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5 Employee Coaching Tips for Managers That Will Improve Your Company Culture

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Workers are quitting their jobs in droves, and bad bosses are to blame. 

According to researchers from MIT, the biggest contributing factor to quit rates during the pandemic has been toxic workplace culture. When employees are choosing whether to stay or go, they evaluate how it feels to work at your company—even more than wages and benefits.

Thankfully, managers can learn employee coaching tips to become better managers themselves. This will interrupt the “doom loop” that leads to a cycle of voluntary turnover and underinvestment in soft skills, says Tyler Muse, CEO of Lingo Live.

“Bad managers lead to employees leaving, which drops revenue, hurts your cash, and prevents you from being able to invest in improving those managers,” Muse explained.

One solution? Skills-based coaching, which provides a safe space for managers to integrate new behaviors, try them out in real time, and stay accountable to their coaches. 

After all, the more your managers work on improving communication skills or the art of having a difficult conversation, the easier it will be to meet your business goals and improve your company culture.

5 Best Practices for Employee Coaching

In our recent event, Breaking the Doom Loop with Skills-Based Coaching, Muse joined Welcome CEO Roberto Ortiz to discuss how to train stronger, more supportive managers.

Here are 5 event take-aways that can help your managers grow in their roles:

  1. Keep managers accountable with skills-based coaching, especially in key areas like communication and people skills.
  2. Use helpful frameworks, like “Behavior, Impact, and Question,” to guide feedback sessions or difficult conversations.
  3. Re-structure your one-on-one times with direct reports to provide them with additional, targeted support.
  4. Help employees grow into their careers, even if they’re only with the company for a short time.
  5. Be open and vulnerable to feedback on your own management skills.

Watch the full event here for more insights about the link between better managers and employee retention.

Give Managers the Right Skills for Success

Most managers come to the role with little prior management experience. That means they’ll have to learn, practice, and apply new skills with their direct reports as they manage their team.

According to Muse, the majority of skills most managers need additional coaching for fall into five categories: communication, emotional intelligence, people skills, performance, and critical thinking skills.

These skills encompass everything from actively listening to your team to having difficult conversations and ensuring accountability. 

As managers begin to practice skills in these areas, they ultimately become more supportive of their direct reports. This is most important when your organization is growing quickly, pointed out Ortiz.

“Sometimes, you're running so fast in a high-growth company that you take those things for granted,” Ortiz said. “But employees are craving that level of feedback, they're craving that level of clarity, and they're craving even the growth that comes from performance.”

Muse agreed. “It’s really hard work,” he said. “You spend your whole life trying to get better at these things, and that’s okay.”

Change How Your Managers Deliver Feedback

One of the most important roles of a good manager is to provide feedback to their employees. To make the biggest impact, suggested Muse, begin by using a questioning framework, rather than a judgmental one.

Through a partnership with Lifelabs Learning, the coaching experts at Lingo Live developed a framework for feedback sessions called “Behavior, Impact, Question,” or BIQ.

For example, a manager might point out that their employee cut off another person in a meeting, making it difficult for that person to contribute to the discussion. Then, they would ask their report a question about that behavior.

“It's my job as your manager to give you feedback,” Muse explained. “But, at the same time, I'm open to hearing your reaction and your thoughts on this. I think questions are really important, so that you make the other person feel free to share how they feel.”

Over the years, Muse has also changed how he coaches employees in his one-on-one meetings. “I have all my direct reports send me an update each week. When we have our weekly one-on-ones, I don't have to spend any time getting status updates from you. I can just dive into figuring out what you need,” said Muse.

Re-thinking the Employer-Employee Relationship

Taking a collaborative approach to priority-setting and day-to-day work has ultimately changed how Muse views the employer-employee relationship. 

Employees no longer stay with companies for decades. By acknowledging this reality, employers can set workers up for success by supporting their growth—even if that leads to a job with a different company.

“Over half of the exiting employees who left a company say that in the three months before they left, neither their manager nor any other leaders spoke to them about their job satisfaction or their future with the organization,” said Muse. 

“You've got to acknowledge it's a two-way street. It is not just this person's job to do the job description you've laid out. It's your job to set them up for a really successful career in the time that they're with you,” he added.

Self-Reflective Managers Will Change Your Company Culture

If there’s one thing managers can do to improve on their management skills, says Muse, it’s to become more self-reflective and open to feedback from their team.

That’s often an uncomfortable position for managers to put themselves in!

“Vulnerability is sending out a survey to your people and saying, ‘Hey, there are these leadership skills that I think are a good embodiment of what a leader is. Can you share with me things that you think I do well, and things that I could do a better job at?’” said Muse. 

While it might not be easy to hear how you can improve, understanding what you’re doing well and how you can do better is ultimately empowering. When managers support their teams successfully, they have a direct impact on retention—and the future growth of your company.

Final Thoughts

Retaining employees is about more than offering fun perks and competitive wages. It takes a thoughtful approach to designing the entire lifecycle of your employees—and managers who are willing to help you every step of the way.

Welcome is employee event software designed to support your employee lifecycle. Onboard and engage new hires, gather the company for an all-hands meeting, or support employee coaching needs, all in one, highly energizing platform.

Start designing a better company culture for your team today. Contact us below for a demo or to find out more!  

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