I wouldn’t hold sport up as a model of excellence to help businesses improve their performance through coaching. Much of what happens in sports coaching at participation level is telling kids what to do. This is not coaching. At elite level it’s more about managing a team of experts around an athlete and a (sometimes) significant ego!!!
However, what would never happen in sport is getting to the end of a week of training and being at the same level you started. I see this all the time in some of the businesses I work with. “I’m too busy to develop my skills, I’ve got too much to do”. Over time people plateau and stop growing their skills. How can organisations change this mindset?
By focusing on the no.1 thing business can learn from sport and providing support to your people to work on their skills regularly in a process of ‘everyday’ coaching. Rather than build the help you give to improve performance into one big lump that is difficult to manage, do it little and often.
Ask yourself this question – would you prefer a 1 hour meeting to support your development every month or 3 x 5 minutes interactions per week, every week for a month? Both approaches take the same amount of time but more frequent, focused interactions allow you to discuss feedback and development challenges at a time when learning is most likely to be maximised.
We’ve seen great progress from a ‘little and often’ approach but find it’s seldom used in a business setting. Why? Mostly because people haven’t prioritised this approach or feel they don’t have the skills to do it. In short they need to practice until it becomes a habit so here’s something you can try to get you started…
At the next meeting you attend look for someone who you feel faced a challenging situation. After the meeting use questions to help them be better next time;
“I want to ask you about … how did you feel that went?”
“OK, that does make sense but how would you do that better next time?”
“When will you get a chance to try that?”
“Fantastic, I’ll come and find you tomorrow to see how it went”
It will take you 2 minutes and don’t forgot to follow up. Little and often is the key to effective coaching and if you want this to become a habit – keep practicing.
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