To Coach is to Manage: The Art of One-on-One Meetings

by Jody Ordioni

To Coach is to Manage: The Art of On-on-One Meetings

Just like sports team win matches due to the strength of the team and not the number of star players they have, similarly, businesses also thrive when each employee is allowed to work on their strengths and weaknesses. The coach is the one who builds the team by ensuring that each player is held accountable to the team and challenges them to become better.

The same principle can be applied in business, and the results of this endeavor are immediate. Healthier, happier and high-performing teams are beneficial to the company. They perform better to deliver greater profits and customer satisfaction for such teams is likely higher. The employee engagement and retention rates for such teams are also likely to be higher.

A significant proportion of the manager group, however, does not see themselves as business coaches. Reviewing and measuring employee performance is usually left to a standardized testing method developed by HR that compares the employee's performance and individual goals. However, this method of reviewing is mostly unhelpful since it lacks context. According to a survey, 74% of employees receive only a yearly review, and only 17% of employees find these reviews meaningful. The current method of management is clearly not conducive to growth.

It is the job of the manager to ensure that each employee feels an integral part of the team. The only way to succeed at this goal is to reimagine the definition of a manager. A progressive manager takes on the responsibility of establishing cohesion and coordination in the team. In our experience, the best method is to discard early reviews and bring in one-on-one sessions with the managers for the employees.

Here are some tips to make one-on-one sessions meaningful:

Frequent and Consistent Meetings are Key

The biggest advantage of frequently holding one-on-one sessions is that coaches can provide feedback to the employees in real-time. This means that employees can then work on their strategies to yield better results immediately. Sticking to a schedule, such as holding a meeting weekly according to the role and needs of the employee, also ensures that coaches are clearly conveying what is expected of the employees. Regular meetings also hold employees accountable for the commitments they have made.

Focus on Development of Employees

The point of holding a one-on-one meeting is to focus on the professional growth of the employees. Such meetings should be tailored to assess how employees contribute to their team and what is the impact of their contribution. Another important aspect of this exercise is to understand what each employee aspires for personally and professionally, and why.

Business coaches are expected to know the strengths and weaknesses of each employee they manage. The top priority of millennials while looking for a job is to get opportunities for growth and learning. Personalized development ranks high on the agenda of many employees. They want opportunities for training courses, cross-functional teams to push them out of their comfort zones, and mentors who can help them work on their strengths and weaknesses.

Be Positive and Focused on Future

One-on-ones should be focused on the future of the employees and should have a positive tone. It's imperative to learn the reason for the employee's success so that it can be imitated in the future as well. The goal of effective coaching also entails that coaches help employees to prepare, prioritize, and learn from their work. Coaches help employees to visualize the successful future for themselves and then actualize that vision.

Each employee wishes to do meaningful work and make impactful contributions to their company. The best way to engage employees is to provide them with challenges and hold them accountable for their work. By putting on the hat of a business coach, leaders can build an environment of continuous learning and growth for their employees.

The Bottom Line

Building connections with employees on personal and professional levels gives a nod to the fact that companies care for their employees. Active advocacy for the growth of your employees builds a bridge of trust between the employees and the company. Coaching is the most effective method when it comes to building powerful employees, who then in turn, form the bedrock for powerful companies.

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