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How To Make The Most Of On-The-Spot Coaching

The most important role of any manager is coaching. Yet, in this world of “instant everything” by way of the Internet, it seems on-the-spot coaching has gone by the wayside. Coaching never has to be done by Friday at 5, so for a lot of us, it somehow finds itself getting kicked to the next week and then the next week, and so on. Best case scenario, it is held for a one-on-one which could be as much as 1-2 weeks later and you have lost the opportunity to make the most of the moment. That is what we want to do as coaches — we want to make the most of the moment, right?

In my experience, the most important type of coaching with the highest return is on-the-spot coaching. Providing positive feedback and constructive feedback. Although both are valuable types of coaching, each must be handled completely different and in both scenarios, by doing it on-the-spot, you will make the most of the moment. And here’s why:

Praise publicly. Provide constructive coaching privately.

It is simple but often missed.

1. Praise publicly

Remember, recognized behavior gets repeated. Most of us work more for the psychological paycheck (praise, recognition) than we do for the actual paycheck. Catching people doing things right is a great opportunity to highlight their efforts in public. You get two benefits from this:

  1. When you share specifically what they did and why it was great publicly, not only does it provide an audience for the person being praised, it helps the whole team get better by learning what great looks like.

  2. Vicarious reinforcement: is our tendency as humans to emulate behaviors for which other people are being rewarded. If we see Mary being recognized, consciously or unconsciously, we say to ourselves—“ I want that,” and we try to adopt the same behavior in hopes of getting similar recognition.

2. Provide constructive coaching privately

When providing constructive coaching, never attack the individual; attack only the behavior. I know there is a school of thought that says to wait and gather your thoughts and plan out your constructive coaching for a later date and time. And I agree if it is an activity or performance problem that has been created over time. However, if it is a behavior issue, my position has always been to address it as soon as possible with on-the-spot coaching, “John, can I see you in my office for a minute. Please close the door behind you.” I will then use Butler Street’s DASH coaching model for handling difficult conversations:

DASH Coaching Model

Describe the observed behavior that needs to be corrected

"When this happens..."

"When you..."

Ask them to Acknowledge what you observed and how the behavior impacts the results/organization/team

"How do you think this impacts..."

"Do you see where this could..."

Specify the different and expected behavior

"What I expect/prefer..."

"What will/can you do differently to..."

Help them as appropriate to correct their behavior

"I have confidence.."

"What else do you need to..."

By handling this situation in private and immediately, I create a sense of urgency around correcting the behavior and let them know, and everyone in the office know, that this type of behavior will be addressed. And it will be addressed without embarrassing the employee in public causing resentment and distrust.

According to Harvard Business Review, top performing teams give each other five positive comments for every one criticism. We, as leaders, have to catch people doing things right and recognize them for it. Remember, recognized behavior gets repeated. Unrecognized behavior does not.

At Butler Street, our High-Impact Sales Management Training combines the key skills of leadership effectiveness with high-impact sales effectiveness. We can help your leaders coach to improved performance, provide effective feedback, and create a structured-repeatable management methodology that you can scale throughout your organization. Contact us to learn more.

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