Imagine it. You’re an athletic coach, standing on the sidelines, watching your team play in real time. You notice a player struggling in the game. What does any good coach do in that moment? You pull your athlete from the game and intentionally explain what you are seeing, then you coach that person on how to improve their skillset, to motivate and energize them in the right direction.
I’ve been a leadership coach for more than a decade. The truth is, most leaders I’ve worked with find it hard to have difficult conversations with their teams. I want to share with you what I tell my clients: When an employee isn’t performing to the standard, stop and remember, it doesn’t have to be an emotionally charged conversation.
I know what you’re thinking. What if your team member ruined the big sales pitch? Or, said something entirely inappropriate in an executive meeting? I get it. That sucks.
In last week’s email I shared my coaching practices on empathy in the workplace. So, start there. Use empathy. It’s all in how you frame it. Be mindful of your tone and body language, and identify how the conversation concludes, before it begins.
Experts quoted in the Harvard Business Review validate this leadership coaching practice: “Experience tells us that these kinds of conversations often lead to [strained] working relationships, which can be painful,” says Manzoni. It’s wise, therefore, to come at sensitive topics from a place of empathy. Be considerate; be compassionate. “It might not necessarily be pleasant, but you can manage to deliver difficult news in a courageous, honest, fair way.” At the same time, “do not emote,” says Weeks.
Not every difficult conversation needs to be a reprimand or a write up. Right? Think about the diplomacy in that.
I want to remind you that I’m here to help leaders like you and your individual team members, go beyond the range or limits of. I want you to professionally transcend. As a new season approaches, take time for you. Take time to become a bolder, stronger leader.
Sign up for your complimentary consultation right now. I want to listen to you and customize a leadership coaching plan according to your needs.
Dr. Dionne Kress