Hello, everyone. Welcome to Advanced Coaching Skills for Leaders. This is the fourth and final topic in the 2020 Deer Oaks Supervisor Excellence Advanced Communication Skills webinar series. Thank you for joining us again for this fourth and final topic. Earlier this year we provided advanced communication skills that improve employee motivation. We came back in the second quarter and provided a topic entitled Successful Approaches to Difficult Employee Conversations.
In the third quarter in August we presented Maintaining Effective Communication Channels and today of course Advanced Coaching Skills for Leaders. If you missed any of the previous programs, they are recorded and so please feel free to hit Reply to your GoToWebinar invitation for today and request the recording link for any of the earlier programs that you miss, we'd be happy to send those to you. Now, in terms of today's presentation, I want to make sure our technology is working for us. If you could please locate the raise hand icon in the GoToWebinar software, in the upper right hand corner of your screen. And if you can see my slides clearly and hear my voice clearly, could you please click on the raise hand icon now.
That's great folks. Looks like we're good to go technology wise. I also want to remind you that if you have any audio difficulty during the presentation, you do have two audio options through the GoToWebinar platform, and so many people automatically log on through their computer audio. If you're having any issue receiving the audio through your computer audio, you can click on the audio button in the GoToWebinar software in the upper right hand corner of your screen and click over to Telephone for your audio option. And you'll see when you click on that button, you'll get a call in number and a code, just feel free to call into that number and use the code and you'll be able to access the audio through the telephone option.
I want to let you know that you had that as well. Last but not least, I want to remind you all that during these educational programs provided by Deer Oaks EAP Services. Participants are in listen only mode, which means, of course, you won't be able to audibly ask questions during the content portion of the presentation. But your questions are important to us and so at the end of the content portion of the presentation, which should last probably around 30 to 35 minutes today give or take, we will have a question and answer session. At that point in time, please feel free to type any questions you have into the question box in the GoToWebinar software, in the upper right hand corner of your screen and we'll get to as many questions as time allows this afternoon.
So, I'm looking forward to that Q&A session here coming up shortly. Let's go ahead and get started. Obviously when leaders have good coaching skills there are a lot of benefits, I encapsulated some of the more recent research regarding the benefits of becoming a good coach or having good coaching skills as part of your leadership repertoire. And these are statistics that are combined from both the Human Capital Institute and the International Coaching Federation.
And what the research says is that, when a leader has good coaching skills and they bring new people on, those new individuals, those new employees end up experiencing a 67% faster onboarding. Because again coaching as we'll talk a lot about today is a collaborative process that involves the new employees and when new employees get to be more hands on and more involved from the beginning in their own training, they're going to get up to speed faster. In addition, when a leader has good coaching skills employees tend to be a lot more engaged.
Because again, as we'll talk a lot about in detail today, coaching is a collaborative process that typically makes employees feel very respected and pulls them in to be part of the process, and when that happens employees tend to be a lot more engaged. In addition, 81% improved team functioning was found teams being led by individuals that have really good coaching skills. In addition, in terms of leadership development again because of the collaborative nature of coaching individuals become more hands on when they're working with a supervisor or a leader who's using a coaching approach when they communicate or when they interact.
And so, it really does help people be more hands on and individual employees, it helps them increase their skills and then helps them become better leaders faster. And last but not least, which is the bottom line for all leaders, we need to have our work teams and our employees be as productive as possible. When we utilize good coaching skills as leaders, employees see as much as a 79% increase in productivity.
All right, so obviously there's a lot of benefit to becoming a better coach. And so I want to talk about some of the basics about that today and then I'm going to get into some of the advanced skills that where we can take our coaching skills to an even higher level. And so first, let me just summarize some things that just to sort of level set our conversation for today.
So, coaching again, creates a collaborative environment that actually is more motivating for employees. What I mean by that is rather than a leader being directive, and a lot of leaders still today, there's been quite a bit of research done about this. Last study I saw was that 54% of supervisor employee conversations are still what they call highly directive instead of being more collaborative. And when a leader or when a supervisor is talking at an employee, employees can feel like they're being micromanaged, they can feel like they're being bossed around, they can feel like the leader might be talking to them in a condescending way.
But when a leader uses coaching skills and has a collaborative conversation with an employee, it's more of we than an I, the employee typically will feel like they're a partner, that the leader is interested in their ideas. The leader wants their input and when that happens, employees again will feel more a part of the process and they'll tend to be more motivated. And of course in a collaborative coaching environment, employees when they have input into how the work is going to be done, how the problems are going to be solved, how performance is going to be improved, they're going to take more ownership and be more engaged in the process.
And last but not least, as most of you know, coaching is not confrontational, and so sometimes leaders will, supervisors, managers will avoid difficult conversations with employees, because they can be stressful and employees sometimes can push back and/or be defensive. When you use a coaching approach because it's more of a dialogue, more of a respectful conversation with an employee. It's not confrontational, those conversations are a lot easier to have, and so leaders will typically be less hesitant to have those conversations, and employees will be more open to being a part of the process.
All right, so let's talk about the whole aspect of creating a respectful culture. The Society for Human Resources Management, I love this research happened in 2011 but it's still very relevant today. It was basically worldwide research about non-financial motivators for employees in the United States and abroad there were two different categories. And so, I'll focus just on the US part of the research it for our conversation today.
But basically what the HR Professional Association found was the number one non-financial motivator for employees in the United States is to be treated with respect, or to be treated respectfully when they're at work. And so, let's think about that, if their supervisor, if an employee goes to work and their supervisor, let's take the former first being highly directive. If their supervisor is highly directive is constantly telling them what to do and how to do it, is always the one making suggestions, always telling people how to correct situations, how to fix problems.
When they're really hands on, an employee can feel like they're being micromanaged or at the very least they may feel like they're not being treated respectfully. And it doesn't give the employee, if an employee is not invited to have input into those conversations they may not take ownership, they may not feel like they're a part of it. And that can hurt performance, that can hurt motivation, where respect drives motivation and engagement.
So, when a supervisor or manager consistently has to a collaborative conversations with employees, where they're regularly showing an interest in the employees ideas, regularly soliciting their input into how things are going to be done, or how to solve problems, or even how to correct performance. When an employee feels like the supervisor is treating them as a partner, and is really interested in their input and their ideas, that employees typically going to feel a lot more respected and valued which leads to higher levels of motivation, engagement, and better performance.
I mean, that's a real key. I think most of you have probably worked for since there's still a lot of people that are highly directive in their communication approach in management positions around the country. Probably most of you at one time or another have worked for a boss that was pretty directive or even maybe a micromanager. And you can probably remember that wasn't a motivating environment to work in, where you were you're always being told what to do and how to do it and the supervisor is always calling the shots, always making the suggestions.
I mean employees want to be respected for their input, they want to feel valued. And it's interesting, some of the more recent research about employee retention shows that if an employee feels respected and valued they're much less likely to look for a job somewhere else. And so again, if you can have a respectful culture where you're regularly having good collaborative to a conversations with your employees. And showing an interest in their ideas, and their thinking, and soliciting their input and how the work is getting done, or how to deal with difficult situations. You're going to find the employees, typically again will feel much more respected and that'll lead to more motivation and engagement.
So, how do you create more of a coaching approach or a coaching habit? I read it, I got the slide from an interesting article, I read about creating a coaching culture or creating a coaching habit. And folks, I want to be honest with you, I had a hard time with this initially. I've been managing people now, I don't mind sharing, I've been in the workforce now for almost 40 years. And early in my supervisory career I was way too directive, I was way too much of a micromanager, I really was and I had to get better training and I had to learn this, and in some ways the hard way.
Some of my earlier teams I had some turnover and I had some morale issues, and I came to realize as I started to get better training over the years that some of it was my management approach, some of it was my communication style. I was very directive, I was consistently telling people what to do and how to do it. When I would assign work, I would sit down with an employee and I would really be very hands on and I'd say, "Here's what I need you to do and here's exactly how I need you to do it. Here's step one. Here's step two. Here's step three."
As most of you recognize that feels like micromanagement to employees, and so that was uncomfortable for people that were working for me a lot of times back then. And so, again I had to get better training and learn how to be more effective and learn how to be more of a collaborative leader. Nowadays, I try in a much more intentional way to be as collaborative as I can during conversations with employees, and those conversations go a lot better the better. The employees tend to take more ownership, they tend to they tend to be more motivated.
So, we want it we want to commit to utilizing a coaching approach as our primary communication strategy when we're talking to our employees. Which means if you're assigning work, when you're talking about the assignment you want to be asking the employee for some input into how the work's going to get done. That's what we hired them to do, that's their expertise, we need to trust them to be the folks that know how to get the work done.
Another example would be if there's a problem to be solved, rather than the supervisor taking the lead. Nowadays, I try to ask people for their ideas, "If you ever dealt with something like this before what do you think we should do to solve this?" And so again using more of a collaborative approach and asking people for more input along the way.
Even when I do our team meetings nowadays, where 20 years ago I was way too directive in team meetings. I'd have my agenda and it could have eight or nine or 10 things on it, and I did 80% to 90% of the talking in the meeting. And people would just sit and listen and I would be talking at them, thinking "Well, it's my team meeting. I'm the leader. I need to go through my agenda," and I came to realize again through some input and some better training, I came to realize that that's not effective.
That people just don't want to be sitting in a room and being talked at, people want to be engaged in the conversation, they want to have some input, naturally that feels much more respectful. So, nowadays in my team meetings, I'll go in with just a couple of agenda items and I'll try to facilitate a conversation with the team or a brainstorming session where everyone's encouraged to give their ideas. As a result, our team meetings go a lot better nowadays than the ones I led 20 years ago for sure. And we end up coming up with better solutions because everyone has the chance to give input.
And so, the communication skill within those coaching habits that you want to create is just asking lots of question. So, and it took me a while to go from being directive, being directive as a habit of, I mean it's just a communication habit. It's basically, you get in the habit of whenever there's an issue in front of you when you're talking to someone else, you end up, because you're the leader you end up feeling like you have to call the shots. And when you're assigning what work you feel like since you know what you're expecting, you need to tell them exactly what they need to do and how to do it.
And again, I want us to recognize that's not a motivating approach, and I know we know that. So, for me to start to go from being highly directed to being more collaborative, I literally had to bite my tongue. First, I had to be intentional after I got the training and I thought, "I need to teach myself and discipline myself to stop directing people, stop making so many suggestions." Not that I can't do it from time to time, sure as a leader, you can still give input, of course, but I needed to at least be having two way conversations with people and show interest in their thoughts as well.
And so nowadays, when I start to make a suggestion or give a recommendation, I'll oftentimes catch myself and say, "What do you think?" And turn it into a question, or when I facilitate a conversation rather than saying, "Here's what I need to talk to you about and this is what you need to know," I'll say, "Well, here's the topic that I want to discuss, have you had experience with this before? What are your thoughts? What do you think we should do here?"
So, I'll just again try to facilitate a good two way conversation and show interest in the employees thinking or their ideas which it makes the employee feel more respected and more valued. And you can have those collaborative conversations formally and informally. So, coaching conversations obviously is not just for when you're having a formal meeting with an employee, or a Zoom call, or a Microsoft Teams call, or whatever virtual platform you've been using nowadays.
But it can be informal conversations as well, I just have gotten in, even in emails I've gotten in the habit of just saying, "What do you think?" Sending an email to someone to say, "Here's what's going on. What do you think?" is a way to informally even in writing ask people for input.
All right, let me next give you a little bit of an outline and then we're going to get some more specific examples. So, I'm going to talk about a little bit more of an advanced approach. And so as you get more comfortable having collaborative conversations with people, I want to further define a coaching conversation as a collaborative conversation that's focused.
So, what I mean by that is I want to have a collaborative conversation with someone to assign work, or I'm going to have a collaborative conversation with someone to correct up a performance that's falling short of expectation, those kinds of things. And so I want to give you a four step coaching approach and the reason I'm going to share this with you as an outline, this is not a script folks, but it's an outline.
So, if you happen to be visual like I am, I have a hard time sometimes walking through a process unless I can see it in my mind's eye and so this helps me. So, this four step coaching approach and I'm going to do it in a couple of different ways. Let me start first with assigning work, because that's the most straightforward example I can give. Step one would be, I would be introducing the assignment, OK, but I'm not going to make any suggestions.
As I'm introducing that I'm not going to make any suggestions yet as to how the work needs to be done, because the employee needs to be having input into that, that comes in step two. So, step one would be, I'm going in it with the mindset of, I'm a facilitator of a conversation, not a director of content. I'm facilitating a conversation, so I will introduce the what and the why. I'll introduce the scope of the work, why it needs to be done, why it's important.
And then I'll turn it over to the employee and say, "What do you think we got to do to get this done? What should the project plan be or what should the work plan be?" and then I'll listen. And when the employee starts to give their input, step three would be, if necessary build on their ideas. Because now certainly when you give employees input you're not always going to agree with their recommendations or you're not always going to agree with their ideas, and that's OK.
That's part of the give and take process of having a collaborative conversation. As you work together to come up with the best solution or best work plan, but I want to share you want to actively listen to the input and if necessary build on their ideas. So, let me talk about that, let me talk about building on ideas. This is a wonderful interpersonal skill, it's a great skill to keep conversations going respectfully.
And so, let's say you ask the employee, "Here's what I need you to do and here's why. What do you think we should do to get this done?" and the employee says, "ABC," just in a hypothetical here. And you're thinking to yourself, "A can probably work but B and C probably not. Our supervisor, our director, our department head, does not like that approach, he's already said that," or he or she has already said that.
And so, when you build on an idea, the skill of building starts with not just totally disapproving of the employees input or disagreeing with their input. You don't want to shoot the employee down, that can defeat the purpose. So, if you're, for example, if you are asking for their input and you don't like their input, so just say, "No, we can't do that. That's no way that's going to work. Here's what you should do," that defeats the purpose.
Again, now you're being directed, you're shooting down their idea and now you're going to go with your idea, so that's defaulting back to being directive. What we want to do when we ask for the employee's input is if we don't agree completely find something in the employee's idea that you can build on, that would be the goal in step 3.
So again, if they say ABC and you say, "A will work, B or C won't work. But what about A and D, could we do that?" And now you have a conversation together, you and the employee and you go back and forth and you try to figure out a compromise solution or try to come up with maybe a third option that might work in that situation that incorporates.
When you're building on an employee's idea, you always want to try to build on something either some idea they had or part of their recommendation, use part of it. But that keeps the employee feeling respected and bought in. So, remember we don't want to just categorically dismiss and say, "That won't work. I've tried that before."
And I've been in conversations where someone says, "What do you think?" and I give my opinion they say, "No, that won't work." That's deflating to people, that defeats the purpose of having a collaborative conversation. So, again you want to look for ways to figure out, to give employee input and to support or build on some part of what they're recommending or what they're suggesting.
And so again, step three would be if they say, "ABC, and you say, "I don't think B and C will work but A might work. What about A and D?" And then you go back and forth until you come to some sort of a consensus. And then step four, is just simply an agreement on what follow up needs to happen or what action needs to happen from that point forward.
So, for example, if it's assigning work you might say, "All right, well tell you what, this is a 30 day project, can we touch base maybe every Friday between now and the deadline just to stay on the same page about how you're progressing?" Would be an example of a follow up action that you can take to make sure a project is moving along the way it needs to.
So again, a four step coaching approach. It's really is to give some structure or to give you a guideline, again it's not a script but to give you a guideline. Where you're facilitating step one as a supervisor, you're facilitating the conversation and again you're leading the way. Step two, is you're getting input and suggestions and ideas and opinions from the employee.
Step three, is if you need to, if you don't completely agree with the employee's input or ideas then you build on at least a part of their ideas. And then step four, is you agree on whatever follow up step there needs to be. All right, so now I want to drill down a little bit further for other common coaching scenarios, and so we talked about assigning a task.
Let's talk about addressing performance issues. And so, let's say that an employee turned in a monthly report that was subpar, you're used to getting really comprehensive monthly reports from this one particular employee. And this one month they turn in one that's really subpar, it's really skimpy, and it doesn't have some of the supporting material that you know your department head is really looking for in the monthly reports.
So now, the directive way of handling that conversation, so I'm going to start with the wrong way to do it. The directive way of handling that conversation would be to call the employee in and tell them, "Your report is just not acceptable. I'm very surprised. And here's what I need you to do to fix it, I need you to take it back and do X, Y, and Z to fix this, and they need it back by tomorrow. Do you understand? Any question?" Now, that's a directive way to correct performance.
That can feel to an employee like they're having their hands slapped, that can be very demotivating to an employee, even though I didn't say it in a mean way, they can feel like their works being chastised. And so, that can feel uncomfortable and it also doesn't show the employee the respect of allowing them to correct their own mistake. So, let me now share the right way to do this, or at least from a coaching approach. Let's talk about the four step coaching approach with correcting performance.
So, let's say the employee turns in the subpar report, you call them in, and you say, "The reason I need to talk to you today is I was kind of surprised when I got your report this month because your reports are usually great." I think most of you probably know, when you start a coaching conversation try to start it as positively as you can, "Your reports are usually very comprehensive but for some reason this month, this one is just a lot less comprehensive. And it's missing the supporting materials, the charts and graphs you normally include that you know our department head really looks for, and I wondered why?"
And to give the employee a benefit of the doubt, let them explain and let's say the employee in this situation says, "Boss, I'm sorry but this particular month I was swamped. I had too much on my plate and I just didn't have enough time to be as comprehensive as usual. I'm sorry," and then you can go back and say to the employee, "I understand, I've had months like that too where I've got too much on my plate. But unfortunately, because this particular report goes directly to our senior director, it has to be as comprehensive as possible because they said that all the way to the top. And so, I do need to have take this back and work on it a little bit more. Let me ask you, if I give you a couple more days what could you do to bring this report back up to the level that you normally turn in?"
And to give the employee the opportunity to then tell you what they're going to do to bring the report backup up to the appropriate level. And so again that would be a way to use a coaching approach. And typically I think most of you know when someone makes a mistake and they need to correct it, or someone turns in some work that's not up to par and it needs to be redone, or it needs to be revised, or updated, or whatever.
If you allow the employee to come up with the suggestions as to how to correct the work or how to get it back up to where it needs to be, they'll typically be more motivated since it's their idea to follow through and do a good job with it. Whereas if we tell them how to fix it, I mean then they again could go away feeling a little demotivated like they're being told what to do. And the goal, remember, of collaboration is respect, we want to have the employees see that even if we don't like the quality of the work that's turned in.
We respect them as a person and want to give them an opportunity to come up with how they're going to correct it. Again, hopefully, so they go away from the performance management conversation feeling respected and motivated to then go back and correct the work and do it do it properly the next time. All right, so that's another example there.
Let me do one more example. Let's talk about solving a problem, this is pretty straightforward but most of you probably recognize. A lot of supervisors see themselves as the problem solver and so, but employees have a lot of good ideas. And it also gives employees great experience when we give them an opportunity to be involved in solving problems.
And so again, the more directive way to do this, so the wrong way to solve problems would be the employee comes to you or you go to the employee and say, "Here's the problem we're having right now with the situation, and I need you to do this, this, and this to fix it. Any questions?" And so you're being directive and you're again dictating or directing the solution.
Again, that can feel like micromanagement to an employee and not be very motivating. Using the four step coaching approach, again you bring them in and say, "Here's what's going on. Here's the problem we're confronted with. I thought you would be the perfect person to talk to about this because you've done a good job dealing with these kinds of issues in the past, you have a lot of good experience here. And here's what our leadership is looking for with this, that they're looking for this kind of a fix. Now, what do you think we should do to get this done? How do you think we should correct this? What do you think the steps should be?
And again give the employee an opportunity to come up with some ideas, and let's say the employee doesn't have any ideas. So, I want to talk about one more advanced coaching skill where we're doing more questioning. And so, let's say the employee says, "I don't know, you tell me, you're the boss," and we'll get that sometimes. Sometimes people they're not interested in thinking through it, sometimes they're going to be more passive and not be motivated to be part of the solution.
But I'd stay patient with the employee and say, "The reason I'm asking for your input is because I respect your background, you've got a lot of great experience and you know what, honestly, I don't have all the answers. So if you don't mind can we just brainstorm a little bit here? I would really like to see if we can maybe together, put our heads together and come up with some potential solutions."
And so, I stay in there and Ask, let them know that I don't know at all, and ask him more questions. And try to get some input from them, try to get them a little bit more engaged. And even if they won't get engaged at all, let's say they're really passive and they're like, "I don't know," and you've tried two or three times t to get them give you some input and they're not really buying in.
You can even ask a prompting question, a prompting question would be, "Well, here's what I'm thinking we could try. What do you think?" Just to at least get their buy in or opinion around your ideas. So, again just continue to try to get the employee engaged in the process. All right, so again let's say in the problem solution suggestion and then we'll move on is, I brought him in to talk about the problem, I asked for their input, let's say they gave me some of their ideas.
Let's say they said XYZ is what they think we should do to fix the problem and you're thinking to yourself going into step three, "X and Y might be a good solution here, Z I don't think so," And so you say that to an employee, "I think X and Y could work, I appreciate. That's a good idea. Z I don't think so and here's why. What if we did XYA? What if we worked with that? Do you think that could work?" And again you build on the employees ideas and you come to a consensus, and then you agree on a follow up step as to what the employee is going to do to go implement the solution.
All right folks, and so that's the process. It works really well and now naturally I'm not suggesting you follow the script per se. I'm not suggesting you always think step one, step two, step three, but I wanted to, again, give you an outline that you could follow for having a good collaborative conversation that's effective.
All right, the last thing I want to talk about today and I'll open up for questions is here's a really great three step. This is from the world of project management, so it's really a proven process. Here's a three step performance management process for working with an employee on some sort of a significant task or project. Now these three steps are not for a one off task, like I need you to send an email or I need you to go do this one thing.
No, this would be more for some significant works, a significant task, a project that's got some complexity to it. So, but this is a great way to collaborate, to coach and collaborate with the employee, and partner with them on this project. Let's say it's a 30 day project, and let's stay with our hypothetical around it's a new report, a new monthly report we're creating that the higher ups really want to see.
And you bring the employee in step one and you have a collaborative conversation, just like we just did with that four step process. You have a collaborative conversation about, "Here's what we're looking for in the report, here's the scope of it, here's the timeline. We need it done once every 30 days, needs to be in by the end of the month. And so, the first one since now it's November 2nd, the first one is due November 30th. And so, how do you think we got to put this report together? What should be included in the report?"
And now you give the employee, again like we did in that four step moment ago, outline, we give the employee input into how that report should be done. So, that's number one, that's the collaboration conversation that we just did a few moments ago. And now, that the second piece is the follow up step, this is really key to hold people accountable and make sure that the work stays on task and it gets done on time.
At the end of that collaboration conversation you want to agree to a follow up step, and that's and that's going back here because I'm integrating two things here. That's going back to step four, so at the end of the assignment of the work where we talked about step one, step two, and step three, we collaborated on this new report that's going to be done, is due on 30 days.
The employees giving me their input into how it's going to get done, we build on their ideas a little bit and we agreed to what the plan is going to be. Now, step four would be, "OK, since this is due in 30 days, could we meet together maybe two weeks from now and so you could give me a progress report and I can of course offer to provide any additional support that you need?" And so, now you've got a follow up step, and that follow up step is the ongoing coaching conversation.
And so you're checking in to assess the progress, to see how far along it is, make sure it's still on track, offer support of course. The meeting in and of itself is an accountability step, because you know the employee is going to keep up with the timeline. Because they know they've got to meet with you and give you an update here in two weeks, so you know it'll at least get started.
And then if they are off track it gives you an opportunity, with two weeks to go before a deadline, to make any mid-course corrections that you need to make. So now, you've got him back on track and again you want to have that be a collaborative conversation where you're asking the employee for their input as, "What's been working with you so far? What's been working for you so far? Is there any support that you need?"
And then if you find that they're off track, you again you want to have a collaborative conversation to get it back on track. Again say, "OK, with what you've shown me so far on the progress report, I like the first two parts, the third part I think needs to be upgraded a little bit, here's why. What do you think we could do to upgrade that third part?" And again, you have that collaborative conversation to get the employee to give you ideas as how to make it even better.
And then the third step, then they go back and they complete the work, and then they submit the work to you. They submit the report, the first monthly report at the end of the 30 days. The third step that's really helpful to remember to have a coaching conversation around is a post assignment debrief or evaluation. And it was interesting, it was a great Forbes magazine article awhile back called The Post Project Debrief, The Missing Piece of American Quality Assurance.
And the author of the article basically said, "Because so many assignments nowadays are submitted electronically to supervisors and then everyone gets on to the next thing, the next task, the next project. Then a lot of times appropriate feedback isn't given," and so from time to time if it's a really significant task or project that's being submitted. It's really helpful to have a debrief at the end, where you're doing a collaborative review of the results.
And so, basically you have the employee come in and you start with everything great about it, "I love this part of the report. This was great. I love this part too. I thought the opening that you did, the opening summary was wonderful. I love the supporting charts and graphs," and then ask the employee, "What did you think? What did you think in retrospect when you reviewed this again? What did you think?"
And then here's the important or two important pieces, give him a lot of recognition, "This was great. This was great," but there's also an opportunity to do quality improvement or lessons learned. So, ask the employee in retrospect after you talk about all the positives and provide a lot of recognition, "Now, if you had a chance to do this again, is there anything you would have done differently or did you learn anything from doing it the first time that you would have corrected for the next time you do something like this?"
And so, then you have an opportunity again to have a really good conversation about ways to take the work to a higher level later. So that process works really well. Try it from time to time, you don't have to again do it for every small task, but every once in a while for a significant piece of work, have those debrief conversations at the end. I think you'll be really, really pleasantly surprised by how well they go and what the employee takes away from that.
Not only do they come away with a lot of recognition but it provides that opportunity for them to learn something from that and make improvements for the next time around. I mean, I've seen employees come away from those conversations and the next time around do a really, really good job. And even do the work at a higher level of ever result of that conversation.
Sorry folks, we had a momentary issue with the audio. I apologize for that, but we should be back on course now. All right folks, I know we covered a lot in a very short period of time, I want to go ahead and open it up for questions. So if you have any questions, please type your questions into the question box, in the GoToWebinar software in the upper right hand corner of your screen.
Again, if you have any questions, please type them into the question box in the GoToWebinar software, in the upper right hand corner of your screen. We've got plenty of time for questions this afternoon. All right, my first question is, "Can you send the presentation out to participants?" Yes, upon request, all you need to do is hit Reply to your GoToWebinar invitation for today and just go ahead and request a copy of the PowerPoint, we'd be happy to send it to you.
Here's another really good question, "Do you have any tips for maintaining a good attitude when an employee is a repeat offender?" Absolutely, I see and a lot of it is with our own attitude. When you're dealing with an employee that's difficult or that behaves in a difficult way at times, and no one's all bad, but we all from time to time will have an employee that'll have a negative attitude, or maybe be argumentative, or someone that that's not real dependable that you have to really try to hold their feet to the fire to make sure that they're accountable to get work done on time.
And so, when you have to have repeat coaching conversations, I want to share a couple of things. One is, stay patient, just realize that's one of the grist for the mill. It's interesting in the research from Gallup, Gallup's the polling company that most of you are pretty familiar with. The research from Gallup says that, about one in five American employees is what they call actively disengaged, which means of course they're not coming to work given 100%, I mean they're doing the minimum.
And those folks can be frustrating to work for and those folks would probably be the kinds of people that become the repeat offenders per se for this question. And so, I try to be patient, if it's the same kind of a situation with an employee, I will give people the benefit of the doubt. Unless it's something that's an egregious poll, and you all know where the lines are between coaching and progressive discipline. I mean, obviously, we all need to follow our organization's policies around progressive discipline and those kinds of things.
But I typically, unless it's a serious offense, I typically give people multiple chances or try to give them multiple chances. I try to coach them for a while to see if by being collaborative or respectful I can get them to step up their performance a little bit. And so with a repeat offender, let's say that someone that's turned in that same report two or three times and it's not getting any better. I'll call him back in a second or a third time and I'll have yet another coaching conversation.
The second or third time I have to have the conversation, I'll be honest with him and say, "I'm a little frustrated right now because we just had this conversation a month ago." I think it's important to be honest and transparent with the employee, " And you would agree that you are going to this next month, you are going to bring the quality of the report up to a higher level, and here we are again, and I'm frustrated," and to say, "Can I ask why? Why did you not correct it like you said you were going to?"
And then to say, "OK, well here's what I need. Are you clear in what my expectation is? All right, now what can you do for next month's report to get it up to the level it needs to be?" So, I will give them an additional chance or two and hang in there with people. Some people it just takes a little bit of time, and some people will dig their feet in and be passive or just not comply the way they need to. And then you can consider after you've tried to coach some, you decide how many times is appropriate, depending on the person and the situation of course.
But then you might have to go to progressive discipline if you coach, you've given someone several chances from a coaching environment and they're still not following through on what they've agreed to do. Then of course you might need to consider the formal performance management, or excuse me, the formal disciplinary process. And again, whenever you do that please stay close to human resources in your organization and keep your boss involved as well.
All right next question, that was good thank you. OK, here's another really, really good. I appreciate everyone and I love working with you all, I guess every time we do these sessions, I learn a lot. I get some great questions from folks. Here's another really, really good question, it says, "Some of my staff have administrative duties that are fairly black and white. How would you build in the coaching into more entry level types of tasks?" I appreciate that question very much.
And even folks who are doing less complex tasks they can still have some input into how those tasks are approached, or how the process is being maintained. And so for example, let's say that the tasks are pretty mundane, "Here's a report that has to be done every Monday check all, 10 boxes." I mean from time to time, you can bring them in and you can have a coaching conversation and give them some input into, "How should we organize this?" or "What should the follow up process be to these?" or from time to time, "Is there any way we can improve this process moving forward?" any ideas about that.
So, you want to creatively look for ways, even with mundane tasks to give people some input, to ask their opinion and sometimes you have to get creative. But I just think it's really important with each and every employee that you give them some opportunity to give input, we need to make the employees feel valued and I want that. I want to learn from people, I want to give people an opportunity to have input and to take ownership over what they're doing. Great question. Thank you.
Here's a good one as well, "In team meetings, I have staff that are very willing to be part of the conversations and others that are not," that's very normal. Sometimes it's personality driven folks, sometimes you're going to have some more introverted people that are not as comfortable speaking in a group. So, you're going to get that sometimes, other times you'll get a few people that are not very engaged. And so, they won't be giving much input, they're there but they're not really engaged in the process.
And so, I do think it's really important to try to engage as many as you can. A couple strategies for this, one is, you don't want to put people who are uncomfortable speaking in groups on the spot, so try to discern why. If you've got, let's say six people on your team and three typically talk a lot and three don't talk much, in your one on one conversations with those people that don't talk very much. Be asking to say, "I noticed you don't contribute much in the meetings and I wondered why because you have a lot of good ideas and I really think the others would benefit from hearing your ideas."
And be asking them and sometimes you'll have people say, "I'm just not comfortable speaking in a group," and then just respect that and say, "Well, I appreciate that, you mind if I gets get your opinion more when we're talking one on one because I want the value of your input because you have great ideas," And so that would be the way to handle that kind of a thing. And then if you find that some people just are not participating, you can ask them, you can say, "I really want your input."
And again, like even with people who are disengaged, let's say you find, you've got a disengaged mid-career worker who's biding their time to retirement and they're giving you the minimum and you know that, you know they are, you've worked with them for a while. Even with folks like that sometimes you can call them in one on one and get a little extra engagement from them. Just by appealing to their ego and experience and say, "You've been here for 20 years, I mean yes a lot of experience and we have a lot of new people right now and they could really benefit from learning from you."
And to be able to say, "Would you mind sharing a little bit more of your ideas. If I can prompt you in the meetings because I really want the younger people to have the benefit of your knowledge and your wisdom." Sometimes, not always, but sometimes that can get people that are a little bit more passive or a little quiet or a little less engaged to at least step up a little bit and share a little bit more. All right, time folks for about three more question.
Here's another wonderful question here folks, because this is true, the balance of collaboration and being sufficiently directive can be a challenge. And I totally agree with you and the last part of the question is, "Can you comment on finding the right mix?" absolutely. So first and foremost, if you're 50-50 you're fine, and I'm talking about in general obviously. If you're directing half the time and you're asking people for their input half the time, I think you're going to be fine.
I think in general people, your employees will appreciate, they know you're the boss, they know sometimes you're going to give direction and that's part of working for someone that's above you in the organization, that happens. So, people will be tolerant of that if that's not what you always do. If at least half the time, give or take, you're asking for their opinion, showing an interest in their ideas, they will be patient with the times when you're being directive.
And so that's sort of a rule of thumb, what we don't want to do is what I did 20 years ago, you don't want to be talking, you don't want to be directive 80% of the time. That will make someone feel like you don't value their input much or you're micromanaging them. That was my mistake. I really needed to overhaul this area of my life but I really had to go really go back and get better training and then I had to change my habits.
Now, I've been managing people now for 27, 28 years so I had a lot of opportunity to do that over the years. But really what you're trying to get to the difference between or the combination of being directive versus being collaborative is try to find some sort of a balance. Now, with some people they may want you to be more directive, if they're more passive or more disengaged, you may need to be more directive with them than with others.
With other people because they're very opinionated and they, or whatever. You may need to or they've been there a long time, you may need to be the collaborative 80% of the time, because they want they want input. They won't tolerate being talked 1 in a directive way very well. So, you just need to figure out what the good balance is in general and then customize that balance by the person. Thank you for that, that was great question.
All right, two more questions folks. Thank you again for everyone staying on today. Almost everyone stayed on the whole Q&A. Here's another incredible question folks. This is great drill down stuff that helps all of us, as a supervisor with project deadlines because most of us do, most of us are working supervisors, just about all of us probably are on the call today working supervisors.
"What percentage of the time should be allotted for coaching team members? For instance, what portion of an eight hour a day is a reasonable time for coaching?" That's a great question. And again this is more of an art than a science, and so we need to find a balance that works for you. Obviously every supervisor has a long to do list, and so we can't just sit-in coaching conversations all day long, we wouldn't get our own work done, So we've got to get our own work done.
But let's remember the most important thing that we do, when you're in a position of leadership the most important thing you do is on a day to day basis is have good conversations with your staff. Interesting, Bob Nelson who's a leadership guru that I respect, he had a great quote, I'm looking for the exact quote, here it is. He had a great quote that I love, he says, "An employee's motivation is a direct result of the sum of their interactions with their manager."
And so, let's remember that as you interact with people, and again coaching doesn't have to be formal meetings, coaching can be in the hallway, I'm walking up to someone saying, "Hey, this is going on, what do you think we should do?" That's a coaching conversation in the hallway, you're asking someone for their opinion and that'll feel respectful to that employee. My boss does a great job here at Deer Oaks, she'll send me an email and say, "Here's what's going on. Greg, what are your thoughts?" and sends that to me, that makes me feel respected.
And so, answer your question in a couple ways, as long as, I mean, you can be spending four or five, six hours a day on your project work, and I know the project work needs to get done. As long as at least some of your day is focused on having quality interactions with your staff. It could be formal one on one meetings, it could be following up with someone on an issue, it could be going to a meeting and having a good collaborative conversation in that meeting.
And so, but let's be thinking about keeping an imbalance where we're, because obviously everything needs to get done, your project work as a supervisor needs to be done and you want to have good interactions with your staff. Do remember at the end of the day, the most impactful thing that you can do in a day is have at least some really good collaborative conversations with people, even if it's just an hour that day.
Because you want those people coming away from those conversations feeling cared about, and respected, and supported. When that happens, those employees are going to, their motivation level will stay high, and they need you. Even right now in a time of COVID when so many of us are working virtually, people need you, they need you, they need to be on Zoom calls with you or Microsoft Teams calls with you periodically to have those interactions where they feel respected and cared about.
People need that, so let's make sure that we proactively at least everyday are spending at least a portion of the day, even if it's only an hour or two having good interactions with your staff. All right, last question folks and then we'll wrap up for the day. Thank you for this. Great Q&A session, you guys are awesome.
Here's a great follow up question to what I just talked about, about working in a remote environment. OK, "Now, when we are working from home and people tend to stay off camera. It may be tough to connect and read people. What adjustments to coaching are appropriate in this environment?" So, I leave this up to you. I don't necessarily, I like face to face, I mean I'm a baby boomer, so I've been around a long time. I grew up with face to face.
I'm most comfortable if I can see people, but I've also become very comfortable, like we're talking right now. I can't see any body language from 150 or so folks around the line right now, but I'm reading your questions. And so, yes you want to have some face to face, so sure cameras on at times is a good idea. But even for bonding, I think that's a really good idea to be able to see each other, so they can see you're listening to them, you're interested in them, body language is important.
But even having telephone conversations, picking up the cell phone and calling someone or doing a cameras off meeting, team meeting or whatever, can still be very helpful. And so, but I do think, again the most important part of the coaching process, whether it be a group meeting, or one on one meeting is finding that balance between you sharing information and giving your opinion, and asking the team for input. As long as you're staying balanced in that, and again 50/50 would be great, the team or the individual that you're working with is going to feel somewhat respected and cared about, and that's going to help maintain their motivation level.
The number one predictor of employee engagement is my boss cares about me as a person. And so, when you're having those collaborative conversations and you're showing interest in people, they're in general going to come out of those conversations feeling motivated and wanting to do their best work. So, all right folks, sorry I couldn't get to all the questions that you guys asked again, awesome questions. I do want to remind you, this was the last topic in this year's Deer Oaks Supervisor Excellence webinar series.
We will be doing this again, we've been doing this since 2013 I believe. We'll be doing it again in 2021, so be on the lookout for new topics. Again, I want to thank you all for being with us today. It is a privilege for Deer Oaks to be the employee assistance program provider for all of your organizations.
We greatly appreciate the opportunity, in closing I want to remind you all that during these difficult times, these ongoing difficult times, please continue to stay safe and healthy. And I'm looking forward to being with you on another one of these calls in the near future. Thank you, everyone. Have a wonderful rest of the day today. Take care.