As anyone who has been in recruitment for a while knows, the subtle and varied skills of our industry are best learned ‘on the job’, and they are always best communicated with the help of a mentor or coach, usually your manager, who can show how things work in real life.
There are stats on this you can dig up I am sure, but experience has shown me that people learn by doing things, seeing things done and being coached in real time. Sure, classroom-style training has a place, but coaching is often more powerful as a real learning method.
People often ask me, what exactly is ‘coaching,’ and how can we learn to coach our teams more effectively? Well, the way I understand it is that there are two primary functions of the ‘coach’.
Firstly a good coach focuses a great deal on the positive. In fact, I believe recognition – for things done well – is a highly effective way to reinforce behaviours you want to see repeated. What’s more, that recognition should come publicly and as soon after the behaviour actually happens as possible. Funnily enough, although this aspect of coaching is the easiest and the most positive, I notice many managers find recognition hard to give. It’s as if we are not a ‘real’ manager unless we are always pointing out fault and deficiency in people. In my view, that could not be more wrong.
The second primary function of a great mentor or coach (which is what every leader needs to be) is of course correction of behaviours and deficient activity levels. Importantly though, this guidance can and should be given in small bite-size chunks, in real-time and often ‘on the run’. There’s no need in most cases for a ‘meeting’ or ‘special training session’. Often this correction is as simple as a two minute debrief when the recruiter puts down the phone to a client or candidate. How could we have promoted that candidate more effectively? When the client said this, did you think of saying that?
My next four posts over the coming weeks will drill down on some great ‘on the job’ coaching tactics that I have learned and used over the years, and from which I have seen fantastic outcomes in terms of professional development of the teams I have run.
First topic up next week will be ‘Coaching via live feedback’.
- Posted by Greg Savage
- On June 28, 2010
- 4 Comments