Working From Home: Effectively Coaching Remote Employees

As we prepare to return to “normalcy”, it has given companies the chance to reopen their offices. Others, given the extended trial of working from home, have embraced an all-remote workforce. And in the COVID-19 world of remote work, coaching employees is more critical than ever to sustain engagement, productivity, and a thriving culture.

But there are a lot of concerns during this virtual shift: What does the shift mean for productivity and your employees? How do you have coaching conversations with remote teams and workers? How will these changes affect workplace processes?

What is Effective Coaching?

Coaching is focused on helping another person learn and develop. It is based on asking rather than telling, provoking thought rather than providing directions. It is about holding your team member accountable to his or her goals. Broadly speaking, when you coach someone, you want to increase their effectiveness, broaden their thinking, and identify strengths along with development needs to be able to set and achieve challenging goals. For most employees, it is an important factor in what makes a job appealing, with 76% of employees believing professional development opportunities are one of the most important aspects of company culture.

Best Practices for Effective Coaching

As a manager, your employees look to you for support, guidance, and updates. And many are going above and beyond performance management and evaluation to build mentor-like relationships through coaching. It’s easy to see why: 54% of companies with a strong coaching culture are classified as high-performing organizations, compared with only 29% of those without, so here are some practical tips to keep in mind:

Demonstrate your belief in their abilities. Letting your team members know you believe in them can be a big motivation booster. It’s proven that teams perform tasks better when their members believe that their colleagues respect and appreciate them. People are also more productive when they experience gratitude from their managers.

Listen to understand. Forbes says, “you have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion.” Take the time to truly listen to your team members to understand their motivations, goals and interests and avoid assumptions as they will automatically defer to you for your expertise.

Have regular check-ins. Use this time to strengthen your relationships, gauge progress and help overcome barriers. Establishing regular communication ensures your team members feel included, informed and that their work is aligned.

Focus on continued growth and development. Taking a proactive approach to growth and professional development strategies, you can mitigate turnover and drive more productivity. Most employees want to continue learning; 74% of workers are willing to learn new skills or re-train in order to remain employable. Upskilling is one of the ways you can help your employees expand their capabilities at work.

Looking ahead, it’s important to consider the needs of your team so they can do their best work, especially in a time of uncertainty. It can be all too easy to let things slide when you’re working in the comforting environment of your own home. Make coaching in the workplace an essential on your to-do list. The more your team members grow and improve, the better the team and the stronger the whole organization.