If you want to be a truly effective coach for your team, you need to take a page from a somewhat unconventional source: Patch Adams.
Patch Adams’ ideas revolutionized the medical industry, as he challenged the outdated notion that doctors should only focus their attention on treating the disease and not get too close to the patient. This radical doctor spoke out against the status quo and encouraged all those in his profession to adopt a more holistic approach to health care by actually treating the patient instead of just the disease.
As it turns out, this philosophy also applies to being a great leader and coach for your team. Instead of following an antiquated playbook of incentivizing employees to get them to do what you want and firing them if they fail to master their training immediately, you need to focus on treating the person.
Master the following three approaches when it comes to treating the person and you’ll soon have your employees prospering in ways they likely never dreamed possible:
COMMUNICATE FROM THE INSIDE OUT
When it comes to transforming the behaviors of the people on your team, the key is how you communicate with them.
“The inspired leaders and the inspired organizations – regardless of their size (and) regardless of their industry – all think, act and communicate from the inside out,” according to leadership expert and author Simon Sinek.
Communicating from the inside out flips the traditional way that most managers speak to their employees on its head. Most of the time, employees are told what they need to do and perhaps how they need to do it, but rarely are they told why. Yet the why is the most crucial part of communication… and it is what sets a true leader and coach apart from a mere manager.
In order to make a true connection with the members of your team and communicate directly with the part of their brain that is responsible for behavior, you need to focus first on why you, your team and your organization do what you do. This explanation is crucial to lead off with because it taps into people’s belief systems. And the most effective way to change behavior is to change beliefs.
By showing your employees a different way of seeing things, you will be able to help them overcome the old, negative conditioning that many of them are carrying around inside, which will have a profoundly positive effect on their belief system. And beliefs drive emotions, which in turn drive behaviors.
TEACH (AND PRACTICE) SELF AFFIRMATIONS
Continue to reinforce positive conditioning in your team members over the long term by teaching them the practice of self-affirmation. By having them turn their focus inward and reflect upon the healthy values that comprise an integral part of their core selves, you can help them bring about significant changes in their behavioral patterns.
Recent studies show that people who affirm their core values on a regular basis can bring about favorable changes in their professional and personal growth. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, for example, have found that bringing to mind simple reminders of core values can serve to buffer the effects of chronic stress on the mind and boost problem-solving performance. And researchers from Stanford University and the University of California have found that practicing self-affirmation reduces defensiveness against information perceived as threatening, thus allowing people to take away important lessons for self-change.
Have your team members incorporate the practice of self-affirmation into their lives by setting aside a short time during the workday in which all of you can reflect upon your core values. Even a simple self-affirmation has the power to cause transformative and lasting change.
PRAISE EFFORTS, NOT RESULTS
Another component that is crucial for creating an environment that fosters your team’s success is the regular habit of praising the process instead of the end result.
In sales, for example, celebrating a deal that has closed instead of the process that led to this achievement can cause a fixed mindset in your team members. In essence, it encourages them to believe that selling is just a numbers game that has nothing to do with their efforts. And people who hold a fixed mindset are much less likely to persevere when faced with a challenging situation, as extensive research from psychologist and Stanford University professor Carol S. Dweck shows.
The best way to encourage your team members to continue striving for success is to focus on the strides they have taken to get closer to their end goal. If you have a sales professional on your team who is struggling to close a deal, for example, you should focus on the steps he or she has taken to move a sale forward in the process. By looking at those accomplishments as victories, you will cultivate a growth mindset in your team members, as they will begin to see that they do indeed have control over their destinies through their actions.
Teaching your team members to embrace a growth mindset is essential to their overall success, as this way of thinking will transform them from victims into victors.