Advice on remote workers, building a coaching culture
Question: Like many companies we have not gone back to our office yet. Some folks are working from the office but, 85% are working from home. What are the key issues you see that we should address while working from home?
JD’s Answer: Let’s break this down into a couple of key areas for you to review:
- Culture: While you work from home it is very difficult to continue to develop that same culture of engagement you had at your workplace. You will need to pay special attention to points of connection. Human beings are “herd animals” that need to feel connected to other humans. Work extra hard to keep everyone feeling connected.
- Performance Management: When people work from a single location, we see them working and interfacing with others. We talk with them throughout the day. When they work from home, we measure output. Did they get their work done on time? Was the work done right? You need to stop managing and start coaching. You need to be curious about them, their family, their work and their feelings. Ask good questions and be curious about the person.
- Development: Normally companies select high potential/high performance individuals for development. How does this work when you are only working from home? Talented people need a pathway to growth. Don’t skip this as you lead virtually.
- Communication: Not everyone is great on zoom or the phone. You need to step up your communication skills especially since everyone is not at the same place at the same time. Be thoughtful and overcommunicate. Nobody ever got fired for over communicating
Finally, be aware of their fears and concerns. My guess is that your employees with kids are really concerned about school this fall. Don’t just gloss over this. Maybe you cannot solve the problem but you sure can help them look for solutions.
Question: We want to develop a coaching culture. We are terrible at coaching. How would you initiate this in our company?
JD’s Answer: You might want to consider bringing someone in to help you understand the difference between coaching and managing. Here are some rules to help you get started:
- Select a day and time each month for your coaching 1-2-1 and stick with it. Never cancel, never change
- Put an agenda together and share this with the individual you are coaching. Stick with this framework meeting to meeting
- Remember whose meeting this is. It is not your meeting. It is for the individual that you are coaching.
- Managers are directive, coaches are there to help the person they are coaching improve. Enter into the meeting with the right heart.
- Don’t become SAKU (source of all knowledge in the universe). Solving other problems is not your job. Let them solve their issues. Don’t move too quickly to solution.
This is the starting point. Getting a good agenda and understanding the “right” questions to ask is part of being a great coach. It takes time and a willingness to learn to become a good internal coach. I’d be happy to share a good agenda and the right kinds of questions to ask. Just drop me an email at JD@johndame.com
A CEO coach to countless business leaders, John Dame (“JD”) is an executive team consultant and leadership strategist based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He founded Dame Management Strategies in 2002, serves as Vistage’s Best Practice Chair for South Central Pennsylvania, and founded JD Evolution, an annual conference that features a series of daylong events that explore critical leadership qualities. Visit his website at: johndame.com.