Creating a safe space for our team members where they will be honest with us so that we can help them reach their goals….
Have you ever been on the receiving end of a coaching/mentoring call and when your leader asked if you ‘got it’ you said ‘yes’ even though you really still felt lost?
What was it about that space that left you feeling as if you couldn’t be honest about what was really going on in your mind? Maybe you felt “less than” and you were embarrassed that things weren’t clicking for you. Or maybe you couldn’t even pinpoint what it was that you didn’t ‘get’?
What was it about that coach that kept you from opening up?
Now, let’s flip that around and think about a time when you were able to be completely open, maybe even a little bit vulnerable, with someone who was coaching you. Why did you feel able to share your true thoughts and feelings? What was different that contributed to you feeling like you didn’t have to be perfect or ‘get it’?
In coaching we often go through what we think are the right steps with our team members. We set goals, we train, we practice, and maybe even set action items. But creating a safe environment where team members are able to trust us takes time, patience, and skill.
The good news is that there are specific things that we can do to build this solid trusting foundation. Let’s dive in.
- Be Consistent – Most of us like to know what to expect, and we build trust through repetition. Here are a few ways we can do this.
- Set up consistent meeting times if at all possible. Winging it and setting coaching calls on the fly can seem flexible but there’s a lot to be said for knowing that YOUR time with your leader is set in stone and valued.
- Use an agenda on your coaching call. This allows your team member to come prepared and with their guard down because they know what you will be talking through together. An agenda might be as simple as “Today we are going to talk about your 3 top WINS, review the goals you set for yourself last week, chat through anything that feels heavy right now, then work on a clear definition of success for this week, and finally we can work on any skills that you think will have an impact on your goals and help you feel ready. How does that sound?”
- Set Goals Together – We often know what our team member needs to do to reach their goals. Sometimes we have a tendency to TELL them what they need to do to reach their goals. Anyone?? 🙂
When someone is invested in their own goals they are more likely to take action. It is critical that we work through this process together. Trust me, I know that it can be painful when our team member sets a teeny tiny goal when we know they can do more. Just remember that we are building trust and a safe place for them to feel more confident so we have to be patient.
Do you want to hear the good news? Everytime they come back and crush their tiny goals they are more likely to push themselves for bigger ones next time!
- 3. Follow Through -Did you know that a large majority of leaders NEVER follow up on action items or goals that they set with their team? How does this make our business builder feel? Do they feel valued?
I would say NO. So, one very simple thing you can do is actually ask them how things went with the goals they set. When they did what they said they were going to do we need to celebrate the heck out of it with them and spend time asking what they did to achieve that success. This is what we call creating conscious competence – help them see how they made this happen so they can repeat it again and again.
Secondly, if they don’t reach a goal or do something they set out to do take a deep breath and put all assumptions and judgements aside and say “I know that action item or goal was really important to you, what got in the way?” This is where deep trust is built. This is a safe place.
- Be Vulnerable – Imagine that you are on a coaching call with your new leader and they are amazing. They have a huge social media following and maybe they even just hit a new high rank in your organization.
If this is how they show up to your call are you likely to tell them that you are scared to make phone calls or don’t understand your back office? Probably not.
As leaders we need to know that it’s okay to be open and even a little bit vulnerable with our people so that they know it’s okay to be open with us.
If you start trying some of these things how will you know when you’ve created a safe place for your team member? Here are a few tell tale signs:
- They say ‘thank you’ for listening to me and supporting me
- They show up for your calls and are prepared for coaching
- They complete action items and set bigger goals
- They come with less excuses and more solutions
One of my recent Your Leadership Foundation students summarized it best on our last group call together when everyone shared their biggest AHAs from coaching. She said, “Now I feel like I am showing up to coach not like my builder is on MY TEAM but that I am on THEIR TEAM”.
Thank you so much for reading today’s post. If you are ready to take the next step, and learn how to create a duplicatable sales process text “coachplease” (one word) to 44222 and one of our really nice sales and leadership coaches will reach out to you. Again, that’s “coachplease” to 44222. Have a great rest of your day!