Module 4: Understanding the Realities

Module Four: Understanding the Realities

In the last module, you plotted a marker in the horizon as a beacon, guiding your employee to a specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goal. This is a great start, but there is also a need to know where your journey began. Placing a marker at the starting point of your employee’s coaching journey enables both you and your employee to determine and measure progress. The goal in the offing may never seem to get any closer, because you have no point of reference to gauge your progress.

In this module, you will learn how to place that stake in the ground, marking the beginning of the coaching journey. Examining the current realities is the second component or the “R” of the GROW model. Let us delve into this concept to learn more about it.

Getting a Picture of Where You Are

Framing the reality of the situation for your employee is an important step to accepting the coaching process. It is easier for you to outline your employee’s performance problem, but this does not create the most receptive environment. In order to gain acceptance of the problem it is best to let the employees come to the realization themselves. Neglecting to do this could result in a non-responsive employee. They may feel apprehensive or defensive and shut down. They may go along with your coaching, but their attitude is that of just getting the coaching session over with in the least amount of time. Involving your employee is easy if you are willing to ask questions, listen, and guide your employee to where they are in their performance. Here are four simple questions you can ask:

  • What is happening now?
  • How often is this happening?
  • When does it happen?
  • What is the affect?

These questions help you to guide your employee to a place where they can see their performance affect the organization. When they realize the impact on their own more buy-in is created. In addition, more information may be obtained on why your employee is not performing at the level they should be achieving.
The realization of the problem marks the starting point. It also serves as a marker on performance. For instance, an employee may discover that they are not reaching production goals because they are taking extra time doing something incorrectly. Knowing this, you are able to refer to this issue when improvements occur.

Identifying Obstacles

When coaching, obstacles will arise and you need to be prepared to handle them with efficiency. The last thing you want to happen is your employee handing you an obstacle you cannot address because you are not prepared to handle the problem with a consistent response.

Using the IRA steps to obstacle identification and removal is vital to the coaching process. Here is the breakdown of the process.

  • Identify the obstacle: Have a frank discussion with your employee and determine what is blocking their performance. Waiting for them to give you the information voluntarily will probably not happen.
  • Root out the cause: Many times underlying emotions or problems may be the cause of the obstacles. Ask probing questions and jot down answers. You might realize they have a fear that must be addressed.
  • Antidote given: A remedy to the situation is needed in order to get past this obstacle. Brainstorm with your employee on ways to remove the obstacles. In some cases, you may have to try several different antidotes. Be patient if the cause is genuine.

No matter what the perceived obstacles are, do not let it stifle you coaching objective. Rarely, you may encounter an employee that throws obstacles constantly your way in an effort to derail you. Identify this and address it with that employee, documenting every conversation.

Exploring the Past

Exploring your employees past performance and development is a great way to develop the reality of today’s performance. Of course, you want to avoid belaboring a past mistake to the point where it makes the session ineffective. On the other hand, focusing on previous achievements helps to encourage your employee.

Here are some things to focus from the past:

  • Goals that were met
  • Great behaviors
  • Great attitudes
  • Problems solved

Using the past helps to recap where your employee is at today. It is like telling a story but the end has not yet been determined. Use this time to speak positively to your employee. Avoid being negative or emphasizing the consequences to failure. This will leave an impression on your employee that could hinder their success.

Setting a positive environment opens the door for the next part of the GROW model. Developing options is an essential step both you and your employee must take in order to continue toward meeting your development goals. Let us explore what this entails.

Case Study

Gary worked as a receptionist. He had been told that he needed improvement by his supervisor Jenna, but not on what he needed to improve specifically. After a while, he was assigned a coach named Dan. Dan helped Gary map out what his current situation was, and then they set goals for improvement in the areas Gary might be lacking in. After a while, Gary felt a little better about his work, though he wasn’t sure if he was really improving. Dan came back to assess Gary after the goals were set. When he compared the results to his original assessment, Gary was happy to find that he had improved as he had thought, and he had Dan to thank for that reassurance.