An effective leader encompasses a wide-variety of positive professional and personal traits to share with their team, helping them to thrive, and grow professionally. This supportive environment creates a comfortable workplace that employees can truly enjoy, while reaching their full potential in their given jobs.
As a leader, knowing how to strategically implement these skills to successfully coach your team makes all the difference. There are two basic approaches to coaching IT employees:
Big Picture/Strategic Coaching: This type of coaching focuses on long-term professional development, improving collaboration and communication skills, and how to effectively and creatively solve any problem that may arise.
Tactical Coaching: Tactical coaching, on the other hand, is based around short-term coaching sessions, occurring throughout the day. For example, if you notice a frustrated employee, let them complete the task at hand, then discuss how to best resolve this problem in the future.
Cultivate a Coaching Plan
Utilize these tips to successfully integrate coaching into your professional IT environment:
Stay positive. Recognize coaching for the key area of professional development that it is, and help employees see its ability to expand their professional knowledge and transferrable skillsets.
Develop a map. Work with individuals in your department to develop a personalized coaching plan by recording their goals, creating a timeline, and outlining their desired outcome.
Demonstrate your commitment. Arrange timely meetings to discuss how an employee is feeling in their journey with coaching, and how they feel they are benefitting.
Get a Helping Hand
Sometimes, a team leader needs some assistance in ensuring that their voice is being heard by employees, especially when trying to establish a stronger team by implementing coaching methods. If you feel like your coaching isn’t being taken to heart, ask a respected colleague in your team to help mentor others. Team members may be more likely to open up to this colleague without the fear of judgement, or a fear that they’re concerns are not being understood.
If a team member is apprehensive or uncooperative when you’re attempting to help them, there may be a deeper-rooted issue at hand. Instead of consistent coaching, attempt to schedule a private meeting to let team members voice their opinions or any concerns they may have.
Take Time to Self-Reflect
A true leader understands that the coaching process is constructive for everyone involved, themselves included. Regularly examine your coaching approaches by asking yourself the following questions:
“Are my coaching methods constructive for all IT team members?”
“Am I allowing employees space to develop themselves professionally after coaching sessions, or am I over-coaching?”
“Am I including myself in the coaching process and practice, therefore demonstrating my commitment and understanding that I also benefit from professional development?”
As a team leader, take the time to consider how your IT department can develop and thrive through the implementation of positive and successful coaching methods.