A part of every leader's job is to provide the coaching necessary to each of the individuals on the team. The challenge is that sometimes we end up coaching about something that happened recently, or that most stands out, rather than on what would most affect the future results of the person. At other times, we might struggle with how to evaluate what the needs of our people are and what would be most helpful.
In my work with sales managers whose ability to coach salespeople is critical to success, I teach the acronym "BOSS" as a tool for thinking about coaching needs and to quickly evaluate what might be most useful for each individual. BOSS helps to quickly identify a person's coaching needs.
This method will also work as you evaluate the needs of other staff members. Let's look at what each letter represents.
What are the behaviors of your team member? This is what they do, not how it. What are the critical behavior activities the person needs to be involved in for success? For a salesperson it might include the number of calls, the contacts he makes, and the emails he sends. It would also include things like eating, drinking, and exercise. How organized is this person? How well does she use the resources available? Taking a close look at behaviors might provide an area rich for coaching. After all, it doesn't matter how great someone is at something if she never actually does it.
This is the area that has the biggest affect on results once you have a team of A players. Outlook is how someone feels in any given moment. It changes. It could be outlook toward himself, the marketplace, the economy, the competition, the company, and toward you or any other person or thing. Stay in tune with the changing outlooks of your team members, and you'll be way ahead in performance. When quickly evaluating coaching needs, simply ask yourself which outlook has changed.
This is how your team members do something, not what they do. What level of skill do they employ at the tasks they are doing? If it's a salesperson you're evaluating, you might look at the quality of the questions he's asking, and how he describes the company and its product or services. If the person is utilizing a technology essential to her role, how skilled is she in its use? People can be working hard but not effectively. When evaluating coaching needs, you might ask, "Is there a particular skill they need to improve?"
This phrase is meant to capture the "essence" of how people are viewed by others. Their look, their tone, online presence, or anything that changes the way they are viewed by others. If they need to be respected, do they have the demeanor of a trusted advisor? Is the way others view them commensurate with how they need to be viewed to be enjoying the highest level of success and cooperation from others?
When you need to quickly evaluate the coaching needs of your employees, remember to use the acronym BOSS. As in, "What would it take for them to someday be the boss?" This is a significant question because all great leaders are actively involved in grooming the best future bosses of their organizations, and that only happens through effective and personalized coaching.
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