Engaging in a difficult situation involving someone who reports directly to you and needs support can be a significant time commitment. It is natural to hope that the issue will go away by itself. And sometimes it is difficult to find the time to engage in these situations with all the other job responsibilities needing attention.
If this sounds familiar, you might notice that issues often don’t go away on their own. Engaging early in the conflict may seem inconvenient or, at times impossible. However, you will likely save time in the long run if you engage early on, as situations tend to get more complicated, more pervasive and more impactful the longer you wait.
Engaging with employees early on in challenging and conflict situations can lead to:
- Higher levels of job and team satisfaction
- Higher employee retention rates
- Higher individual and team performance
- Higher level of trust in the team and supervisors
We highly recommend that you contact the coach prior to sponsoring an employee to explore your full range of options. In many cases, you will be more successful if you work with the coach to figure out how you can best manage the situation yourself before engaging in a more involved coaching process with your employee.
If you are a supervisor and you want to sponsor one or more direct report to coaching, it is important that you understand your role and responsibilities as a sponsor. Working with a coach or sponsoring an employee to work with a coach is not a disciplinary action, nor does it satisfy a step toward progressive discipline.
As a sponsor, you are responsible for:
- Informing your direct report that you are sponsoring them for coaching.
- Setting and monitoring expectations, progress and performance of your employees and your team.
- Meeting with the sponsored employee(s) and the coach to establish expectations and goals, monitor progress and give feedback to the employee(s)
- Identifying and taking ownership of your role in supporting your employee in meeting your and their goals
- Being willing to hear your employee’s needs for continued support
Things to consider before sponsoring one or more employees:
- What have you tried already to support the employee(s)?
- What support do you need to better support the employee(s)?
- Discuss the issues with them directly and see what support they need.
- Discuss the possibility of engaging the coach with your employee(s) and gauge their willingness to participate.
- Contact the Conflict Resolution Coach to see what you can do to better support the situation and/or employee(s).
If you have been sponsored for coaching by your supervisor, you might be hesitant or concerned about what this means. Participating in coaching takes a lot of courage and vulnerability, so it is normal to have questions and reservations.
Here are some things you should know about being sponsored for coaching:
- When you are with the coach you are still in control. You control your actions and decisions, your growth and development, and your relationship with the coach.
- Your relationship and conversations with the coach are private. Your supervisor may want summary reports of your work, but you will draft those reports.
- Coaching is voluntary. It is important that you talk to your supervisor or sponsor prior to declining or withdrawing participation in coaching so you know what your alternatives are.
- You are responsible for meeting your goals. While coaching is voluntary, you are responsible for making progress toward your goals. Being willing to voluntarily partner with a coach is not enough to be successful in coaching. You will need to take an active role in the coaching process, establish your goals and drive your progress.
Things to consider when you have been sponsored for a coaching relationship:
- Seek understanding. Make sure you understand what is prompting your supervisor to sponsor you.
- Have you communicated your needs and concerns to your supervisor?
- What goals do you want to explore with a coach independent of your supervisor’s goals?
- What level of commitment are you willing to invest in meeting your goals?
- If being sponsored for coaching was an opportunity for a positive outcome, what would that look like?
Please remember that the coach will not perform your supervisory duties, including communicating your concerns or feedback. The coach also will not require your employee to participate in coaching. However, the coach will be a resource to support you in conveying your expectations and delivering your feedback to your employee.