Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for coaching.
Everyone understands the importance of a good coach in sports, but what about a good coach at work? In fact, coaching is an important part of every manager’s job. Managing people isn’t just about telling them what to do and how to do it. A good manager helps employees develop and reach their full potential, just like in sports. And that requires an open and constructive coaching relationship.
Coaching involves an ongoing dialog between you and the employee. Together you’ll assess the situation, set goals, monitor those goals, and adjust your activities and objectives as you go along. Yes, I said “together.” The 21st century manager isn’t the same as the 1980s manager. The relationship is different. You have to be the boss without being bossy. You need to maintain your authority and the employee’s autonomy at the same time. That’s a fine line to walk.
Coaching often begins with a needs analysis. That is, you’re meeting with an employee to figure out what is working well, what’s not working at all, and what can be improved. That conversation will involve a lot of open-ended questions. It will also involve showing empathy, which is an important part of leadership.
When you talk about the employee’s performance, it’s important to give very specific examples of behavior. It’s also important to ask for their perspective on those behaviors. Ultimately, you want to get the employee to agree about what his or her challenges are. Only then can you move on to talk about solutions.
In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Marion, an experienced lawyer, coaching a younger lawyer named Rachel. Marion and Rachel are having an open discussion about Rachel’s performance, and trying to establish what her needs might be.
1. Why does Marion mention her own experience at her first job?
2. What example of Rachel’s performance does Marion bring up for discussion?
3. After assessing the problem, what does Marion ask Rachel at the end of the conversation?