Coaching processes are a great way to help build skill among those colleagues with direct reports. Yet often times I see the programs either not taking hold in a bank or simply not being used. This begs the question why? Why are some of your best people not following the program you have spent so much time, money and energy on crafting for them. The answer lies in how your bank responds to these questions.
Do you have a formal coaching process?
Does that process account for how to respond when someone executes to the desired level?
Wait, wait, wait! Before you respond of course it does, we recognize our people all the time for the great job they do! Carefully read and consider the question. Does the formal coaching process you have laid out for your managers have a built in process for when someone executes at the desired level?
The answer is almost always no. Almost without fail the coaching process you have in place focuses primarily on how to give feedback in a constructive way, explaining to the colleague what he did wrong or could do better. This process is on laminates, flashcards, in binders, on posters, we practice, role-played, coach and managed to it. But what if the colleague does the activity great….then what??
Here is the breakdown. Here is why your coaching strategy is not taking hold. Here is why even though you claim it’s coaching not criticism people still feel like its criticism. If your coaches do not feel empowered to scream “that was great” high five a colleague and say “do that 20 more times today just like that”…. Your coaching program has a massive hole in it.
The typical coaching program used in banking is as follows. Manager tells employee what we are going to talk about, asks employee for thoughts, manager says something positive, then immediately tells her what she could do different or better. Then we discuss or practice, agree and move on.
In this culture even excellence is met with managers feeling it is mandatory to point out something that was wrong! This is not how it works in the rest of the world. This is not how top tier sports teams coach! Walk around a professional sports team and you will hear coaches saying things like “yes!” “Perfect” “that’s exactly how I want you to do it” “do it like that and you can’t be stopped.” These phrases are said as equally as the instruction, nit picking, and teaching phrases.
Think about how ridiculous it would sound to have the head coach of an NFL team after a play is run to perfection and results in a touchdown say “Nice job guys, exactly how we drew it up, but next time we could probably do it a little quicker”….. You can’t, because it would be ridiculous!!!
All great coaching programs (and there are many) include a response for when a colleague meets the standard set for them. This is the most critical part of the process. If you never acknowledge someone flawlessly executing, he will stop trying to execute flawlessly. It’s truly that simple.
If you are reading this and it sounds like your bank the good news is this is an easy fix. Draft out a specific way you want your managers to acknowledge great execution. Include on the spot acknowledgement, instruction to do it again just like that, and next level recognition to another superior. Implement this into your existing coaching process and engagement at all levels around coaching and being coached will grow exponentially.
Oh and one more thing, if you are reading this and you lack the power to change the coaching process for the entire company, that’s fine. Just don’t let that be an excuse why you don’t write out your own great execution acknowledgement processes and put it into practice with your team starting tomorrow!