What happens when you make a wrong turn while trying to follow the instruction of your GPS? That’s right – the GPS “recalculates” the route and gives you new directions from your revised position. The device does not wait until later when you are even farther off course to redirect you. That would be silly, right? It would be a waste of time to allow you to keep going on the wrong route, and you would undoubtedly become very confused as soon as you realized you were off course.
Doesn’t the same logic apply to coaching our team members? Whether in a practice role play situation or during real life application, why do we let colleagues continue after they have unwittingly made a wrong turn and then coach them after the fact? Usually, the answer is because we are not there to recognize they have made a wrong turn and we are trying to coach after the behavior has been completed incorrectly. Imagine if our GPS turned itself off for periods of time during our trip and failed to alert us when we drift off course. That wouldn’t be very helpful, would it? Similarly, it’s not very helpful when we turn ourselves off and fail to be present when our colleagues need GPS guidance on the job.
Admittedly, the manager-to-employee ratio is not one-to-one like the GPS-to-driver ratio, so it is not physically possible to be present for every team member all of the time. But we should strive to be present as often as possible when members of the team need navigational help. And we should make every effort to provide immediate “recalculation” advice so as to provide the most efficient and effective coaching to our colleagues.
Follow this link to view Module 6 of “The 7 Core Management Behaviors”, a free online video training course for retail managers.