Make Training Stick: Coaching As a Strategy
By Holly Stiel President, Thank You Very Much Inc. | April 13, 2009
I will focus on the final two questions in this article.
In many hotels, the annual review is the only opportunity employees receive to discuss their performance. With ongoing coaching, even as little as once a month, there are never any surprises. There is also the opportunity for continuous improvement. Little by little, one behavior at a time, employees can improve their performance by at least 12 things within a year, all because they chose which areas they could work on themselves.
I realize that the idea of coaching is nothing new -- what I also realize is that most hotels say they coach when, in fact, they are not actually following a coaching model that encourages self-discovery.
I recently attended a meeting where the executives said they constantly coached and were very familiar with the process. As I probed further, I was told, "I'm not really interested in what the employees think. I just want them to do what I tell them to do." The most important distinction here is that Coaching is not TELLING -- it is asking and listening.
Experience shows that people are much more engaged and successful when they buy into their own ideas. If we, as managers and executives, want behavior to change as a result of training, we need to engage the employee in the learning process. We never liked being told what to do as children and we don't like it any better as adults.
Changing from telling to asking is a huge paradigm shift for the employee as well as the manager. It takes a commitment to the process as well as to the specific language of a coaching conversation. Whenever I teach a class on coaching I am always told that coaching is valuable and important. Having said that, the very next thing I hear is that there is no time to coach. Everyone is so busy they couldn't possibly do one more thing. The true payoff is that if coaching is handled correctly and consistently, it eventually becomes a time-saver and a stress reducer.