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Do you have the five characteristics of an effective coach?

by , 16 September 2013
Coaching is the most common form of training that takes place in the workplace. It involves developing the knowledge, skills and attributes of employees. To do this effectively, a coach must have these five vital characteristics...

As a manager, you have many different duties, each serving a specific purpose including:

  • Planner: Determining strategies and the use of resources.
  • Problem solver: Making decisions and resolving difficulties.
  • Information handler: Disseminating relevant information – relevant to your department and the larger organisation.
  • Director: Assigning specific duties and tasks to your subordinates.
  • Coach: Developing the technical, personal or interpersonal skills of your employees.

In reality, these roles constantly blend into one another and the role of coach overlaps each of your other managerial roles.

In coaching, 'the main idea is to focus the employees' efforts using a specific, directed methodology to ensure the goal or desired outcome is attained,' says the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

But you can't do this effectively without these key qualities…

A good coach has these five qualities:

#1: A good coach is deliberate and prepared. A good coach understands when coaching must be used and genuinely supports an employees' development.

A good coach will make the necessary time to plan how to approach an employee and keeps a written record of all formal coaching interventions as part of the employees' training records.

#2: A good coach makes the coaching process mutual because coaching needs to be a mutual process to be most effective.

A good coach will build a trust relationship with an employee so they're motivated and enthusiastic about the coaching process.

It's also important that there's a balance between give and take in the process and that the employee is allowed to participate fully during the entire process.

#3: A good coach strives to be a good communicator. Effective communication skills are vital as coaching involves communication in the verbal or written form.

Besides being aware of the direct and indirect messages that he's sending his employee during the coaching process, a good coach is also alert to the signs of emotions in others and is supportive of others' feelings. Honest but respectful communication is the motto that a good coach lives by, says the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

#4: A good coach is always looking for opportunities to coach.

He'll learn to identify coaching opportunities and to create coaching opportunities on a daily basis in the workplace.

#5: A good coach builds a coaching environment. If coaching is only used to address ineffective performance, employees will begin to associate coaching with inadequacies on the job.

A good coach will create a coaching environment that's perceived to be a support system for employees who require additional positive attention and skill development in the workplace.

Such an environment can be nurtured by positive reinforcement and motivation, being realistic about the time frame for change and encouraging growth in all employees.

Well there you have it. Having these qualities as a coach will go a long way in ensuring you succeed in improving and managing your employee's performance.

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