My life as a coach

March 6, 2015 | Sreeni Rao

I love coaching because I get to watch others develop and achieve their goals. It’s something I’ve done for many years in the workplace as a manager, and with two young sons at home, it’s something that I’m increasingly doing as a parent. Let me say right away that coaching is not managing. Coaching is real-time guidance that is intended and conducted to improve behavior, performance and results. It’s done through observation, feedback and observation. Did you catch the second “observation”? It was intentional. For coaching to be effective, coaches need to do an awful lot of observing. Here’s why:

Activities x Effectiveness = Results. Have you seen this formula before? It’s a way of saying that to achieve a goal, you have to pick the right activities that will help you reach that goal, then execute those activities really well. As a coach, I live in the “E” of this equation. I help my team identify the little (and big) things they can do to modify or change how they effectively execute activities to get a better result.

Coaching is a collaborative exercise, and to do it well you have to have a process. My process is simple: After I observe a team member doing an activity that needs coaching, I immediately meet with that employee. I give them the opportunity to first share their thoughts on the activity’s effectiveness. I ask them to share 2 things they felt they did well, and then 2 things they would do differently if they could do it over again. I always ask permission to give feedback, and always share two or three things that I thought were done really well. Since my goal is to make them better, I also provide observations of things they should change or improve to get a better result. Since my priority is for coaching to be a positive experience, I limit improvement recommendations to a maximum of 1 or 2 key areas. Oftentimes, I’ll practice the implementation of these recommendations with the employee before the coaching session is over. The practice makes a difference—it helps embed the changes and shows me that they understand.

I have always viewed and positioned coaching as a gift. It’s something every one of us deserves. It’s clear-cut proof that someone cares about our progress and success. Truly, it’s when you don’t receive coaching that you should be concerned. At Mission Fed, our managers approach their coaching responsibilities with passion and purpose. We spend time talking and learning about the best ways to positively and respectfully engage our employees to get the best results. We measure ourselves on our ability to develop our people, and I’m very proud to say we’re doing a great job. We’ve had numerous internal job promotions this past year, and our team has shared with us, through employee surveys, that they feel supported, empowered and confident in their abilities to learn and grow. If that doesn’t sound like setting someone up for success, I don’t know what does!

The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. Mission Federal Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided.

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Sreeni Rao

Sreeni Rao

Sreeni Rao is 1st VP Sales and Service for the Branch Network at Mission Federal Credit Union in San Diego, California. Sreeni provides direct leadership, coaching, and management to the dynamic sales teams in Mission Fed’s Branch Network and Business Development Department. His primary responsibility is to develop, direct and execute a retail sales and service strategy that meets and exceeds Mission Fed’s sales objectives and organizational goals.

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