Robert-photo-w-icon-150-4-7-10-FINAL4-150x150Leaders are change agents. The most effective leaders drive change through coaching that inspires action. It’s almost impossible to overstate the role that coaching plays in transforming behavior.

You could be a sales leader seeking to change your company’s selling process. Or, perhaps you are an Operations leader trying to improve a production process. Or, maybe you are a senior leader striving to elevate initiative and employee engagement to improve company performance. You will not achieve your goal without your personal commitment to coaching your team through the change process.

Getting the coaching process right is hard work – achieving desired results is determined by how well it is performed. It is not a “check-the-box” activity.  Coaching progresses over time so there must be continuity from one coaching discussion to the next. Here are 3 keys to coaching change:

  1. Affirm the developmental role.

Position the coaching process as a developmental exercise, not a performance management requirement. The targeted change represents an evolution to which the company is committed so that it remains competitive, and valuable to customers and other stakeholders. The coaching discussions are intended to help each member of your team gather knowledge and develop skills to help them progress to the expected behavior. Knowledge comes from study – skills come through practice.

  1. Understand expected behavior.

As Covey counsels, begin with the end in mind. Define critical expected behaviors in detail, and connect them to your Purpose and Core Values. Examples of detailed behaviors are: “Respond to email inquiries in less than 4 hours,” or “ensure that work-in process inventory does not exceed ‘x’,” or “actively participate in a minimum of two cross-functional change initiatives.” When change is intended to impact an entire organization, it is most productive to establish common Purpose as a unifying, cohesive reason for the change initiative.

  1. Specify necessary behavioral changes.

Change progress is measured on the basis of how consistently the expected behaviors are demonstrated. Define an objection evaluation process to measure progress. Coaches can then provide specific and objective feedback to identify gaps and guide the required behavioral change. This preserves a distinctive focus of the coaching for each individual, preventing the process from being generic, subjective or overwhelming.

How engaged are you as a leader in coaching change?

How might these 3 keys help enhance your coaching process?