How to retain and motivate staff in a changing world

In today’s climate, as business leaders and managers you need to retain and motivate key staff.  When times are hard employees can be fearful and building trust is vital in order to get the best out of people.  Jackie Arnold explores how a coaching style of management can achieve significant results.

Coaching gets results
A study a few years ago by the International Personnel Management Association noted that ordinary training typically increased productivity by 22%, while training combined with coaching increased productivity by 88% – amazing!
In the 2016 Executive Coaching Survey carried out by Sherpa Coaching it was found that internal coaching had risen by 40% over the past four years. It also reports that the purpose of coaching has shifted from problem solving and assisting transition to pro-active leadership development.

Developing your coaching skills
In my view coaching is not a tool, it is a way of being.  At best it is a way of being with someone so that they begin to believe in, and progress, their own ideas. Using a coaching style can greatly enhance the self-belief and motivation of staff, particularly in times of change and uncertainty.
In my experience coaching works best when:
• The session is totally confidential (and agreed with all parties)
• You can create a calm and relaxed one to one session
• You refrain from making judgements
• Issues can be explored and staff feel supported
• You do not offer any advice or suggestions (that’s mentoring)
• You totally believe that the employee has the answers/can develop
• The focus as a coach is not so much on the content as on the coaching process/style

Coaching is to a great extent a particular mindset and way of being in a respectful conversation with another person.  A manager as coach will believe in the potential of the employee and work with them to nurture that potential.
Employees are then more willing to take responsibility for their progress and feel motivated when they are encouraged and valued.

Coaching tip:
Try using the following model which I developed as a result of course participants requesting a ‘coaching in the corridor’ model for use in business.
The S. T. A. R. T  model.
S – Stop ……the chatter in your head and stop solution giving
T – Think ……for a moment what the individual wants or needs
A – Ask ……..a coaching style question (‘what’ usually starts a good one)
R – Reflect …back what you hear using their language in your next question
T – Trust …….that the individual will find inner resources to solve the issue

When using coaching skills as a line manager or team leader watch out for the following traps when coaching:

• Trying to help people or fix the problem for them
• Jumping in with your ideas or suggestions
• Making them feel you are the expert
• Letting them know you know more than they do

However, training to gain further skills or qualifications in coaching can minimise these risks.

Coaching is definitely not a quick fix.  It needs to be carefully considered and contracts and agreements drawn up between all stakeholders.  Nonetheless as a manager using coaching skills in the workplace you can greatly enhance the motivation and willingness of staff to take ownership of their development.  This will free you up to do the job you were employed to do and enable you to delegate more effectively.
Jackie Arnold
Jackie  – Executive coach and Director of Coach 4 Executives.  She delivers consultancy on coaching and mentoring in management and coaches & supervises senior leaders 1-2-1 and virtually in groups via audio-visual platforms.
Many of the case studies in her latest book “Coaching skills for Leaders in the Workplace” (See below) published by Little Brown August 2016 are taken from real examples of coaching programmes set up by her clients and course participants.

Coaching Skills for Leaders - how to retain and motivate staff
Coaching Skills for Leaders – how to retain and motivate staff