we develop the capability in you™                                                                                         ...
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effectively and efficiently. The question is why wouldn’t a manager want to invest time in people? ...
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Let your employees know your expectations for a one-on-one meeting. When planning the meeting,let t...
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ASK is a useful acronym for remembering the key elements of the one-on-one process.    A – Ask ques...
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                                                                 Good Boss Application | 6What did ...
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About the authors…
                          Rick Conlow                          A quick glance at...
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                      Quality Item Pool, about organizational survey items that measure Baldrige   ...
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Coaching For Excellence

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Coaching For Excellence

  1. 1. we develop the capability in you™ 6 Effective leaders engage with their employees. Leadership is a high contact sport.Coaching for ExcellenceBY RICK CONLOW AND DOUG WATSABAUGH Pete was a successful manager for 20 years and had won numerous awards for sales excellence. His department always led the company and competitors alike. His staff admired and liked him and they knew he had high expectations. He had a waiting list of people who wanted to work for him. He called us (Rick and Doug) one day and said, “Business is down, my people are unmotivated, and I have all these reports to do and meetings to attend. I don’t have time to spend with my people.” I responded by saying, “Then you don’t have time to be a manager anymore, do you?” When he met with us, we discussed his challenges and created a plan of action. He conducted a sales meeting soon thereafter, and we were invited as guest speakers. Before the meeting began, he rearranged the meeting room into a new configuration. At the start of the meeting he explained the situation to his sales team, and identified specifics that demonstrated his belief that everyone was “down in the dumps.” He proceeded to take ownership for his own actions and attitudes that may have contributed to the situation. He reminded his team of their achievements, and said, “Today is a new day.” Pete then divided the group into teams to brainstorm ideas to keep the team and company moving forward. They shared their ideas and made a plan that reflected their priorities – a plan that was agreed upon by all. We gave a motivational talk and Pete closed the meeting with a promise to meet with each person individually in the next several days. The group left the meeting upbeat, positive, and full of energy. Pete followed through on his commitments and business improved immediately.Effective leaders engage with their employees. Leadership is a high contact sport. Many CEOs todaydon’t talk to their customers or employees. The late Sam Walton of Walmart was asked why he spentone day a week in his office and the rest of the time in his stores with employees. Mr. Walton repliedthat he knew that was too much time in the office, but he wasn’t too old to learn to be a bettermanager. If you aren’t meeting with employees regularly, in groups or one on one, you are missing akey opportunity to influence them to be more successful.As we begin this discussion about formal coaching, consider the biggest obstacle managers face:time! It’s legitimate. Everyone is busy and has many things to do. A business has three key resourceswith which to service its customers.  Capital resources – the financial/money end of the business.  Material resources – the products and services a business offers.  Human resources – the people and the potential intellectual and personal power they represent.The human resources – people – are the most important element of any business. People put thecapital and material part of the business to work and make the creative decisions on how to do so
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effectively and efficiently. The question is why wouldn’t a manager want to invest time in people? Thesad reality is that too many Bad Bosses get caught up in their inflated self-importance to want tomingle or interact with employees. One business we worked with highlighted this dilemma. After talking to employees and spending time in their work areas, they asked us to get their manager to “listen to us and see what we are trying to do.” They said he spent all day sending out inflammatory e-mails and creating reports on minutia. They wanted him to open his office door, get out from behind his desk and communicate with them.Formal coaching in a one-on-one meeting is an effective way for managers to communicate withemployees on a regular basis. A one on one should be done privately, and can take as little as five toas much as 60 minutes, depending on employee needs. As one on ones become more frequent, theytypically take less time.One-on-one meetings benefit the company and its leaders for a variety of reasons. • Promote effective communication. • Aid daily performance management. The Impact of Daily • Provide opportunity for training/coaching. Performance Management through Coaching • Create an employee-boss partnership. A study that compared • Create an atmosphere for continuous improvement. training alone to daily • Focus on development for the future. performance management • Help businesses and employees reach and exceed their goals. through coaching andEmployees receive added benefits from one-on-one meetings as well. training found that training alone increased • Provide an opportunity for more and better communication. productivity by 22.4%, • Provide opportunity for more frequent and immediate recognition. and training plus coaching • Reduce job anxiety and creates better feeling about the job. increased productivity by • Head off problems. 88%. • Help employees position themselves for promotions. Public Personnel Management, Winter 97, • Contribute to better working relationships. Vol.26 Issue 4, P 461. • Improve personal performance. 
Communication alone makes this a worthwhile process. Good Bosses are effective communicatorsand they engage their employees through one-on-one interaction. A one-on-one meeting is a focusedformal coaching process.How often should a manager do one on ones? This question stirs up controversy especially asbusinesses have moved toward self- directed teams and employee empowerment. Experiencesuggests that the greater the customer interaction an employee has, the more frequently you need tohave one on ones. Some businesses do them daily because their employees are talking to 50 to 200customers a day. This kind of activity creates a sense of urgency, priority, and complexity that one onones can address so customers are consistently served well. In this type of environment, one-on-onesare shorter in length. Other companies do one on ones weekly or monthly because the employeeshave less customer contact. The one on ones are longer in these situations – 30 to 60 minutes. Youwill have to gauge your needs based on your particular situation.You can expect positive results from an investment in one-on-one coaching. • Meet or exceed employee goals. • Greater employee input and innovation. • Higher employee satisfaction. • Higher quality products. • Increased customer satisfaction. • Better sales, profit, and expense control.© 2010 WCW PARTNERS www.wcwpartners.com | 2
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Let your employees know your expectations for a one-on-one meeting. When planning the meeting,let them know they should be prepared to do the following. • Discuss goals/activity/results. • Discuss future action plans. • Provide solutions to each problem or challenge. • Stay positive and be respectful.One on ones are successful if managers follow through on their commitments and create time in theirschedules to be available to employees. This requires organization as well as contingency plans whenthings don’t go as expected. Managers need to take and keep good notes from employee one on ones,and stay abreast of the metrics and goals for each employee and department. When plans change or ameeting has to be canceled, immediate follow-up is important; if necessary, another manager can beasked to check in with the employees.Although it is less personal, one on ones can be done by phone if you are separated by distance. Inmany of our consulting partnerships we work with managers primarily by phone. We conductmeetings in person two or three times per year, but use phone coaching between times. During a regional training session for a large retailer, we asked the 30 district managers to call their store managers and coach them on their customer service plans. We gave the managers talking points for these calls and then sent them off; together, they called nearly 300 stores in about 60 minutes. Following their calls, we debriefed these managers and discovered an amazing phenomenon: The store managers most often asked, “What’s wrong?” when they learned that their district manager was calling. Sadly, the district managers knew the reason for this response. They typically didn’t call their store managers unless there was a problem. As the district managers proceeded with their positive interactions, they were gratified to hear how the store managers appreciated the calls and support received during the conversations. As a result of this exercise, the district managers continued the positive interactions with their managers throughout the next quarter, and customer service ratings soared to record levels. In addition, relationships began to improve with the stores.A one-on-one is essentially conducted in the same manner on the phone as in person. A manager isresponsible for the following. • Be available. Make one-on-one communication with an employee a priority. Only emergencies or vacations should infringe on those meetings. Set a schedule and keep it. • If you can’t be at the meeting, have a contingency plan in place. • Make sure the meeting is free from disruptions or distractions (close the office door, don’t take incoming calls). • Have your notes available to review daily performance and commitments made during previous meetings. • Insure that the meeting is a positive, partnering experience. The employee should feel that the meeting is a benefit, not a waste of time, or an audit or evaluation.The way in which you conduct the one-on-one is crucial. Your goal is to build up, not beat up, theemployee! Good Bosses do the former and Bad Bosses the latter. Make it your goal to be helpful, todevelop your employees, and not to be hurtful and immobilizing.Remember the High Performance Formula discussed earlier. People need coaching, not destructivecritics. Good Bosses coach others well and instill a desire to excel. Bad Bosses are generally toocritical and create resentment and defensiveness in others; they don’t even try to be good coaches.© 2010 WCW PARTNERS www.wcwpartners.com | 3
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ASK is a useful acronym for remembering the key elements of the one-on-one process. A – Ask questions. In a one-on-one you want a dialogue, not a monologue where you do all the talking. S – Seek solutions. Engage employees in discussion about progress on their goals, developmental areas, or problems. Get their opinions and ideas first, then add your own comments. K – Keep plans and commitments. Take notes to document your discussion. Ask employees to do the same so you can review progress at future meetings, and track mutually agreed upon plans of action.The following outline includes the steps and talking points for conducting a one-on-one meeting.Step 1 – Pre-meeting preparation (action plans, numbers, goals, etc.)Step 2 – Greeting (be positive, do some small talk, ensure privacy.)Step 3 – Ask employees to reconfirm their goals and to share their results and progress on theirplans. Praise progress, recognize good performance, and identify areas to improve. • How did your day/week/month go? • What progress did you make on your goals and action plans? • What went well? • What didn’t go well?Step 4 – Ask the employee to tell you how and why they made their decisions. • What was your thinking process? • What did you do next? • What more could you have done? • What can they do differently or better next time? • How can you help more in the future?Step 5 – Seek solutions and build a new plan on how to improve the results. • What ideas do you have for improvement next time? • What do you think of this idea . . .? • Did you try . . .? • Are you open to some suggestions? • The benefit of this is . . . • Have you thought about trying . . .? • This is what I recommend…Step 6 – Keep plans and commitments. • Make sure to review all key action steps from the last meeting. • Set new goals and action steps.Step 7 – Summarize your discussion and the action plan.Step 8 – Schedule another meeting and show your appreciation for their efforts.A one-on-one is specifically about effective communication. You talk about goals, expectations,problems, and solutions to those problems. You give employees positive feedback about their effortswhile identifying performance issues clearly and directly. You develop employee skills and attitudesabout getting the job done well and achieving the best results.In one on ones you train employees to think proactively when faced with challenges, obstacles, andproblems. Over the course of time, the process teaches them problem-solving skills they canimplement on their own. They become innovative and learn to take initiative to go the extra mile.The one-on-one process helps everyone explore ways to creatively improve performance, not merelyget the job done.© 2010 WCW PARTNERS www.wcwpartners.com | 4
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 Good Boss Application | 6What did you learn from this section on coaching through one on ones?What are your strengths in coaching?In what areas can you improve?How will you implement one-on-one meetings with your employees? 
 
 
 
Discover your potential at www.wcwpartners.comwhere you’ll find the complete Leadership SuperSTAR training series andGood Boss/Bad Boss articles to help you become a more effective leader!Toll free: 1-888-313-0514 
© 2010 WCW PARTNERS www.wcwpartners.com | 5
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About the authors…
 Rick Conlow A quick glance at his professional resume leaves you with the strong impression that effort and optimism are a winning combination. Case in point: With Rick by their side, clients have achieved double- and triple-digit improvement in their sales performance, quality, customer loyalty and service results over the past 20-plus years and earned more than 30 quality and service awards. In a day and age where optimism and going the extra mile can sound trite, Rick has made them a differentiator. His clients include organizations that are leaders in their industries, as well as others 
 that are less recognizable. Regardless, their goals are his goals. Rick’s life view and extensive background in sales and leadership – as a general manager, vice president, training director, program director, national sales trainer and consultant – are the foundation of his coaching, training and consulting services. Participants in Rick’s experiential, “live action” programs walk away with ah-has, inspiration and skills they can immediately put to use. These programs include “BEST Selling!”; “Moments of Magic!”; “Excellence in Management!”; “SuperSTAR Service and Selling!”; “The Greatest Secrets of all Time!”; and “Good Boss/Bad Boss – Which One Are You?” Rick has also authored Excellence in Management, Excellence in Supervision, Returning to Learning and Moments of Magic. When he’s not engaging an audience or engrossed in a coaching discussion, this proud husband and father is most likely astride a weight bench or motorcycle, taking on the back roads and highways of Minnesota. Doug Watsabaugh Doug values being a “regular person,” with his feet on the ground and head in the realities of the daily challenges his clients face. It’s his heart for and experience in helping clients deal with difficult situations that distinguish him from other sales performance and leadership development consultants. His knowledge of experiential learning and his skill at designing change processes and learning events have enabled him to measurably improve the lives of thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations in a wide 
 variety of industries – financial services, manufacturing, medical devices, consumer goods and technology to name a few. Before starting his own business, Doug served as the director of operations for a national training institute, manager of organization development for a major chemical company and was responsible for worldwide training and organization development for the world’s third largest toy company. He was also a partner in Performance & Human Development LLC, a California company that published high-involvement experiential activities, surveys and instruments, interactive training modules, papers and multimedia presentations. Doug has co-authored two books with John E. Jones, Ph.D., and William L. Bearley, Ed. D.: The New Fieldbook for Trainers published by HRD Press and Lakewood Publishing, and The OUS© 2010 WCW PARTNERS www.wcwpartners.com | 6
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 Quality Item Pool, about organizational survey items that measure Baldrige criteria. He is a member of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), the Minnesota Quality Council and The National Organization Development Network. Doug’s father taught him the value of hard work, and it paid dividends: He funded his college education playing guitar and singing with a rock ‘n’ roll band, experiencing a close call with fame when he played bass in concert with Chuck Berry. Not bad for a guy who admits to being “a bit shy.” While Doug’s guitar remains a source of enjoyment, it pales in comparison to his “number one joy and priority” – his family. WCW Partners WCW Partners is a performance improvement company, with more than 20 years of experience helping companies, governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations worldwide revitalize their results and achieve record-breaking performance. We are experts in sales performance, organization development, leadership development, marketing and communications – and we don’t mind telling you that we’re different than most consulting firms you’ll find in the marketplace. For one thing, it’s our approach – when you hire us, you get us. But just as important, we’re people who’ve had to wrestle with the same issues you have – how to strengthen sales, boost productivity, improve quality, increase employee satisfaction, build a team, or retain and attract new customers. To us, “We develop the capability in you” is more than a catchy phrase. It’s our promise. Our clients include 3M, American Express, American Medical Systems, Amgen Inc., Accenture, AmeriPride Services, Andersen Windows, Avanade, Beltone, Canadian Linen and Uniform Service, Carew International, Case Corporation, Citigroup, Coca-Cola, Costco, Covance, Deknatel, Eaton Corporation, Electrochemicals Inc., Entergy, Esoterix, General Mills, GN Resound, Grant Thornton, Hasbro Inc., Honeywell, Interton, Kenner Products, Marketlink, Kemps-Marigold, Meijer Corporation, National Computer Systems, Parker Brothers, Toro, Productive Workplace Systems, Red Wing Shoes, Rite Aid, Rollerblade, Ryan Companies, Travelers Insurance, Thrivent, Tonka Corporation, and a number of nonprofit and educational institutions.© 2010 WCW PARTNERS www.wcwpartners.com | 7

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