It's 4:45 Friday afternoon and I received a call from my Business Development Rep. He had a great day and a hugely successful week! He exceeded his average connect %, scheduled more prospect meetings than average, gained a verbal agreement from a long-time prospect and strengthened a current relationship by offering a solution sure to help their team grow. I could hear the pride in his voice, and I felt the same amount of (or maybe more) pride as he was sharing these details of his week.
As a a leader, these are the calls that make your job incredibly rewarding because you can see, and feel, how your work is making a difference. However, what you say and do next matters more than ever.
Leaders often miss a hugely important coaching opportunity when they receive these types of calls.
Here are 4 things you must do when your employee experiences success:
Pause the conversation and take time to praise the success. Describe specifically what you are proud of and why you feel that way.
Ask why or how they got there. This is a critical step to ensure that your employee can point to a clear link between behaviors/process/activities and outcomes. And it gives you opportunity to Acknowledge them for following the plan or process, thus reinforcing desired behaviors.
Coach him with “one more thing”. Right this minute is the perfect opportunity to offer a specific piece of advice to help them grow. This feeling of success and desire for growth is the number one reason employees stay engaged and there is no better time to coach them on how and why doing one more thing might make successes like this happen faster and more often.
Offer to help. Just because they had a good week or a specific success, doesn’t mean they still don’t need help on skills, situations, etc. Because they’re feeling good about their work, they are at a very coachable moment and more willing to share where they might need help taking it to the next level.
These 4 steps constitute the Butler Street DASH coaching model. It’s an easy to follow coaching skill to be used for both positive and corrective coaching discussions. Describe, Ask and Acknowledge, Specify and Help. (Download the DASH worksheet)
Let me share an example of the difference between giving praise and coaching for continued success using DASH:
After hearing about your employee’s successful week:
Example 1 - Giving Praise
Leader: Wow, I am so proud of you! You really made things happen this week and it’s showing in your results. You made my day and we both are going to have a wonderful weekend as a result. Go home and celebrate and get ready to “bring it” again on Monday! Thanks so much for your hard work this week and for the call!!
Example 2 - Coaching for Continued Success
Leader: Wow!! I am so proud of you. You really made things happen this week and are showing success in all areas of your role from activities to results. The verbal agreement from [long-time prospect] this week is of particular importance. Why do you think you were able to get that agreement this week?
The Employee will usually will respond in one of three general ways:
1. They describe the work they did that led to the outcome
2. They say, “I guess I was lucky” … “in the right place at the right time”…
3. They give the team or others credit
Regardless of the response, you must take the opportunity to reinforce the positives and gain acknowledgement that your prescribed playbook, activities, planning, etc. are driving success. Think back to math class where a successful answer was only given partial credit, what mattered was if you knew the way to get to the answer. Only then could you repeat it over and over no matter how difficult the problem was.
If they answer like #1: Congrats - they realize activities and process matter and you can applaud them for it! It’s sealed in their brain that your process drives results.
If they answer like #2: Maybe they’re modest, or perhaps they don’t understand how the process led to the result. You must reinforce it through questions (e.g. “how do you think using our 12-week, 16 touch plan played into this success?")
If they answer like #3: You get to the bonus of recognizing the team and then you must bring it back to ensure they understand how the process impacted the result, the same way as described in the previous example.
Finally, take the opportunity to coach for growth and provide “One More Thing”:
"Let's keep this momentum going! My recommendation before you shut down for the day is to do this one thing. Make one more call to keep your pipeline momentum because your energy and confidence are infectious and sure to resonate with any prospect. And before we hang up, is there anything you need to keep these successes coming?”
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