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Do you know the difference between coaching and managing? It’s easy to confuse the two. Coaching is supporting employees in one-on-one settings by asking the questions that make them aware of issues they face in implementing. Management is the organization and coordination of the activities of a business in order to achieve defined objectives.

Every manager, supervisor or company exec has had to deal with an employee that seemed to have a bad attitude.

You can choose to manage the situation or coach the situation.

1. The Management Approach

Take the standard approach of noting the concerns customers and other company members have, then ask the employee what she is going to do about them.

Result: The discussion will be one of her focusing on single incidents, one after another. Instead of her focusing on what the problem really is, the focus will be on everything and anything else.

Once this conversation is finished, you sit back and hope she gets a better attitude. And, of course, you will dread having to hear from anyone that the attitude hasn’t changed because then what will you do? Your employee will leave, angry with herself for having to dredge up one unpleasant situation after another. No one enjoys defending poor behavior.

Using this standard approach, nothing will be resolved or discussed. You will fervently hope to hear nothing further. Your employee will leave angrier than when she came in, having made you a promise that she probably wouldn’t keep.

Does the phrase, “Doomed to failure,” ring a bell?

2. The Coaching Approach

Try using these two words, “You start,” to kick off your discussion. Just as a salesperson looks for a prospect to define pain, you must also look to your employee to define their pain.

Unless the salesperson is totally oblivious to her behavior, she knows how she is acting. Nothing is gained by a manager recounting the incidents. In fact, a recounting only encourages the employee to provide her side of the incidents as a defense. Are you interested in her defense or rather in her changing her behavior?

Result: By stating, “You start,” you are forcing the employee to tell you what the pain is, as opposed to symptoms of what the pain is. By keeping yourself out of the conversation, you develop rapport. In effect, you are saying that the employee’s pain is more important to discuss than the pain you get as a result.

The message you deliver with this approach—I want to listen. 


THOUGHT:
While you probably can’t solve your employee’s problem, you can help her define them, which is the first step to solving them.

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