially in bedside care. I have an opportunity to coach other Licenced Practice Nurses (LPNs) whom I supervise at work. If I notice that a particular nurse under my charge is underperforming, I will first take time to assess this nurse to determine whether in deed my observation is real. This is because, it is important to be objective so as to be able to give practical occasions where improvements could be made. This will also involve identifying what the nurse does very well and also what weaknesses may be present. After making my assessment and drawing appropriate conclusions and observations, I will approach the nurse carefully and request permission to offer advice.
Since our work is of a practical nature, I will offer to assist the nurse when he/she is performing scheduled rounds, and encourage honesty about any particular procedures which may be difficult. During such occasions when we do the rounds together, I will be careful not to appear as an uncompromising authority figure, but rather as a leader who is interested in improvement. I will also be careful not to be condescending and to allow the nurse to ask questions.
I will also collaborate with the nurse to come up with a plan which will focus on improving various sectors which I would have identified. In addition, I will work on ensuring that I provide the nurse with feedback which will be necessary to assess our action plan. Not only will I point out negative aspects, but I will also highlight the positive aspects as well so as to motivate the nurse. Above all I will ensure that I am respectful towards the nurse at all times and employ good listening skills so that I may be able to identify any unspoken emotional issues or observe body language.
Another coaching opportunity presents itself when I am dealing with my patients. Very often, my patients ask me numerous questions about their conditions and how they can manage them properly. In addition, I often need to instruct them on the causes, treatment, and future prevention of the ailments they are suffering from, or from any others which they may inquire. This also requires me to communicate effectively so that they may understand and appreciate the information I give them.
The first step for me is to ensure that I use language which is clear (Obuchowski, 2006). I have noticed that often when a patient makes an inquiry, and I respond using complicated nursing jargon, the patient is more likely to misunderstand what I am saying. It is easier to use plain and clear language which the patient will easily comprehend. In addition, I will make efforts to question especially when I need to confirm that the patient understands my instructions, for example, in home care after being discharged from hospital. Communication will also be greatly enhanced if I display genuine interest in the patient. It has been said severally in the nursing profession that some nurses are cold and impersonal. I will strive to show empathy and display good listening skills as I deal with patients so that they are able to communicate their concerns with me openly.
In conclusion, effective communication is necessary for the smooth running of operations, whether in a corporate setting or in a medical setting. It is vital that all leaders learn how to communicate efficiently between themselves, colleagues, and juniors. Coaching presents opportunities to achieve goals like to improve performance and staff morale. The coach should thus strive to provide objective guidance to promote the achievement of set goals.
Center for Management and Organizational Effectiveness (2012). Leadership Coaching: Coaching as their Leader. Available at http://www.cmoe.com/coaching-employees.htm
Craumer M., (2001). How to Coach your Employees. Harvard Management Communication Letter.
Gregory B. & Levy P. (2010). Employee Coaching Relationships: Enhancing Construct Clarity and Measurement. International Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice, 3, (2): 109-123
Obuchowski J. (2006). Communicate not to Impress, but to Inform. Harvard Management Communication Letter.
Zmorenski D. (2009). Effective Strategies for Coaching and Developing your Employees. Available at http://blogs.reliableplant.com/1042/coaching-employees-change/