Applying a coaching habit in a multicultural environment is not straight forward. What is acceptable in one market, is totally out of bounds in another. Cultural differences, generation as also local standards differ from market to market. How we are educated and how we progress throughout our careers, impacts the way you as leader are challenged in coaching your team members to success. For me there are three key focus area’s I focus on identifying the coaching needs of each individual team member:
People (and culture) differ. Thus applying a coaching style needs further understanding on their drivers, knowledge and capabilities. How they react, and how they think can only be identified by asking the right questions. In my early day’s as leader I knew upfront how to solve things, and often gave them the answer, without actually asking the right questions. As a result I created followers who were not able/willing to think for themselves. This is not how you can lead professionals. They need to find out for themselves, and by asking questions like “What is your real challenge here?” or What do you need to be successful?, requires them to think further. When I started applying this form of questioning, I got surprised by the creativity (some) of them showed. I also noticed quite quickly what the capabilities were of every individual team member, and where they needed further coaching
Having worked in project environments all my career, I’m used to apply SMART KPI’s in every deliverables. Projects however can be daunting to some, especially when they are out of their comfort area. I would recommend to once in a while challenge your team members with projects which are out of their comfort zone. This also helps identify your future stars, and offload some of the work you are on boarding. It also helps create trust if you allow them to make mistakes, and coach them to actually drive the project to a success. Not by telling them how, but to ask them what they need to make the project successful. Be advised that sometimes the question they put forward, is not the real question that needs answering. So keep curious when engaging with them and listen well. Your team member coaching requires focus, and not having you being focussed on something else
Patterns can be identified when you measure the KPI’s of your projects, and take notice of the behavior and skills of your team members. Patterns take time to identify, and making them part of the discussion, will help them with holding a mirror in front of them. Do not confront them, but ask them questions. And always keep the questions light. Furthermore when you identify a coaching topic, make sure that you relate that to the patterns you see. An individual incident, is not a pattern. A range of incidents could have relate to a specific source.
The People, Project and Pattern methodology is used by most leaders. I learned this few years ago from my own leader, and applying this analysis when engaging with team members, colleagues, customers but also peers, has actually helped me change my approach and behavior. It made me more adaptive and flexible when engaging.
If you have not adopted this methodology, bring it in to practice and use the outcomes of your analysis to coach your team members to success. The better they are in what they do, the less you need to do operationally which frees up time for the more strategical imperatives!
About the author: @Rahim Gulamali Strategic Customer Experience focussed Transformational Leader with outstanding track record across BPO, Strategic Change Management, Corporate Risk Management, Information technology, Technical and Financial Project Management. Proven track record in; designing, guiding, clarifying and completing (international) strategic programs; motivating teams and individuals to deliver; streaming and energizing existing business processes where People drive/own the success.