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Edition 001

Learning Tree
Management Insights
Expert Advice from Today’s Top Professionals
Getting High Performance done at any time and doesn’t require a manager/
subordinate relationship to be effective. In a
from the “Middle 80%” coaching relationship, both parties decide if the
relationship should continue. Coaching focuses
Even if you haven’t reached official management on developing, not “fixing,” the person being
status, you’ve probably had the opportunity to take coached—creating individuals with improved
the lead and be in charge of others—managing a skills who can contribute more effectively in a
project or serving as team leader. Looking back, team environment and on their own.
did you find yourself investing 80% of your time
Coaching is much more than just an informal
with just 20% of the people you were leading? Did
conversation with another staff member. It depends
you find yourself immersed in micromanaging the
on clear expectations that are communicated well
bottom 10%—your problem children—while spend-
and supported with timely oversight. Regardless of
ing the rest of your time catering to the needs (and
whether you’re a manager coaching a new employee
whims) of the 10% who were your star performers?
or team member coaching a peer, formalizing some
It’s tempting to give all of your attention to people of the coaching process is useful. When goals and
at the top and the bottom of your team: But don’t expectations are clearly defined, employees in the
do it. Your success—and the success of your company— “middle 80” are given the tools to perform above
depend on developing and motivating the other their previous potential.
80%. You need a tool that helps you efficiently
engage the “middle 80”—helping them develop
their skills while improving team performance... Jean Corson
Coaching is that tool. CorsonWolff Consulting

Coaching Focuses on Developing, Not “Fixing” In this month’s Management Insights, Jean Corson discusses how to get
high performance from the “Middle 80%.” It’s tempting to give all of
Coaching is a fluid relationship that can be initiated your attention to the people at the top and the bottom of your team.
by either the person who sees an opportunity to Don’t do it! Use a tool that helps you efficiently engage the
help or by the person looking for help. It can be “middle 80”...coaching is that tool.

CALL 1-800-843-8733
OR VISIT www.learningtree.ca
Learning Tree
Edition 001

Management Insights
Expert Advice from Today’s Top Professionals
Getting High Performance from the “Middle 80%”

Implementing Coaching 7 Steps to Building a


Before effective coaching can take place, a
Coaching Development Plan must be established
Coaching Development Plan:
that you and the person you’re coaching co-create. 1st Set the tone. If you’re initiating the relationship, establish
The key term in the previous sentence is “co-create.” that coaching isn’t a sign that the other person is lacking in some
Rather than you writing a plan, both of you need critical skill or doing something wrong. In fact, coaching means
to jointly identify a set of goals and activities. that you see untapped potential in the other person and are
invested in that person’s success at work.
Co-creation ensures that both parties will be invest-
ed in the plan’s success (think about how dedicated 2nd Establish the goals. You and the other person must
you’ve been to anything that you’ve helped create). set the goals for the relationship. As the coach in the relationship,
Co-creation also moves you away from the boss/ you have two responsibilities in goal setting. One is to identify
employee relationship and towards the peer-to-peer the goals you would like to see the other person achieve. The
other responsibility is to solicit from the other person what goals
relationship of coaching.
they want to work toward. Without your active solicitation, you
may end up being the only person setting the goals, which
Your Own Coaching Needs moves you back to the boss/employee relationship.
You may need some coaching on the skills that
a coach requires. For example, one of the keys 3rd Set responsibilities. The two of you must then decide
how you can help each other develop. As a coach, you have
to successful coaching is the ability to foster self-
an additional responsibility beyond what you agree to in this
motivation. This requires a coach who understands part of the plan. You must also model the desired behaviours
the elements of motivation and de-motivation and you want to see—you must “walk your talk.” If you don’t model
their impact on behaviours. If this is an area where the behaviour you want to help develop, then your credibility
you lack skills then you may want to seek out a and your effectiveness as a coach are diminished.
coach for yourself.
4th Define the process. At a minimum, the two of you must
By moving to a coaching role for the “middle 80,” decide when, where and how often you’ll meet to check in with
you begin developing your next generation of each other. One caveat: coaching isn’t about friendship. You can
leaders, since individuals who have experienced the be friendly, but coaching is about improving performance at work.
benefits of coaching will look for opportunities to As part of deciding how you’ll work together, you must also
assist others in their growth. As successful coaching decide how you’ll address conflict (and there will be conflict).
collaborations grow and thrive, your work becomes 5th Acknowledge what you will get. You’ll probably learn a
more productive and less stressful—knowing that great deal from the coaching relationship. Make sure that you
all of your employees are being given the tools and acknowledge the benefits that you expect to get. For instance,
support they need to take the organization to the being able to conduct “difficult” conversations (conversations
next level. that include criticism) is an invaluable skill. If you intend to
develop that skill as part of this coaching relationship, point out
that you will be using this opportunity to practice in a safe
environment.
About the Author
Jean Corson of CorsonWolff Consulting is an organizational 6th Establish benchmarks. The plan must include clear “measures
behaviour consultant specializing in executive coaching, developing of progress” and a schedule of when those measures will be met.
emerging leaders and building high-powered teams by focusing Benchmarks provide both of you with markers to determine how
on workplace behaviour, communication and performance. She teaches well things are going. However, be aware that not reaching the
Learning Tree’s Course 224, “Coaching Employees to Their Potential,” benchmarks isn’t a sign of failure—it just means that a timetable
Course 904, “Responding to Conflict,” Course 294, “Influence Skills,” adjustment or course correction may be needed.
and Course 292, “Communication Skills.”
7th Review the relationship. When looking at a course
jcorsonwolff@comcast.net correction or the achievement of a major benchmark, take the
time to assess if the coaching relationship should continue. If
you decide to discontinue the formal coaching relationship, be
sure to debrief both the work you did together and how the
coaching experience played out for each of you.

CALL 1-800-843-8733
OR VISIT www.learningtree.ca
0812CA Mgmt Insights_Edition 001