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Management Concepts, Incorporated
Anytime Coaching: Unleashing Employee Performance

Anytime Coaching: Unleashing Employee Performance

by Teresa Wedding Kloster, Wendy Sherwin Swire


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Transform Your Workplace with Anytime Coaching The Practical Leader series offers a roadmap for individuals striving to achieve leadership effectiveness within the context of today’s complex world. Each book explores a different essential element of successful leadership, providing readers with insightful, real-world perspectives, as well as practical tools and techniques, to help them maximize their potential—-personally and professionally. Real-life stories, practical tips and techniques, and the Anytime Coaching model equip managers with a set of coaching tools they can use immediately to transform the way they work with employees and colleagues. This second edition describes how recent findings in neuroscience support the effectiveness of Anytime Coaching practices. You will also discover how the practice of mindfulness can enhance your ability to observe yourself and others. Practical tools and exercises to help you be more present, aware, and focused in day-to-day interactions are included. Whether you lead a cross-functional team on a short-term project or formally manage large groups of people on a daily basis, Anytime Coaching will help you improve performance and achieve results.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781567262377
Publisher: Management Concepts, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/01/2009
Pages: 186
Product dimensions: 7.01(w) x 10.04(h) x 0.51(d)

About the Author

Teresa Wedding Kloster is an executive coach and consultant in leadership development. Her company, Kloster and Associates, helps organizations develop leaders through executive coaching, designing leadership development strategies and programs, and delivering workshops on leadership, management, and coaching skills, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and performance management.
Wendy Sherwin Swire is Principal of Swire Solutions, LLC, a consulting firm that improves workplace performance through executive coaching, consulting, training, neuroleadership, and conflict resolution services. A certified executive coach, she works with clients throughout the United States as well as in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Africa.

Read an Excerpt

Anytime Coaching

Unleashing Employee Performance

By Teresa Wedding Kloster, Wendy Sherwin Swire

Management Concepts Press

Copyright © 2009 Management Concepts, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-56726-237-7


It All Begins with You

"We must be the change we wish to see in the world." — Mahatma Gandhi, Indian Spiritual and political independence leader

As a well-known saying goes, "No matter where you go, there you are." Amusing and paradoxical as it may be, the saying is true. After all, it is you who shows up at work every day and you who returns home, watches TV, goes out with friends, takes a class, or reads a book. Learning a bit more about yourself is a good starting point for your journey as an anytime coach. What you learn from this book will add to, revise, or replace beliefs, knowledge, and skills you have now.

In this chapter, we ask you to think deeply about the "self" you bring to the study of Anytime Coaching. You will complete several informal self-assessments that focus on your beliefs about work and managing others, as well as your skills, knowledge, and preferences. Then we encourage you to reflect on what you have discovered. You might even want to retake the assessments once you have read the entire book and have implemented some of the practices.

Undoubtedly, you already use some of the skills of Anytime Coaching. As we have shown in the Anytime Coaching model, the core practices of observing, inquiring, listening, and responding are linked to one another. When anytime coaches employ all four practices, the result is day-to-day performance improvement. Surrounding and supporting these four are the additional practices of self-awareness and self- development.

Who Is the Self I Bring to Anytime Coaching?

Each reader will answer this question differently — but do take some time to answer it. The self-assessments that follow will help you determine your current skills and beliefs, which will influence how you adopt and apply Anytime Coaching skills. The immediate goal is to boost your understanding of your skill as an employee, a manager, or a leader. There will be no "score" for the assessments — just increased awareness of what self you bring to Anytime Coaching.

To begin, the exercises that follow ask that you think deeply about your work, your beliefs about work itself, your workplace, your employees, and your role as a manager. You will base your new learning about Anytime Coaching on these core beliefs.

Thinking about Work

What are your thoughts about paid work in general? Do you think of work as providing opportunities for creativity, or does it seem merely routine? Do you think mostly of the problems immediately before you, or are you able to envision the future?

Our first jobs, our parents' work experiences, anecdotes from others about their own jobs, and our personal preferences all contribute to our beliefs about what work is and why we do it. People who see work as part of a larger pattern in their lives — as a means for making a contribution, getting recognition for a job well done, or developing personal strengths — will find that Anytime Coaching skills are relevant to both the practical side of work (completing tasks and being paid) and its more personal aspects (such as professional growth and fulfillment). If we tend to think of work as simply a burden to be endured so that we can pay the bills, we may view Anytime Coaching skills as a way to transform our work.

Thinking about Your Role as a Manager

Anyone who has held a job has also had a boss. Whether your early working experiences were positive or not will influence your own behavior when it is your turn to lead others. The management training you have had has likely influenced your understanding of your role, too. And of course, your relationship with your own manager will have a direct effect on how you interact with your employees.

To manage others most effectively, you must be confident in your own beliefs but also open to new behaviors and attitudes. Whether you are a "command and control" manager or friendly and affable, learning new skills will test what you already believe. Most people who manage the work of others find that they must create a balance between motivating employees to do what is required and to proactively and continuously seek and develop creative solutions that fit ever-changing circumstances.

Thinking about Your Skills, Knowledge, and Preferences

An accurate assessment of your skill level, knowledge base, and preferences in social and work styles will help you as you learn the skills of Anytime Coaching. Even if some coaching skills are new to you, you are likely to succeed if you are committed to learning them. And if you are able to acknowledge freely that you do not have all the answers at work (even though you might be the boss), learning Any-time Coaching skills will help you get the best from everyone else's knowledge and expertise.

When it comes to personal preferences in work and social styles, knowing what your tendencies are can be helpful. For example, if you strive for speed at all costs, you may learn a lot just by slowing down a bit to have thorough coaching conversations. If you are naturally gregarious and outgoing, you may decide to be less talkative to build your listening skills.

Thinking about Your Organization

Assessing your organization's approach to getting work done is an important step as you begin to try out new coaching behaviors. As a worker, you exist within a network of other workers. Some are your peers, some are "above" you in the hierarchy, and some may be "below" you. Organizations in which hierarchically driven behavior is pervasive and ingrained may be less hospitable to some coaching behaviors. On the other hand, workplaces in which people at all levels freely mingle, sharing ideas up and down the chain, may be more open to Anytime Coaching. Practicing what you learn is essential, so it is helpful to be aware of the culture of your work environment.

How you see your own work and your role as a worker; your skills, knowledge, and preferences; and your organizational culture will influence every coaching conversation you have. These elements are the foundation on which every coaching conversation rests. As your understanding of each deepens, you can begin to build the skills that will make you a successful anytime coach in your particular environment.

The Practices of Anytime Coaching

In the pages ahead, we will talk about the key practices of Anytime Coaching. The word "practices" is significant here. A practice is something you do regularly, with the goal of continual, broad improvement. For example, a pianist practices scales and finger exercises to build greater facility in playing entire sonatas and concertos. A basketball player practices dribbling and hook shots to develop particular skills essential to playing the game well. You, too, must practice individual skills to be successful in the game of Anytime Coaching.

So what do you practice? The key practices are observing, inquiring, listening, and responding. What happens when you employ all these skills effectively? Day-to-day performance improvement.

Let's begin with the practice of observing.


The Practice of observing

"Accuracy of observation is the equivalent of accuracy of thinking." — Wallace Stevens, American Poet

Now that you know that coaching begins with you, the manager, you are ready to begin exploring the practices of Anytime Coaching. These practices will guide you in creating new ways of interacting with your employees — ways that enhance their performance and your relationships with them. You will learn and use new and powerful approaches to inquiring, listening, and responding.

Our first stop is the practice of observing, because it is by observing that you create an effective foundation for all the other practices.

The Powerful Practice of Observing

What is the practice of observing? Webster's New World Dictionary defines it as "the act, practice, or power of noticing." Observing requires you to accurately and objectively notice the people, activities, events, and communication around you with a fresh perspective. Through close observation, you will notice qualities in your employees you may have missed before, and you will pay closer attention to nonverbal cues and emotions. The practice of observing both intensifies and widens your focus.

As you develop as an anytime coach, you will learn that observing is an essential foundation for the other skills outlined in the Anytime Coaching model. For example, observing leads to asking powerful questions. Your questions will be based on what you notice as you observe your employees' verbal and nonverbal communication. Observing complements listening; as you move beyond merely hearing what employees say, you will practice a deeper form of listening that yields more information. Observing also allows you to respond to your employees in the most appropriate way. Finally, observing helps you notice opportunities for results-focused Anytime Coaching — and results are, of course, the ultimate goal of your coaching conversations.

Why is observing a powerful practice for Anytime Coaching? First, observing employees' best qualities (a new practice for many managers) helps build a positive foundation for employee-manager interactions. You will find this leads to greater collaboration, commitment, and trust in your working relationships. Second, observing enables you to learn significant details about your employees. You will notice verbal, nonverbal, and emotional cues and will likely find that your employees have interests and capabilities of which you were not aware and that can be explored during your coaching. Finally, self-observation will help you understand your own style and preferences when interacting with others. As we will see, this is particularly important if your management style is more directive than collaborative — if you tend to tell more than ask.

You will learn how to engage in the practice of observing in three ways:

1. Observing positive qualities and possibilities in your employees. Employees' good qualities and potential too often go unnoticed. We offer techniques to help you change how you observe your employees and uncover positive possibilities.

2. Observing nonverbal cues and the emotions underlying employees' words. What role do these play in communication? We provide exercises to help you decode the clues. We also discuss the importance of congruence between verbal, vocal, and visual communication and of becoming a nonjudgmental observer.

3. Observing whether you have a tendency to direct, not coach. We will help you notice whether you often tell others what to do instead of coaching. We urge you to take note of your impatient, performance-oriented "fast results gene" (FRG) and explain how to tame it, allowing you to coach more effectively.

We begin the practice of observing by focusing on positive possibilities in others.

"The person who sends out positive thoughts activates the world around him positively and draws back to himself positive results." — Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking

Observing Positive Qualities and Possibilities in Your Employees

Rather than focusing on employees' weaknesses, look at the larger picture. Think about what each employee does well and how his or her work style is effective. This sounds simple, but observing positive qualities takes focus and practice.

Why is it hard to look for positive possibilities in others? Managers generally are not trained in or rewarded for observing the positive. Instead, most managers are skilled at, and rewarded for, solving problems. They pay attention to what is not working and fix it. There is less apparent short-term incentive to ask: "What is working really well with my employees, and how can I build on their strengths?"

Managers get very comfortable, perhaps too comfortable, observing a situation or an employee through the lens of problem solving. They then perceive their employees as problems that need fixing or improvement. It becomes easy and automatic to ask: "How did this employee not meet performance expectations?" "What does this person lack?"

We believe it is a huge shift in perspective to first notice your employees' positive qualities and then determine what can be improved. When you do so, the positive qualities and possibilities you notice may seem simple. But they are important building blocks, and observing good qualities is an essential aspect of becoming an anytime coach. Observing is how you begin to notice the potential in others and find possibilities for them.

Getting Started in Observing Positives

Here are some examples of positive qualities to look for in each of your employees:

* Does this person work hard? Put in long hours?

* Is he or she punctual?

* Is he or she trustworthy?

* Is he or she modest and humble?

* Is his or her work detailed or thorough?

* Does he or she perform well when working in a group?

* Does he or she take feedback well?

* Does he or she have a sense of humor?


Anytime coaches notice their employees' positive qualities and look for positive possibilities in them.

The following scenario illustrates the power of seeing an employee with new eyes and the possibilities created by doing so.

Observing with a New Perspective: Mark and Pat's Story

Mark, a manager, joins an organization, inheriting Pat, an unmotivated, underperforming employee. The previous manager had given up on Pat. But Mark sees the employee with new eyes and a fresh perspective. Mark notices Pat's verbal and nonverbal communication and tries to observe her emotions. She is very quiet, withdrawn, and nervous during team meetings. Mark sees Pat not as someone who lacks motivation, but as a person with unrealized potential. As Mark coaches and encourages her, Pat's work begins to improve within a few months. Everyone in the department is surprised by Pat's strong performance, and the team dubs Mark a "turnaround" manager. But Mark is not a "turnaround" manager. Rather, he tries to see people in a positive manner, looking for potential and opportunity in everyone through the practice of observing.

Seeing with New Eyes

We have witnessed scenarios like this one and have heard many other stories about turnaround situations — how a new manager brought a different perspective to a workplace. These stories are powerful examples of what happens when a manager who uses Anytime Coaching skills sees an employee in a new way. The employee responds to this by coming alive and achieving better results. We believe such opportunities also await you, the anytime coach, beginning with the practice of observing.

How did Mark observe positive possibilities in Pat? Mark noticed that Pat was painfully shy, very quiet, and overly detail-oriented. The previous manager thought these qualities were a problem in a team setting. But Mark saw tremendous potential in Pat that could benefit her as well as the team. For example, she could do project analysis by herself, taking the time to dig into the details. She could write up reports on her findings and would not be required to attend frequent team meetings, where she froze up. When Pat was encouraged to do this critical, detailed analytical work, she was thrilled and thrived in her position.

By focusing on your employees' positive qualities and what is working, you will notice possibilities for them that you overlooked before. You may find they have skills or talents that you had not noticed. Tasks that build upon an employee's strengths and gifts may become obvious. Possibilities may include finding new ways to get a job done or coming up with innovative methods for tackling a problem. Positive possibilities can be explored and discussed in coaching conversations with the employee.

"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." — Max Planck, German physicist


Excerpted from Anytime Coaching by Teresa Wedding Kloster, Wendy Sherwin Swire. Copyright © 2009 Management Concepts, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Management Concepts Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Preface: Why Anytime Coaching?,
Introduction: Anytime Coaching in a Changing World,
Chapter 1: It All Begins with You,
Chapter 2: The Practice of Observing,
Chapter 3: The Practice of Inquiring,
Chapter 4: The Practice of Listening,
Chapter 5: The Practice of Responding,
Chapter 6: Improving Day-to-Day Performance,
Chapter 7: Your Path to Becoming an Anytime Coach,
Principles of Anytime Coaching,

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