Follow-Up, a simple concept, but one which too many managers fail to execute. Yet is is probably one of the most important elements of successful coaching.
When we coach our people, one of the critical elements is establishing the next steps and actions to be taken. They may be tactical–about a deal, they may be improving the person’s capabilities or performance. We want to see progress and change.
But it’s insufficient to drop it there, we need to follow up, both to see the outcome and to leverage the outcome to reinforce the coaching discussions. Coaching is an ongoing dialog, we want to continue to reinforce and build on our discussions. We miss a tremendous opportunity by neglecting to follow up. Rather than having an ongoing dialog, our coaching becomes a series of isolated discussions, often missing the progress that may or may not have been made.
Too often, managers simply neglect to follow up, more often, they just forget. Follow up can be easy. After each meeting, schedule a “To-Do” in your calendar — write a note to your self, schedule the follow – up. If it’s something tactical, for example, checking the outcome of a meeting or some other activity, write an email to the person, copying yourself, and schedule it for advance delivery. For example, if there is an important meeting in 10 days, schedule a follow up email for the 11th day–“How did it go? Let’s talk about what happened.”
Follow up can be simple and easy if we schedule them immediately when we agree upon them with our people. Follow ups improve the results we get from coaching, they improve our own personal effectiveness.