You have likely risen to your current role because you have some expertise. That expertise could be in the technical nature of your team’s work, for example, you were a great sales person, so you were promoted to sales manager, or you were the top engineer so you were promoted to chief engineer. You may have proven to have superior leadership skills so you advanced, or you may even have a combination of both technical and leadership skills.
Your expertise could be hindering your ability to coach
You would think that if you really know something, it should be easy to teach it to others. However, that is often not the case. When you have a high level of expertise in a role, it can be hard to train people in a skill. Why? Because what seems so obvious to you (because of your experience and expertise) is often far from obvious to the employees you are coaching
Here’s a simple example. If you are coaching someone to improve their presentation skills, you might tell them that having their hands in their pocket is a distraction. You are simply stating a piece of knowledge that you have picked up along the way. That fact doesn’t tell the person what to do (i.e., what motions or gestures they could use instead) that will help them learn to change their behavior.
Go beyond just sharing knowledge or facts
Before your next coaching session, think about the skill that you want the person to change or repeat. Focus your coaching and feedback on exactly what the person needs to do, the behaviors you want to see, and the actions you want the person to take, rather than just saying what’s right or wrong. That’s how employees will learn.
Think of it this way: In some ways it is no different from you talking to me in a foreign language that I don’t know. You are fluent in the language, so it comes easy to you, but I don’t understand it. No matter how badly I want to hear and use your feedback and coaching, if it all comes in another language, I won’t be able to access it, and therefore your coaching will be less effective than either one of us wishes.
The next time (and every time) you are coaching, help employee to know what skills you want them to use. When you do, you will have significantly greater results!
For information on how to build your confidence as a coach, check my recent video: