Real Coaching & Feedback
How to Help People Improve Their Performance

By J.K. Smart
Pearson Education Limited / Prentice Hall
June 2003
ISBN: 0-273-66328-3
174 Pages, Illustrated, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2"
$32.50 paper original

Overworked managers know that management is about doing the best you can with what you've got, in the real world of organizations that are demanding more and more, for less and less. This book is for every manager who knows that if doing that was as easy as most books and trainers make out, they'd be doing it already. The books you've read all seem to have been written by people who don't know what it's like in the real world of work, and mistake you for a superhero instead of a real manager. You know you could work out a better way of doing things, but the trouble with being an overworked manager is that you just can't seem to find the time.

But what if someone else had done it for you -- read all the management books, developed an approach that works and put it all in one practical accessible source? And what if that someone wasn't a management guru or consultant, but an overworked manager like you? Real Coaching blends the authors thinking framework with your experience, to help you be the best you can be. Overworked managers know that management is about doing the best you can with what you've got. This book blends the author's thinking framework with your individual experience to help you improve your coaching skills using feedback to influence and solve problems.

Introduction to Real Management Confessions of an overworked manager. Towards a new way of managing in the real world. The key to unlocking your best ever performance. Track back from your experience, then work forward from your beliefs. If it’s as easy as the books make out, why are there so many books? Resisting the temptation to want easy answers in a complex world.

Part One – Understanding why coaching goes wrong so you can put it right Why can’t I just send them on a training course? Coaching reaches the parts that training cannot reach. Why doesn’t my coaching work with everyone? Everyone learns differently – no one buys the myth of constructive criticism. Why, even when my coaching works, does it not improve performance? Targeting the right area and taking yourself out of the equation. Why is it such hard work to correct people’s weaknesses? Focusing on weakness instead of building from strength. Why doesn’t the improvement stick? Breaking the cause and effect chain of hindering beliefs. Why, even when I do everything right, does it still go wrong? Because we’re human beings, not robots – thank goodness!

Part Two – Getting coaching right in the real world How do you make sure the coaching process will work? Understanding the variables so you can manage the dynamic. How do you avoid the "skills focus" trap and build your process around the "human element"? Understanding yourself and the person you’re coaching. How do you allocate the responsibilities properly? Shifting from a parent/child to and adult/adult relationship. How do you choose an area of performance to improve? Observing and analysing behaviour to pinpoint development needs. How do you give feedback and come to a shared understanding of the issues? Giving neutral statements of "cause and effect" observations and agreeing development needs. How do you help them create and manage a development opportunity? Applying the homeopathic development method. How do you ensure they learn and use what they’ve learned? Managing learning and the journey to unconscious competence.

Part Three – Knowing when to help during coaching When don’t they know what competent performance looks like? The need to help them get clarity about what they’re aiming for. When are they lacking in self-awareness? The need to help them see themselves more clearly. When are they being judgmental instead of analytical? The need to help them get into neutral and consider other interpretations. When are hindering beliefs holding them back? The need to help them remove blocks to achieving their potential. When do they need motivation, encouragement and recognition? The need to provide emotional support without becoming a crutch. When are they not learning from their experience? The need to ensure they complete the whole learning cycle.

Conclusion Why should you persevere with coaching when it’s so complex? Appendices Towards a way of managing for the new era. The beliefs that help me make sense of my world and the people in it, including me. From strengths and weaknesses to characteristics. Getting into neutral to exploit all the possibilities.

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