By David Kossoff, Kepner-Tregoe

Changing the way work gets done in a rapid-paced, day-to-day work environment can be daunting. Often, it is simply easier to fall back on old ways. But with the shift to remote working, and the need to maintain company success employees need to adapt to a new work environment. For the short-term the change may not be significant, but over time challenges to employee engagement, flexible scheduling and ongoing communication can present challenges that cannot be ignored.

Managers who act as coaches can stay involved in the work that people who report to them are pursuing—without micromanaging or assuming that work is progressing as usual. Acting as a coach or facilitator provides support to employees without interfering in or ignoring their day-to-day challenges.  A coach guides employees as they adapt to the new workflow, ensuring that new communications channels are properly used, accommodating flexible work hours and helping employees to adjust to any new responsibilities.

Change is never easy. Human change is even more difficult, but also the most transformative

All too often companies assume that their employees will adapt because they were asked to do so. That is rarely the case. Coaching ensures that expected behaviors are being reinforced in the workplace in a positive and supportive manner.

Feedback is a critical factor for performance success. Manager/Coaches can use feedback to address issues on a regular basis and provide opportunities for employees to learn and improve by using positive feedback that encourages them to make the extra effort and find ways that improve the way work is done. Coaching that is provided as support, not oversight, in a timely fashion through virtual platforms can address the employee’s daily routines in a short and targeted fashion. Good coaching is often the difference between making do and achieving new efficiencies and productivity.  Manager/coaches can help their teams work effectively, under pressure, by encouraging communication and guiding team members to the resources they need to make decisions and solve problems.

A coach acts as a catalyst making it easier for employees to find their own way, both independently and while working together in a group

Rather than just overseeing the action, the coach focuses individuals and groups to use their skills, insights and expertise to accomplish goals and act successfully. A coach that provides clear guidance in what is needed at the moment, helps people focus and then move ahead effectively.

 By asking the right questions and challenging others to take a fresh look at the situation, the coach removes their blinders (“we always do it like this!) to see the situation in new ways.

Managers control the involvement of the right people, but effective coaches help employees gain confidence in moving ahead by recognizing their capabilities…and responsibilities. When tough situations arise, coaches provide oversight and structure. Good coaching inspires individuals to develop their own expertise and insights, and find they are better equipped to step up and meet new challenges.

The silver lining in the way business workflows are evolving is that there is much opportunity for innovation in practices that may remain long after the pandemic is gone.  Having large numbers of your workforce across geographies, working within aggressive timeframes adds yet another layer of complexity in managing people. For those who are serious about executing good coaching practices there is not only the promise of substantial increase in efficiency and effectiveness but also on building the support and commitment from your team.  And, there is no stopping a team that is committed to its purpose!

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About Kepner-Tregoe

We all hope that you are well during this disruptive time in our world’s history.  For over 60 years our company, Kepner-Tregoe has had the opportunity to help major organizations navigate successfully through radical change, help solve intractable problems and increase incident and problem-management performance through tools, training and consulting – leading to highly effective teams ready to respond to your company’s most critical issues.