I recently wrote about what most leaders miss when it comes to accountability. There were a lot of tools and tips that I asked you to consider when it comes to creating and building accountability, personally, as well as with your team. One area I didn’t cover that is critical to accountability is coaching.
I thought twice before I wrote the above headline. Calling coaching the greatest accountability tool there is may be a bold statement. I think it’s right on the money.
Coaching is a tool that lazy leaders look at and decide that it’s not worth the effort. It feels easier to bark orders, micro-manage and control. In the short term, lazy leaders are right.
Short term results are not where missions come to prosper.
Short term results can be a step in the right direction, but short-term results don’t create lasting success.
If you want to be a leader of influence, it’s important to look at how you can create an environment where people act in a self-directed empowered way.
I’m sure this sounds great, but you may be getting tripped up in the implementation piece of this process.
First, let’s start with what coaching is.
Coaching is the process of unlocking another person’s potential and helping people to come to an independent understanding of what to do in a way that suits their skill and ability.
Now that you have a definition in mind, here’s how to develop yourself as a coach and some tools to help you show up as a coach for your team.
- Develop a Heart for People. If you don’t have a heart for serving other people, it’s difficult to be a coach for them. Great coaching removes your ego from a conversation so that you can listen. It’s difficult to do this when you don’t care.
- Stop Judging. Judgment is where understanding goes to die. When you judge others, no new learning about this person can occur. Why would it if you already know the answer?
- Ask Questions. There’s a Biblical Proverb (20:5) that says the “purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, one who has insight draws them out”. Every employee has walls that they put up to keep themselves from being known. Your job as a leader, and a coach, is to ask questions to allow you to understand people at a deeper level.
- Stop Being a Fixer. How is your team supposed to learn and understand things when you always tell them what to do, give them answers and clean up their messes? They won’t. Your team can’t learn problem solving skills if you don’t put them in a position to do the work.
- Let Your Team be the Expert. No one knows what your team needs in their life more than the individual. It’s true that you can provide insight and guidance, but the bulk of the work should be on your team’s shoulders to come up with ways to fix problems that they encounter.
- Follow Up. Stay engaged in the process. One conversation isn’t always enough to fix issues that come up. Pay attention to what happens after the conversation and give feedback as to what you observe after the fact. This will help to create accountability in the process. It also shows that you care.
If you haven’t been trained on coaching skills and tools, look at where you can acquire and develop the training that you need to be a great coach for your team. There are a lot of great resources out there, including at New Work Revolution.
By developing your skill in coaching, you will create a team that knows you care, comes up with solutions to problems and moves forward with those solutions in a powerful way. The more you and your team go through this process the more empowered and confident they will be. This is where accountability happens in a big way.