Employee coaching is a necessary business competency for leaders. This exercise offers leaders realistic and helpful suggestions.
- To identify the necessity of employee coaching.
- To review coaching techniques.
- Group Discussion
- Case study
- Journal writing
- Hands-on art activity
- Attached documents
- Colored paper
- Flipchart and markers
- Sticky notes
- Enough space (for flying paper airplanes)
- Tables and chairs for small groups
Shrewd leaders coach employees so that they can improve their skills and develop greater self-confidence. Participants will have had good and bad experiences being coached and should draw on these experiences in order to evaluate their own coaching style. This activity ties in well with Activity 32 on style flexing, so consider presenting them in sequence. To be an effective coach, you absolutely MUST be flexible.
Step by Step Instructions
- Introduce the activity and begin with a variety of activities that will provide them with insights into how to coach other people. They will learn how to apply coaching techniques to different situations. Now give directions for making paper airplanes. Hand out sheets of colored paper to each person. Use the paper to make a paper airplane that will fly. Allow several minutes so participants can experiment with different construction techniques.
- When everyone is done, ask participants to stand in a line along one side of the room. Ask them to wait for the signal, and then fly their airplane, letting it stay where it lands. Note which airplane flew the farthest, and ask that person to coach the rest of the group on how to design and construct a plane based on their successful model.
- Hand out more paper and allow several minutes for instruction and new construction.
- Line everyone up again and comment on the results.
- Debrief the activity, and discuss how the results changed after some coaching.
- Divide the group into pairs, and ask them to take five minutes to identify the methodologies a coach might implement with an employee. Discuss the answers the pairs came up with, and write these ideas on the flipchart. Ask for definitions of coaching, and see if people can come to a quick agreement on a good one.
- Handout: Discovering Your Career Milestones, and provide give the following instructions: – Attach sticky notes on the grid on years where you experienced some kind of high point in your career development. They will be your milestone markers. If you had a coach who helped you with this achievement, add their name.
– Next write a journal entry, answering these questions: Now that you have identified your major milestones in your career, how important was coaching to your career growth and success? What kind of coach best meets your needs?
- Now it’s time to look at how coaching styles differ from one another. Distribute the handout titled Coaching Techniques, and go over the pros and cons of these styles: Directive and Non-directive coaching style. Ask participants to write in their journals about the kind of coach who best serves their needs.
- Present and encourage discussion about communication strategies for coaching. Use these questions: What communication barriers will hinder your coaching success? Which of your communication abilities will enhance your coaching success?
- In this activity, you will cover how to deal with coaching problems. Distribute and review the challenge on the document: Dealing with Challenging Coaching Situation. Divide participants into groups of three members. Ask one person to be the Leader/Coach, the second to be the Employee, and the third to be a Process Observer. Give out Case Study Scenarios to each group. Participants will assume their roles and follow the script, which will outline several ways to manage the situation. Ask every Process Observer to give feedback on how each Leader/Coach handled the situation. The Employee must also share his/her reactions to the different approaches taken for each challenge.
- Allow participants some time to practice giving clear and positive feedback in their small groups. Then ask people to switch roles while you distribute the second scenario to each group. Then have them begin acting out their roles, using the script that outlines several ways to handle the situation. Ask each Process Observer to give feedback on how each Leader/Coach handled the situation. The Employee should also share their reactions to the different approaches to each problem. Wind things up by distributing copies of Coaching an Employee, for use with employees.
Just after conducting this activity take some time to reflect on how it went, how engaged the participants were, and what questions they raised. Then, make notes that include how much time you actually spent on the activity.