Working Within an Ethical Framework
There is a flip side to this ethical coin. How do you as a coach confront the ethical conundrums that arise from the employee side of the office? And where exactly do you fix these moral and ethical boundaries? What can you, as a coach and a leader of men and women in a business setting, legitimately expect from your staff's on-the-job behaviors?
What follows is a guiding framework for you to operate within, which should assist you in establishing such boundaries, and in walking that sometimes very fine line between respecting people for who and what they are and demanding that your employees respect what you are trying to accomplish in job performance.
As a coach, you are not required to manage as some sort of equalizer. You are not expected to parcel out your time on an equal basis. Some employees need more counsel and more of your time than do others. Recognizing who needs a little extra attention — and when it is needed — is an important part of a coach's job.
The Three Ps and Values Versus Virtue
First and foremost, never lose sight of the three Ps of coaching and mentoring: people, performance, and positive outcomes. Give your employees as much latitude — responsibilities and challenges — as possible, but never cut them adrift. Pay careful attention to their every move! Keep a watchful eye on their individual progress in all job roles and office projects, while wholly accepting that specific talents and temperament vary widely from person to person.
Also, scrupulously differentiate between values and virtue. Very often these two words are used interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing! You may have a completely different set of values than one of your employees. Respect that this gulf exists and that there's nothing you can do about it. But don't ever confuse values with virtue, which is something you must possess and insist that all of your employees likewise uphold.
Virtue is integrity; it's honesty. Virtue on the job means, among many things, reliability. And employee reliability is what you need — always — to achieve positive outcomes. For instance, you may disapprove of how an employee on your staff disciplines her children away from the job. (You heard it in the gossip mill.) That's a completely different situation than the same employee covering up her mistakes in her job role with lies and distortions, or shifting the blame onto others.
Make Your Expectations Realistic
Be certain you have realistic expectations for your employees on a personal basis. John may thrive in a pressure cooker. Melanie, on the other hand, may be productive in a more sanguine setting. Recognize and reward progress, not just results. By offering positive feedback along the way, you will ensure positive results.
As a coach, you've been given the imposing responsibility to shape a work environment to a great extent in your own image. And so it's your job — and duty — to forge a workplace with high morale and a highly motivated staff of people. This doesn't mean that you are a people pleaser come hell or high water. It's not part of your job description to give the office the feel and flavor of a Madonna concert. It is, however, your obligation as a coach to construct a work setting that's most conducive to heightened productivity.
Make Adjustments — But Never to Ethical Standards
Impressive results more often than not come out of a contented, galvanized group of people. A bunch of malcontents is not ordinarily a very productive group (unless they're in a band or are comedy writers). So this may require that you, from time to time, make adjustments to various employee performance plans, and even some concessions on occasion to the disparate idiosyncrasies in your employees' personalities.
However — and this is a biggie — no adjustments or concessions should ever be made to the core ethical standards that you lay down. You must insist that each and every member of your team respect these ethical boundaries. And, of course, you yourself must painstakingly abide and live within them.