In principle, we don’t want to give up coaching employees. We want to believe that we can eventually make a difference. Sometimes it’s our own ego that drives our persistence and determination.
In reality, if we have followed coaching process, we have honored our stewardship as a coach. This is especially true if we have followed process for a significant period of time. However, coaches often make mistake of staking their pride and confidence as a coach on one or two challenging situations. This can be dangerous! It would be nice to believe that we have that much control over another human being. However, everyone has right to choose their own destiny. We can’t force change; we can’t even motivate someone else. But, we can clarify, explain, explore, highlight, recommend, and encourage. When coaching employees, we have to decide when to “back off,” and let situation either improve or deteriorate.
For years, CMOE has advised coaches to follow-up and be persistent a little longer than expected. Coaching employees takes patience – a lot of patience! But, don’t be unreasonable. If topic permits, allow some time for right decisions and actions to kick in. When dealing with policy, ethics, values, safety, or legal issues, explain timeline to coachee. We are not suggesting an ultimatum. Just explain time sensitivity and create a time boundary.
Check in frequently with coachee to see how they are doing, and remind them of timeframe. If there is insufficient responsiveness or progress, this may indicate a lack of judgment, character, integrity, or indifference. When these signals arise, do a quick reality check:
- Have you diagnosed situation?
- Have you tried all of coaching skills?
- Have you involved others in an appropriate way?