3 Easy Coaching Tips You Can Start Using Today

1. Become more approachable in informal interactions by spending more time “wandering” in the office and treating employees like customers, asking questions, expressing ideas, sharing feelings, philosophies, values, etc., including discussions on personal hobbies or interests, so employees perceive you as more concerned and approachable.

2. Look for a teachable or coachable moment, e.g., a brief learning opportunity that might arise from an observation or a meeting that the two of you may be attending. Take a few minutes to simply debrief about the event and then move on.

3. When one of your direct reports asks for help, resist the desire to provide solutions. Instead, first listen carefully so that you have a better understanding of the situation and the issues. Second, ask non-threatening and non-challenging questions that help the employee think through the issues and find a better solution.


Time-Tested Tips For Managing Conflict

Conflict is inherent in our work and personal lives. However, if handled properly, conflict can actually be an opportunity to strengthen a work relationship.  Here are a few time-tested tips that can help you get past unproductive conflict:

When working with teams, take a brief moment to consider each individual’s frame of reference. This will really pay off if disagreements arise, as you will be able to understand where each person is coming from and how the decisions you are making will affect them. Your understanding of each individual’s perspective will also allow them to feel heard, even if they are not in complete agreement with your decisions.

When there is a problem, look for solutions without emphasis on blaming and complaining when things go wrong. Be action-oriented—where do we go from here, what is the next step?

Think strategically in conflict situations. Recognize the difference between what you can change, what you cannot allow, and what you must accept in order to reach a solution.

Managing conflict does not mean everyone agrees. Sometimes as a manager, you need to ask for individual’s help even if they do not agree with the plan of action.

Are You Prepared For Tomorrow’s Workplace?

Young Businessman Thinking and Wondering While Writing a Paper
Because the workforce is changing so rapidly, it’s not surprising that a recent study by Oxford Economics determined that the top concern for employees today is having their position change or become obsolete.  How can you minimize the danger of becoming obsolete? Start by focusing on the following competencies:

Filling the leadership gap
10,000 baby boomers are retiring each day, leaving a large leadership gap.  Although organizations tend to be flatter these days, there is still a need for individuals that can inspire and persuade others and provide a vision for the organization. Think about how you can minimize the resistance to change in your staff.  In addition to providing educational opportunities, you will need to provide constant communication and feedback in order to obtain buy-in for the inevitable changes ahead.

The pace of technological change keeps increasing
Prior to 1900, human knowledge doubled approximately every century. Currently, that rate is at about 12 months.  It’s possible with the proliferation of the “internet of things”, that human knowledge could eventually double every 12 hours!  We are in a change or die environment. You should aim to keep up-to-date not only with emerging technologies in your own area of expertise, but also in a broader sense. Take steps now to integrate a constant growth mindset into your personality.

The fastest growing economies are in Asia
The workplace is becoming an increasingly diverse environment.  It is not enough to focus on individual personality differences with co-workers and colleagues.  You must take the time to educate yourself about cultural differences.  Even subtle differences in communication patterns can be extremely important in your business dealings, so take every opportunity you can to meet diverse individuals and learn about their cultures.

An increasing focus on STEM and other technical skills has lead to a neglect of “people skills”
Of course your technical skills are important.  Your skill set is probably the main reason why you were hired and it’s difficult to be successful without serious depth in your discipline.  But in order to advance in your career, you are going to need to collaborate with others and navigate the sometimes tricky world of organizational politics. To be an effective leader in today’s diverse and global environment, you must strengthen your interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.

Big Data has become the air we breathe
According to a recent Deloitte report, “analytics is becoming both the air that we breathe  – and the ocean in which we swim”.  While you may not need to be a serious “number cruncher”, you will need to a basic understanding of analytics to make sound business decisions.  Don’t rely on the excuse that you are “not mathematically oriented”.  Take an online course or partner with someone in your office that has a natural inclination toward analytics.