Every day, managers come across dozens of situations that provide opportunities for coaching, but the question is: How do they handle them, and how do they benefit from smooth, brief conversations to educate, inspire, and gather their employees?

Imagine the following three scenarios: 

  • One of your employees came up with a great new idea during the meeting, and now you're about to leave the meeting. Do you tell them what you think of their idea, wait until later, or just ignore the whole thing?
  • Or maybe one of your employees stumbles in the middle of a big project and isn't making progress, and you're on the phone with them. Do you ask for more information about the project's setbacks, or do you postpone the discussion until the team members responsible for that project meet?
  • Finally, suppose you hear some useful information about one of your employees' professional goals and you know that you can help them develop their skills to achieve those goals. When you meet them, do you tell them about your personal professional experience, ask a good question, or shake their hand and wish them a good day?

Misconceptions about coaching:

Individual coaching can be a very effective way to manage and help others grow; however, for the typical manager, the ability to coach may not be well understood or developed enough. As a result, the manager may evade the informal coaching situation and miss out on the benefit of a wonderful learning opportunity.

Moreover, too much talk about the importance of coaching may lead to the misconception that coaching is the only or preferred approach to leadership. Managers may make a mistake when they consider all situations to be appropriate moments for coaching. However, there are times when a formal or consultative approach is the best response, especially for junior employees, in times of crisis, or when accuracy is paramount.

Also, the manager may believe that coaching must be scheduled or delivered through a program to be effective, such as following a structure or agenda in one-on-one formal meetings. Although coaching models and agendas are very useful for a professional coach and a veteran coach,

However, coaching often happens without arrangements; That is, during spontaneous, brief conversations that may generate useful insights for others.

Six Factors for Providing Useful Improvised Coaching:

How can you understand the fallacies about coaching and help grow your team, especially through impromptu opportunities? To help develop your ability to coach others, there are six factors that may lead to make the most of the right coaching opportunities.

1. Determining the right moments for Coaching:

These moments can come in many forms, and they are better recognizable when the unexpected happens, or when there is a gain. An appropriate moment to coach is likely to arise when the desired result is not achieved, or when employees ask for your help to overcome an obstacle; The emergence of problems or pitfalls creates ideal opportunities to dig deeper and encourage them to rethink the problem.

Celebrating gains, even small ones, is also a good time to coach and reinforce behaviors that lead to success.

2. Asking questions instead of providing answers:

Often managers want to get the answer right or feel compelled to provide their answers first. This tendency may marginalize useful questions that would encourage employees to think and grow, and it may increase the administrative workload in dealing with employee problems rather than allowing them to try to solve their own problems.

Open-ended questions such as: What are you learning? Or what are your suggested solutions? spark a great coaching conversation.

3. Building a relationship based on trust:

Coaching moments can be fruitless if the employee doesn't believe you're working for them. If employees don't trust your competence, character, or motivation, they likely won't appreciate your coaching style or feedback. So, show interest in your employees by learning about their strengths, desires, and areas of growth, and invest in them so that they are more open to your guidance and questions in coaching moments.

4. Measuring the employee’s ability to receive coaching:

Measuring the degree of employee receptivity to receiving coaching is very important in improving the chance of coaching. The acceptance of coaching is an individual's desire to learn and improve, and it may vary according to the person and the situation.

Some employees are open to self-reflection at any time or are good at expressing their thoughts. Others aren't sharing their thoughts or are overly cautious in what they tell their boss. Measuring your employees' receptivity to coaching using an ascending scale can help you see how and when you spend your coaching moments with them.

5. Providing the right environment:

Finding the right environment is the key to making an impromptu coaching moment impactful. A walk down the hall may be ideal for a short conversation. However, be careful not to be overheard, especially if the conversation is special. So, often the safest way to have a productive coaching conversation is to quickly enter an empty conference room, sit at the far end of the cafeteria, or make a short phone call.

6. Use time wisely:

We all have schedules that are packed with tasks, but making use of time, like the minutes before or after meetings, can be a very effective way to coach someone. So, try to match the amount of time with the appropriate question or comment.

For example, sharing positive feedback in a quick meeting in the lobby works great; however, having a professional conversation in the lobby may not be. After all, don't let time stop you having the coaching conversations. Sometimes, it's better to start something, then sets a time to finish it, rather than ignoring something that might be useful to the employee.

In conclusion:

Most management coaching happens through brief conversations, and these are the pivotal conversations that get results. Managers who identify and capitalize on the right moments for coaching can increase employee engagement and consistency in performance. Seize these moments and watch your team thrive.