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Creating a Culture of Continuous Growth and Development Through Personalized Coaching and Support



I have seen firsthand the importance of personalized coaching and support in employee development. In today's fast-paced work environment, managers have a responsibility to give their employees the tools they need to succeed and help them reach their full potential. By embracing customized employee development, managers can become more effective and respected leaders, and create a culture of continuous growth and development.


In this article, I will discuss the importance of personalized coaching and support, and provide examples of how managers can implement these strategies to help their employees thrive.


The Research On Individualized Coaching


It's essential for managers to go beyond the standard resources offered by their company and provide customized coaching and support to each employee. A recent Gallup poll of Millennials found that almost 90% of them valued career growth and development opportunities, but less than 40% felt strongly that they had learned something new on the job in the past 30 days. Clearly, managers play a critical role in the experiences that younger employees have at work, accounting for at least 70% of the variance in engagement scores.


Over the past two decades, I have conducted dozens of my own research studies, which confirm that bosses matter a great deal, especially when it comes to learning and development. Exceptional leaders personalize their coaching, support, and teaching efforts. They don't just track the big learning opportunities granted to their employees. They also understand the nuances of how people are growing week by week and month by month and adjust their actions accordingly. As a result, they keep their teams engaged and excited.


Managing each report in this way might sound daunting, or downright impossible to many managers, given the demands on their time. However, I assure you that it's easier than you think. The key steps are to organize developmental information about your employees into a spreadsheet, consult and update these grids on a weekly basis, do a deeper dive every three months, talk to team members regularly, and consult the grid each year when writing performance evaluations.


A Process for Individualized Coaching


Taking 15 minutes at the end of each week to think about your team members and note any new information you've uncovered, specific interactions you've had, and steps you've taken to coach, teach, and provide support is a great way to keep track of their progress. If you find it hard to remember details, keep a notebook dedicated specially to your coaching efforts, jot down thoughts in real-time, and consult them when making these updates.


Doing a deeper dive every three months is also important. It's essential to identify patterns, assess progress, and evaluate coaching and development efforts. By doing so, you can adjust your actions and help your team members reach their full potential.


Talking to team members regularly is also a key component of personalized coaching and development. Managers should engage with people in the moment and on an ongoing basis, making these interactions a defining component of their work together. Showing team members that you understand what success looks like for them, specifically, and exactly what they need to do to improve can help build strong relationships and create a culture of continuous growth and development.


Finally, consulting the grid each year when writing performance evaluations is a great way to ensure that you provide accurate and meaningful feedback to your team members. By keeping track of their progress throughout the year, you can provide more insightful evaluations in much less time.


The Necessity of Individualized Support


Some managers might still object that they don't have room in their calendar to track each employee so closely. However, as a responsible manager, it's essential to give your team members what they need to excel and help them fulfill their potential. By taking this obligation seriously, they will be far more motivated to put out their best effort. With their hard work and your teaching, they'll become more skilled, perform better, stick around longer, and help attract more talent.


When managers embrace customized employee development, they become far more effective and admired bosses. They might even turn out to be exceptional ones. As a leadership and HR consultant, I strongly recommend that managers take these steps to personalize coaching and development for their team members and create a culture of continuous growth and development.


Common Challenges Managers Face When Providing Personalized Coaching and Support


I have seen that managers who provide personalized coaching and support to their employees face several common challenges. Here are a few:

  1. Time constraints: Managers often have competing demands on their time, and it can be challenging to find the time to provide personalized coaching and support to each employee. However, by prioritizing coaching and support and incorporating it into their regular routine, managers can make time for this important task.

  2. Lack of training: Many managers have not received formal training in coaching or mentoring, and may not know how to provide effective coaching and support to their employees. In this case, it's important to seek out training and resources to develop these skills.

  3. Resistance from employees: Some employees may be resistant to coaching and support, either because they don't see the value in it or because they feel uncomfortable receiving feedback. In this case, it's important for managers to communicate the benefits of coaching and support and to build trust with their employees over time.

  4. Limited resources: In some cases, managers may not have access to the resources they need to provide personalized coaching and support, such as training materials or development programs. In this case, it's important to advocate for these resources and to explore alternative options.

  5. Lack of follow-up: Even if managers are able to provide personalized coaching and support to their employees, it's important to follow up on these efforts to ensure that employees are making progress and achieving their goals.

By recognizing these common challenges and developing strategies to overcome them, managers can provide effective coaching and support to their employees. This will not only benefit the employees, but it will also benefit the organization as a whole by increasing employee engagement, retention, and performance.


Examples of How Managers Can Personalize Coaching and Support


I have come across many examples of how managers can personalize coaching and support to their employees. Here are a few:

  1. Ask employees about their preferred learning style: Managers can ask employees about their preferred learning style and adjust their coaching and support accordingly. For example, some employees may prefer visual aids, while others may prefer hands-on training.

  2. Set individual development goals: Managers can work with each employee to set individual development goals that are tailored to their strengths, weaknesses, and career aspirations. This will help to ensure that coaching and support are personalized and relevant to each employee.

  3. Provide feedback regularly: Managers should provide feedback regularly to their employees, rather than just at performance review time. This feedback should be specific, timely, and actionable, and it should be tailored to each employee's unique strengths and weaknesses.

  4. Give employees stretch assignments: Managers can give employees stretch assignments that challenge them and help them to develop new skills. These assignments should be tailored to each employee's strengths and career aspirations.

  5. Provide ongoing training and development opportunities: Managers can provide ongoing training and development opportunities to their employees, such as workshops, conferences, and online courses. These opportunities should be tailored to each employee's needs and interests.

By personalizing coaching and support in these ways, managers can help their employees to grow and develop in meaningful ways. This will not only benefit the employees, but it will also benefit the organization as a whole by increasing employee engagement, retention, and performance.


Measuring the Effectiveness of Personalized Coaching and Support


It's essential for managers to measure the effectiveness of personalized coaching and support to ensure that they're providing meaningful development opportunities to their employees. Here are a few ways that managers can measure the effectiveness of personalized coaching and support:

  1. Employee feedback: Managers can solicit feedback from their employees to gauge the effectiveness of their coaching and support efforts. This feedback can be gathered through surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one conversations. This feedback can help managers to identify areas for improvement and make adjustments to their coaching and support strategies.

  2. Performance metrics: Managers can track performance metrics, such as productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction, to measure the impact of their coaching and support efforts. If these metrics improve over time, it's a good indication that personalized coaching and support is having a positive impact on employee performance.

  3. Employee retention: High employee turnover can be a sign that employees are not receiving the coaching and support they need to succeed. By tracking employee retention rates, managers can determine if their coaching and support efforts are effective in retaining top talent.

  4. Career development: Managers can track the career development of their employees to measure the effectiveness of their coaching and support efforts. If employees are being promoted or taking on new responsibilities, it's a good indication that they're receiving the coaching and support they need to grow and develop in their careers.

By measuring the effectiveness of their coaching and support efforts, managers can ensure that they're providing meaningful development opportunities to their employees. This will not only benefit the employees, but it will also benefit the organization as a whole by increasing employee engagement, retention, and performance.


Conclusion


Personalized coaching and support is an essential component of employee development. Managers play a critical role in the experiences that employees have at work, and by providing customized coaching and support, they can help their employees to grow and develop in meaningful ways. By embracing these strategies, managers can create a culture of continuous growth and development, increase employee engagement and retention, and ultimately, drive business success. I strongly recommend that managers take a proactive approach to personalized coaching and support, and work closely with their employees to help them reach their full potential.

 

Jonathan H. Westover, PhD is Chief Academic & Learning Officer (HCI Academy); Chair/Professor, Organizational Leadership (UVU); OD Consultant (Human Capital Innovations). Read Jonathan Westover's executive profile here.



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