For managers, developing others' abilities is indeed critical - it's the emotional competence most frequently found among those at the top of their game. This is a person-to-person art and the effectiveness of counseling hinges on empathy, as well as the ability to focus on our own feelings and share them.
Research suggests the best 'coaches' show a genuine personal interest in those they guide. Trust is also crucial – because when there is little trust in the coach, advice is likely to go unheeded. This also happens when the coach is impersonal and cold, or the relationship seems too one-sided or self-serving. Therefore, coaches who show respect, trustworthiness and empathy are the best.
Our role as a coach is to aim for optimum performance levels that can be maintained to ensure consistent success.
Allow them to set their own goals
One way to encourage people to perform better is to let them take the lead in setting their own goals, rather than dictating the terms and manner of their development. This communicates the belief that employees have the capacity to be the pilot of their own destiny.
Guide, don't tell
Another technique is to point to the problems without offering a solution - this implies the employees can find the solution themselves. People hunger for feedback, yet too many managers, supervisors, and executives are inept at giving it or are simply disinclined to provide any.
Use emotional intelligence
Virtually everyone who has a superior is part of at least one vertical 'couple' in the workplace - every boss forms such a bond with each subordinate. Such vertical couples are a basic unit of organizational life.
Therein lays the blessing or the curse. This interdependence ties a subordinate and superior together in a way that can become highly charged. If both do well emotionally - if they form a relationship of trust and rapport, understanding and inspired effort - their performance will shine. But if things go emotionally awry, the relationship can become a nightmare, and their performance a series of minor and major disasters.
While vertical couples have the entire emotional overlay that power and compliance bring to a relationship, peer couples - our relationships with co-workers - have a parallel emotional component, something akin to the pleasures, jealousies, and rivalries of siblings.
If there is anywhere emotional intelligence needs to enter an organization, it is at this most basic level. Building collaborative and fruitful relationships begins with the couples we are a part of at work.
Bringing emotional intelligence to a working relationship can pitch it towards the evolving, creative, mutually engaging end of the continuum. Failing to do so heightens the risk of a downward drift towards rigidity, stalemate, and failure.
Our role as a coach is to aim for optimum performance levels that can be maintained to ensure consistent success – we must try to avoid the “peak and trough” syndrome. But equally, we must also maintain the challenge to see just how far we can take each of our employees/students.
Jonathan Farrington is a globally recognized business coach, mentor, author, keynote speaker and sales thought leader.
He is the Senior Partner of Jonathan Farrington & Associates, and CEO of Top Sales World, based in London & Paris. Jonathan is also the co-editor of Top Sales Magazine.
Find out more about Jonathan Farrington on LinkedIn