Preparing Employees for a Future of Changes
The Boy Scouts' motto is “be prepared.” That is, don't go out into the wilderness without the accouterments of survival (food, bandages, mosquito spray, snake bite kit, and so on). And it's an adage applicable to the coaching and mentoring approach to managing.
As already touched upon, in the contemporary work environment, you had better be prepared to one day lose your job or change jobs by choice — and possibly in the proverbial New York minute. But, as this whole book will demonstrate, coaching and mentoring methodologies can transform seemingly negative work circumstances into very positive experiences.
Coaches recognize that employee turnover is a fact of life in the modern workplace. This sober reality, however, makes it even more vital that they fashion a work environment chock full of genuine challenges and opportunities for advancement. Coaches are charged with keeping dependable and skilled employees in the fold and encouraging outsiders to want in.
Fashioning Resilient Workers
If you haven't been “downsized,” “rightsized,” laid off, or given a pink slip yourself, you've perhaps witnessed what happens to some of the terminated minions on the corporate landscape these days. They're often given no warning at all, their computers are unplugged, and they're summarily and unceremoniously escorted out of the workplace by dour-faced security guards.
Some of the dismissed minions depart with a quiet dignity; some leave the premises with tears freely flowing; and still others part in a pique of rage, threatening retaliation against the company or a particular manager or executive. It's the complete human spectrum of personalities and emotions revealed in a moment of crisis. Whatever the means or reasons for the discharge, it is — to be sure — a humiliating affair for all concerned.
As already alluded to, coaching and mentoring practices strive to fashion an army of resilient workers proficient at quickly getting up off the ground when they get knocked for a loop. In the final analysis, coaching and mentoring tools and techniques are all about empowering people to move forward — to take the knocks and disappointments of life on the job without looking back and without ever wallowing in debilitating recriminations.
Empowering Employees with Knowledge and Skills
Ideally, coaching and mentoring in managerial circles furnish employees with a cornucopia of knowledge and skills that those without such leadership will never receive. Why? Because those who work with a qualified coach or mentor more fully understand and appreciate the ways and means of the twenty-first-century working world.
In order to consider yourself a coach in good standing, you must always lead by example, delegate important responsibilities, listen to and freely communicate with your staff, and treat each and every one of your employees as individuals with distinct personalities and unique abilities.
That is, they are not ignorant of the trials and tribulations that come with the territory, and they fully understand what is required of them to succeed. Contentedly lumbering about may suit manatees in the wide-open waters of the ocean. It doesn't, however, suit employees in the demanding, results-oriented, and often very stressful workplace of today.
Putting Out the Welcome Mat
Individuals on the move reign supreme in the workforce these days, assuring that the labor pool is in a perpetual state of motion. Thus, coaching and mentoring seek to fashion, as much as is humanly possible, workplace climes that encourage employees to stay put — that is, to remain in the companies that put a high premium on learning. When companies actively provide employees training in cutting-edge skills, place them in challenging job roles, and offer opportunities for promotion, relative stability is the natural byproduct.
Coaching and mentoring are not some mushy managerial dictums akin to cheerleading. They are, in fact, action-oriented and engaged approaches to managing employee performance. Coaches take the tested managerial model of plan, do, check, act, and raise it to a higher level by focusing on the maximization of individual productivity.
Vague promises to employees of what may, might, or could happen don't cut it anymore. While it's certainly unavoidable that there will be many changes in personnel in the overall life of any enterprise, this isn't meant to imply that fast-paced employee turnover is a positive thing and welcomed in any way, shape, or form. Both the retention and the attraction of the best and the brightest from the employee pool are coaching and mentoring's desired endgame
Enlightened management gives rise to loyalty by creating work environments that are magnets for employees with solid skills, self-motivation, and a hearty appetite for career growth and development. A business atmosphere that genuinely values and rewards achievement is where everyone wants to be, whether in managerial roles or in fledgling positions on the bottom rung of a corporate ladder.
Now more than ever, there is a bromide that rings truer with each passing day: “Good help is hard to find.” So, when you, as a coach, find employees who get the job done, you want to keep them in your fold for as long as is humanly possible. And, simultaneously, you always want to be on the lookout for fresh, energized talent. A wise coach always keeps one eye focused on today's work situation and the other eye on tomorrow's.