By Tonika Bruce, CEO of Lead Nicely, who helps startups, nonprofits, and leaders WIN with unique & innovative marketing and business strategies!
Employee coaching at its most basic is simply to delegate thinking, which empowers the team to improve their performance.
Google is known for having some of the most agile employees and for its award-winning workplace culture. Offering unrivaled employee perks and amenities such as massages, dry cleaning, nap pods, game rooms and a pet-friendly environment within its majestic Silicon valley campus—this is no surprise.
Even more interesting is that when hiring, skills often aren’t the most critical factor in the selection process.
The true success of Google’s high-value teams lies in a robust people operations department where HR meets science. Unlike regular human resource departments, Google’s people operations department explores and applies science-backed strategies to build high-performing teams. It has an entire department dedicated to employee development and happiness.
Of course, not every entrepreneur runs a multi-billion dollar company or can provide chef-catered meals and nap pods for their teams. Luckily, they can focus on people development through employee coaching.
Here is how to incorporate coaching into team operations to level them up.
Create High-Value Teams
Organizations achieve peak performance when they have a team that works collaboratively.
Real production, innovation and experience occur within teams. In its quest to find what makes teams effective, Google realized that creating high-value teams was about dynamics that enable people to work well together and not necessarily about who was on the team.
In simple terms, nurturing the individual potential of members to find free expression in team settings.
Teams underperform not for a lack of talent but because of a lack of psychological safety and support from members. These two aspects point to how authentic people can be in the group and how much they are willing to help each other on this team.
Coaching allows employees to thrive in their roles and make meaningful contributions in group settings. The hallmark of employee coaching is identifying team dynamics and guiding teams on how to leverage those dynamics for success.
Below are important questions that coaching can help entrepreneurs answer:
• What is the team’s purpose?
• How comfortable is each employee in expressing their thoughts and ideas?
• What can the team count on each member for?
• What reputation should the team build?
• What different approach should the team take to achieve this reputation?
Choose Skill, But Put Emphasis On Attitude
Simon Sinek once said, “You don’t hire for skill; you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.”
While it is vital to match skills with the existing company culture and position, a candidate’s attitude is a game changer for team success. Remember, a high-value team does not work well because of great talent, but because of dependability. Dependability is about character and cannot be taught, but technical skills can be.
Bring Coaching To Your Company
Entrepreneurs who want to see progressive results and value from their workforce should invest in their growth. The desire to upskill among employees is there, with 57% of U.S. employees (download required) expressing interest. Sixty-seven percent of these want these opportunities within their employment framework.
A previous study by the International Coaching Federation outlines findings on the positive outcomes (download required) that companies implementing solid coaching strategies enjoy:
• 80% had a self-confidence boost
• 73% had better work relationships
• 70% saw improvement in overall performance
• 51% saw improvement in team effectiveness
• 67% achieved work-life balance
The fact is, employee coaching doesn’t have to be costly for entrepreneurs; it can be as simple as adopting the coaching style of leadership. Here are three workplace employee coaching options to look into:
Senior-junior coaching in the workplace is a process whereby a more experienced employee assists and guides a junior employee on the job.
This can involve mentoring on appropriate work habits and skills and providing advice and support when navigating challenges. In teams with excellent dynamics, senior-junior coaching may occur naturally where intergenerational diversity is present.
It is cost-free coaching and one of the reasons for companies to connect employees with mentors.
Team members who support each other form a high-value team. Based on the project Aristotle, by Google, this was the second most crucial element. Entrepreneurs can build coaching programs for their businesses with coworkers coaching each other.
Peer coaching creates an opportunity for employees to learn from one another in a safe and supportive environment. This coaching style can help build trust and open communication among team members, leading to better collaboration and productivity. Additionally, peer coaching can help employees feel more engaged in their work, increase their job satisfaction and improve their overall well-being.
While it is easier and cost-effective to implement senior-junior coaching and peer-peer coaching, these options are not without limitations and bottlenecks.
One of those is confidentiality, which makes it hard for the team to be 100% open to being vulnerable about areas where they must improve. The invaluable aspect of external coaching for employees is the systematic and proven method of identifying team dynamics and where to focus improvement efforts.
External coaching is an integral tool for leadership and employee development in top modern-day businesses. This is quite a shift from the formative years when the likes of IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola hired external coaches to help work with troubled employees. Now, like Google, companies that employ professional coaches usually do so to uncover the best way to combine individual personalities and talent into teamwork for fast, efficient and higher output.
It is time to dispel the myth. While people often think of an entrepreneur as the overwhelmed person trying to hold a business together, businesses with high-value employees run themselves.
More entrepreneurs must start thinking about the team as a high-value asset. Coaching can help take them from good enough to great.