Until I found out about this, I generally coached everyone same. Only in about one out of four cases it seemed to work. Thats because there are three other ways of coaching that I simply did not know about.
Ken Blanchard's Situational leadership II is all about leader (read coach) making a conscious decision on their behaviour to best encourage and support each specific staff member.
How logical does that sound? Its one of those statements that is so obvious, and yet I knew straight away its something I simply have never done.
Blanchard has identified four leadership styles to be associated with four levels of staff development. Ah! I hear you say "I treat different people differently, so I already do this. So there aren't three other ways." But there is a catch? staff development level is based on specific task. Ask yourself, do you treat same staff member differently when in relation to different tasks? This was key for me.
I am fine with treating people differently, but same person depending on task just does not feel right. I can recall in past being sometimes surprised at how someone who has normally managed to quite independently complete tasks, stumble their way through far easier ones. I was not considering person and task combined.
Development Levels Blanchard has defined four levels.
When we start, we know little and are probably not very good at our new job. As an enthusiastic beginner, we are however always keen, showing high commitment as a response to being given opportunity of a new position or level of responsibility.
After some time, commitment wanes as either job is different to expected or maybe harder and progress is slower. This is second level described as disillusioned learner.
As time and experience continue, competence builds, but often commitment lags behind. Still carrying disillusionment, staff member is not so sure about their ability.
Finally, staff member begins to believe in their own abilities and commitment returns to support high capability and they are then defined as aself-reliant achiever. FOR THAT TASK.
I have to keep reminding myself to assess individual on basis of work being done. The rules are based on Competence and Commitment. A good action now is to think of a task or goal recently delegated to a staff member. For that task, are they highly competent? - Can they do it easily? On other side, are they committed? Do they believe they can do it?
Now we know their development level for task or goal, how do we behave?
Leadership Styles Blanchard uses two scales: Directive and Supportive.