The purpose of coaching is to initiate change through discussion so, as ‘managers who coach’, we could be forgiven for taking the change process itself for granted. But in doing so are we missing a powerful catalyst?
Your coaching development program would have provided you with useful models on learning cycles, adult change, and roadmaps to guide the course of events during a session. But there is one, less cerebral element essential to behavioural change, and that is a staff member’s motivation and drive to follow through. Is it possible to get people more revved up?
Yes, absolutely. All we have to do is focus on providing the individual with the opportunity to engage their passion and desire.
The degree to which an employee will implement and maintain a shift in behaviour will be dependent upon the degree to which they recognise and appreciate its value to their future professional success. Their desire must outweigh their sense of how much it will ‘cost’ them. HR can assist them in seeing the positive advantages of behavioural change in three ways:
1. Create a safe space
Employees enter a coaching meeting with ‘protective walls’ to guard against potential exposure of poor performance or embarrassment, so an important component of our role is to work to build a relationship of trust. If people feel judged they tend to hold strongly to their current behaviour and way of thinking, and the cost of change will seem too much to bear.
2. Generate a ‘buy-in’ environment
A staff member’s impetus to take on the ‘effort of change’ is internal, and occurs through conscious analysis and emotion-based thinking. To understand the move from internal processes to action it’s helpful to refer to a classic marketing technique.
Here’s how you could use the timeless ‘AIDA Model’ to approach a performance coaching session:
Help them identify a need for change (generates consciousness of where they’re not competent).
Explore new options as potential solutions to that change goal (generates curiosity and intrigue).
Hold a visionary discussion around the personal/professional value and gain derived in implementing a chosen solution (generates motivation to attain benefits).
Stimulate their commitment to act and nail down a specific plan (generates strategic clarity, excitement and enhanced dedication to execution).
3. Facilitate spontaneous enthusiasm
Not all of us are natural cheerleaders, but stretching our comfort zones in this space is worth it. The expression of authentic enthusiasm is powerful and contagious. It adds positive emotion to an employee’s effort to overcome their more negative, ineffective work habits. Confirming the value and importance of their attempt can drive them to reach even greater heights, and embrace uncertainty as a doorway to opportunity.
Muffy Churches is an Executive Coach, Keynote Speaker, Leadership Specialist and Counsellor. She is the author of Coach Yourself, A 7-Step Guide to Personal Fulfilment.