The cafeteria on the 9th floor is mostly empty as James and Ceci plunk down their trays at a table near the window, out of earshot.
They began on the same day six months ago, both newly-minted grads starting their careers in the company’s corporate marketing department, working for different managers.
As new employees, they’ve been “strongly encouraged” to work in the office 2-3 days a week. Even though their managers and teammates are rarely around whenever they come in, they enjoy catching up with each other at lunch and –they hope—to make connections with people on other teams.
While they begin to pick at their food, the difference in their energy levels is stark. “I had the best meeting with my manager yesterday,” exclaims Ceci. “She always asks such great questions! Yesterday she asked what I like best about my work and what kind of support I need. When I told her I’d like to shadow someone I can learn from, she suggested a few different people, and offered to help set something up. I’m learning something new every day!”
“That’s pretty much the opposite of my experience,” says James glumly. “My manager cancelled our 1:1 meeting again, saying that if I need anything I should ‘feel free to reach out.’ I’m always waiting on him to tell me what I should be working on, and I get no feedback on the stuff I do. He’s constantly forgetting the goals we set during my first few weeks here. It’s almost as if he forgets why he even hired me! I’m gonna start returning recruiters’ calls.”
Same department, same start date. Different managers, different mindsets. One manager is committed to see her new employee thrive, and the other is on the verge of never seeing his new employee ever again.
Leaders need coaching skills like never before if they want to engage, motivate and retain top talent, and yet relatively few organizations have given managers the coaching skills they need to succeed in today’s hybrid world.
Why are coaching skills so important right now, especially for younger workers?
🔹Unambiguous frequent feedback can help reduce stress and provide needed confidence
What coaching skills are most important and most challenging in a hybrid workplace?
Here’s how more than 100 coach/managers responded when I asked what they see as the most important coaching skills that are especially tough to pull off in a virtual/hybrid world:
🔑Coaxing people out of their comfort zone
What does a great 1:1 coaching conversation look like?
✔️ Conclude each session with agreed-upon actions and ways each of you will follow up. For example, you may promise to connect them to a leader in other department or to sponsor them as a subject matter expert at an upcoming conference. They might commit to trying role-playing techniques for managing difficult meeting behavior and then reporting back. Establish a timeline whenever possible.
Where to start?
📝Invite your rock star coaches to act as role models for others, whether by leading a training session, recording a few brief how-to videos, or unpacking their knowledge for instructional designers to work from.
Need evidence that coaching skills have never matterd more?
In a recent Gallup report, 49% of employees quitting their organizations say no one had spoken to them in a meaningful way about their performance in the previous three months. And a scant 15% of employees believe that any recent conversation with their manager inspired them to achieve. Employee engagement can leap from 33-80% if managers hold just one meaningful conversation a week with each employee. If that doesn’t make a compelling case for action, I don’t know what does!
From Guided Insights:
- Downloadable PDF, with dozens of coaching questions and helpful links – https://www.guidedinsights.com/wp-content/uploads/Coaching_questions.pdf
Past Communiques from Guided Insights:
- Mentoring From Afar – Go the Distance To Grow Top Talent – Guided Insights
- Why advancement, growth and visibility shouldn’t depend on work location – Guided Insights
- Leadership Tips for Retaining Top Talent During a Time of Turbulence – Guided Insights
- What Gen Z wants in a job – The Washington Post
- Want to make an impact? Change your questioning habits. (strategy-business.com)
- Managing Introverts and Extroverts in the Hybrid Workplace (hbr.org)
- How to Mentor in a Remote Workplace (hbr.org)
- Onboarding Can Make or Break a New Hire’s Experience (hbr.org)
- How to trust and verify remote workers are productive (qz.com)
Workshops from Guided Insights – all customized for each client