With more employees working from home, leaders are needing to fine tune their virtual coaching skills. Every conversation leaders have has an impact. When you follow these 5 best practices, you make a positive impact and drive execution.
1. Prepare and Be Present
Being prepared for each coaching call and fully present is a must do. You may find yourself working from home with many distractions – so get centered before each call. Take a few deep breaths and get grounded physically. Think about the purpose of the call and visualize success. Use video functionality when working on Zoom/Google Hangouts/Slack /WebEx/ GoToMeeting – “You mean I have to get out of my jammies and brush my hair?” Yes, at least the jammie top. Show your commitment and caring to your team, by being fully present and focused right from the start of the call. One of the most important things you can provide your remote workers is consistency, so avoid being late or having to cancel your scheduled coaching calls. Be ready and be here now.
2. Connect First
When employees feel disconnected, they don’t share and they disengage so Connect First. At the start of the coaching call ask how they and their loved ones are doing. Make time to learn more about them and their environment. Show them your desk or surroundings if you are working from home. Introduce them to your dog and ask about the one you hear barking in the background. Connect by aligning to their goals and ask them “what do you want out of this call?” or “If our call was wildly successful, what might you be walking away with today?” Connecting first can improve the quality of the conversation and your relationship.
3. Listen Deeply
Listening is a key way to show your caring. Listen for their emotions and reflect back what you notice. Listen for the question behind the question. Listen for what’s not being said. Listen for strength of commitment. For example, if they hesitantly say “I may be able to do it by Friday” you can inquire into what barriers they may face and ask how they may overcome them. Avoid making judgments. Listen for opportunities to provide acknowledgement. Cultivate empathy. Ask “what else?” Be curious.
4. Show you care about their development
While in the office many employees learn through osmosis – overhearing conversations of others, asking questions, impromptu meetings, etc. Some may have had a mentor or buddy in the office. Providing coaching, sharing development ideas and asking your employees about their working from home sends a strong message that you care about their development. Making introductions and bringing people together virtually to support one another’s development goes a long way. Keep your coaching calls focused and a high priority.
5. Continuous Learning
At the end of your meeting, after working through your coaching process, whether that be the GROW or another one, you can role model continuous learning. Ask your team member and share your own responses to these simple questions:
- What is working?
- Where are we getting stuck?
- What do we need to do differently?
Review the responses in preparation for your next meeting with this team member and check again check for improvement.
Five Best Practices
Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” Follow these 5 best practices and your team members will remember your positive impact as a leader.