“Is that all you’ve got?!”

Growing up playing sports, that’s the type of coaching that went on from the sidelines. However, it was behind the scenes, during half-time, where the real coaching took place.

It was at that moment, where the coach initiated honest dialog among the team regarding what was working on the field and what wasn’t. It was the kind of coaching that required trust when a decision was made to strategically shift players positions to optimize their strengths. It was the type of coaching that prompted players to reflect on their performance and motivate them to do better, not only for themselves but for their leader and the team.

You see, one of the most important roles you play as a leader is being the coach. Why? Because coaching and feedback, when done right, can drive performance, improve engagement and create cohesion within the team.

Coaching requires skill, good intent and a commitment to help move someone towards their goals or help them to see their full potential. So, ask yourself before a coaching moment, “What is my intent?” Is it to improve a skill, remove roadblocks, enhance creativity, adjust a behavior for a better result? Or maybe it’s to have an open honest conversation about what your employee’s development or career path looks like. These are all moments that start with observations, continue with a desire to understand, and result in employee growth.

At the foundation of coaching is trust, which if done right, is sometimes built through these conversations. In other instances, it can be established through seeking feedback from your team, modeling consistency and the behavior you expect from others, and demonstrating a genuine interest in your team and their development.

Finally, coaching is a two-way street. When on the receiving end of these conversations, it’s important to maintain an open mind. It’s not always easy to hear constructive criticism, and it may be uncomfortable when you’re pushed outside your comfort zone. Be aware of these feelings but don’t let them get in the way of your growth.

With check-in meetings right around the corner, continue to grow with us and learn more about how to hold effective coaching conversations and how to receive and apply feedback to improve your overall team’s performance. With any position you hold, you’ve got the opportunity to make a difference for yourself and the team. So, I ask you, “Is that all you’ve got?!”