COACHING is about finding out the cause of poor performance or behaviour and discussing with the team member how to put it right.

The team member might respond immediately to coaching and improve the situation. However the improvement will not always be permanent and you may have to do further coaching.

When I suggest this to some managers, they are not sure how to approach the issue. It's quite simple - tell the team member what part of his behaviour you're unhappy with, listen to what he has to say and agree on a way forward.

The goal is to achieve a change in behaviour that the team member is committed to and which helps you achieve your targets.

Coaching benefits

Think of a time when somebody - a teacher, parent or boss -coached, taught or encouraged you to get better at something.

When I ask this question at a seminar I get reponses such as: "I felt good, inspired, motivated, pleased, confident, wanted to do better." This is what you are aiming for in your team.

Here are some benefits that coaching brings:

1. Increased productivity

The first objective of coaching is to resolve poor behaviour. If it's done properly, then the team member will become more productive.

2. Knowing what's expected

Coaching allows you to make it very clear to your team members what is expected of them. Many managers fall into the trap of "assuming" that the team member knows what he is supposed to do.

This is the cause of many examples of poor behaviour. For example, the team member didn't know that "reports had to be submitted by the 15th of the month". He didn't know "he could give the customer his money back" or that he had to be "on time for the meeting".

Coaching allows you to calmly and clearly tell your team member what he has to achieve.

3. Motivated to change

The only real motivation comes from within. Coaching allows you to create the environment where the team member makes the decision that he must change.

This means that he is more committed to the change and it's more likely to happen. It's also easier on you because you don't have to "drive" the person to make the changes.

4. Knowing you care

If you coach, your people will see you as supportive and understanding. They will know that you are not just "picking" on them and that you are looking for a win-win situation.

5. Less stress

If you coach poor behaviour as and when it occurs, then you are likely to have far fewer interviews in which you have to give your team members a warning. The manager who ignores poor behaviour lets the situation build up and then finds himself in the "warning" situation, which is unpleasant for all parties.

6. Happy team

A well coached team is confident, happy and productive. That means better results, for you and your team members and your organisation.