At some point, one of your direct reports or colleagues is going to need to change their behaviors in order to meet a challenge or move to the next level. You have an opportunity to support and assist them using “Compassionate Coaching.”
The “Compassionate Coaching” approach is detailed in a recent Harvard Business Review article* and includes the following ideas:
*Spot the Opportunity. Sometimes when someone else is having a performance challenge or opportunity, it is more evident to an outsider than it is to the person. Point this out in a collegial way and try to take advantage of this “coachable” moment. Show genuine care and concern for the other person.
*Identify the Ideal. Once you have engaged them, encourage the person to identify their “ideal self” – who they wish to be and what they want to do in their life and work. Check out this blog for tools to help someone do that.
*Get Clear on the Current Reality. Identifying one’s current competencies can be challenging. In our Executive MBA program at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, we use a wide variety of assessments to help with this. Personality assessments and especially a 360 assessment can be very valuable.
*Make a Plan to Fill the Gap. A written development plan with someone who will compassionately hold the person accountable is the final step to supporting someone through a change. It is vital that the person you are working with is the one who writes up the plan – not you. You can advise and encourage – but it needs to be their plan. Specific activities with dates and outcomes are ideal for these plans. As a coach, you can then meet regularly to check in on their progress with then plan. Encourage them as they try new behaviors.
Throughout the process, the “compassionate” aspect of the coaching is key. Your sincere and genuine care for the other person will encourage them and provide them the best opportunities for reaching their potential – one of your top responsibilities as a supervisor and colleague.
*Boyatzis, R., Smith, M., & Van Oosten, E., “Coaching for Change,” Harvard Business Review, September – October 2019, pp. 151 – 155.