Coaching is breaking barriers across many industries, including construction. In this blogpost we are going to cover practical tips to truly incorporate a coaching culture to your jobsite. We will cover how to first start with a solid foundation of trust. Then continue with strong support walls, rafters, and a roof. But we must first start with the dirt work and concrete.
When we think of a construction site - we think of name calling, yelling, a top-down approach, and no time to think. There are times where employees absolutely need to follow management instruction, especially is a safety situation. But we don't always need to be in that mode as we try to develop our team. There is a time and place for certain behaviors. In this current employment draught, we need to focus on building up our strong team members and create the culture that draws new hires. How do we do that? We elicit a coaching culture to your organization.
"The road to success is always under construction."
Find your root in the statement above. Coaching is not about getting it right the first time, and coaching does not look the same for every manager or employee. You will find that one approach does not fit all employees or you as a manager. BUT, you must practice and root down to your why.
Below I will outline many tools you can use to start implementing a true coaching culture in your construction focused business. Again, these are tools for your to try, not all are going to work for you. And you may find a combination that works for your and one employee and another combination that works for you and another employee. Happy exploring!
Retain. Retain. Retain.
Retention is the greatest outcome from implementing a coaching culture within your organization. Attract the right employees, retain your rockstars and promote them, and build a strong, long-lasting company.
Coaching must start with a strong foundation of trust. Start building a coaching relationship by following through with what you say, what you do, and how you listen.
The Coaching Formula (Purpose x Action = Goals)
As a coach, you must listen to what drives each direct report and turn that into action to reach goals.
Ask questions - open ended questions (what, how, when, why)
Listen to what the employee says
Identify purpose (what drives the employee)
Align their purpose with company/team goals
Create individualized and/or team action items to reach goals
The TWO-Minute Coaching Conversation
On a frequent basis - suggested weekly - set aside 2-minutes to check in with your crew/team member.
Ask the employee, "I would like to take 2 minutes to connect with you, is now good?"
Ask the employee, "Tell me about how things have been going?" - Listen
Ask "What road blocks are you facing?" - Listen
Ask "What do you need from me?" - Listen
Hopefully, the employee will share something great that has happened. If so, be mindful and celebrate with them. If something didn't go as planned, ask them "What did you learn?" or "What will you do differently next time?"
W.A.I.T - Why Am I Talking?
Pace how much you talk while coaching your team. This approach will force you to be more mindful of your overall intent, which is to get the employee to talk.
Answer a Question with - A Question
This is a tried and true approach to helping an employee to build confidence AND develop autonomy with their work.
EXAMPLE: Employee: "How should I *blank*?" Coach: "Great question, what do you think we should do?" Reinforce their suggestion appropriately. If they need further support, ask if you can offer a suggestions. Then give your suggestion.
Where do you want to get?
Asking an employee where do they want to get, is BIG. This will get the employee to envision the future. And the best part, they are sharing it with you. This is the basis of creating a shared goal.
Say "Yes, And"
Say "Yes, and" instead of steeling the conversation with "BUT". This one word will defeat a conversation with your employee. "And" gets employees to think of other possibilities.
Say "Tell me more about..."
Asking an employee to tell you more invites them to open up with you. This will continue the conversation in a positive direction. - LISTEN CLOSELY
When engaging in a coaching conversation with your team member, be present. Avoid distractions and mindfully listen to what the employee is saying to you.
In conclusion, your team will appreciate a manager who can align with a coaching culture. Regardless of background, generation, previous experience, employees want to feel respected and responsible at work. The bonus to practicing some of the tools displayed here are you can retain and build up your really dedicated staff. AND you get to find out what strengths your team has that may have been hidden to you without these tools.
"Every act of construction is first an act of destruction." - Francis Bacon
Below is a free resource for you to use on the jobsite. It is a two page handout of tips and tricks that will set you up for success. If you choose to work with me, one to one to develop your coaching style in your construction management or leadership role, I would love to talk to you.