Leadership Coaching – “Easier Said Than Done” Written by Steven J. Stowell, Ph.D.
Recently at a Pharmaceutical meeting in Europe, one of presenters shared results of a recent study that demonstrated that Managers who were trained in Eight Step Coaching Skills were out selling DM’s who were not trained in program. This quantitative data seems to support that cornerstone of success lies in effective leadership coaching and diagnosing needs of Representatives. However, it is not simply a matter of being trained. Managers must overcome day to day hurdles to be an effective coach. It takes a knowledge of skills plus courage to open up sensitive and important topics with others. It takes time, a precious commodity in a DM’s week. It takes self-control over our emotions when someone doesn’t measure up on an important mission that we, as Managers care about. When we coach, we run a risk of opening up conflict, differences, and misunderstandings that can create discomfort. In short, “coaching is easier said than done.” But results will be worth it if we are consistent and rigorous at using coaching skills.
Some DM's often ask us: “Is it Coaching Skills or Coaching Steps?” Clearly heart of Eight Step Coaching Model is composed of skills. The primary focus on skills and behaviors differentiates Eight Step Coaching Model from other coaching training. For example, we call Step One, “Be Supportive,” and it depends on skillfully listening, giving recognition, and building collaboration. Likewise, Step Two, “Define Topic and Needs,” requires Manager to have good feedback skills, good questioning and inquiry skills, and ability to define and clarify expectations.
The word “steps” simply means that there is a building process in progress when you coach. The word “steps” implies that there is a conceptual sequence. It doesn’t mean that every time you speak with a Representative you have to force yourself through every step. Sometimes you have to coach quickly. An example may be coaching in between physician calls and you want to help Representative with their skills. In this example, you can coach “fast;” you can cut right to topic and plan. In other situations, you want to cover more steps or more skills in order to orchestrate a successful coaching experience. If you want to speak with a Representative about a larger topic, such as teamwork, goal attainment, or participation in meetings, you will definitely need to reserve more time and pull in more skills or steps. The key is flexibility. You need to know steps or skills thoroughly and then draw on steps that are appropriate for each situation. As you practice Eight Step Coaching Model and apply it often, you become more natural. The more you experience Model, you hardly realize that you are even following process.
Coaching Employees - The Chronic ExcuserWritten by CMOE Development Team
Most of us find coaching employees to be an effective, even enjoyable, approach to leadership and management. Coaching provides a way to help team members grow and develop, while achieving business objectives. But occasionally, we encounter a team member who has an excuse for every situation. How can we help team members like this accept responsibility and focus on solutions, rather than dwell on reasons why things aren’t accomplished? How can we ensure that we really gain commitment and consensus on plans, assignments, and projects?
Coaching Employees and Advice
First, it’s important to remember that excuses come in two flavors. The first, called Type I excuses, usually surface when raising performance issues with a team member.
- “It’s not my fault. It’s those guys in Operations. They don’t deliver my product on time, and customer gets upset with me.”
- “I wasn’t able to get that report in on time because my computer was down for two days. You should talk to I.S.—it’s their problem.”
As we try to help team member accept personal responsibility, we should never let an excuse go unaddressed. However, with a “chronic excuser,” it can feel like an endless cycle.
Some excuses, called Type 2 excuses, are legitimate. These excuses are an important signal. Left unaddressed, Type 2 excuses can result in team members feeling insecure, unsupported, and frustrated. Team members may have real concerns about plans you’ve created, or their ability to follow through on them.