You've worked with a coach through the first (fiscal) quarter. Now you're on your own: the coach is joining another team! Game over? Not quite. Here are three tools that help you coach yourself.
"Masterful Coaching" by Robert Hargrove.
Big Picture: Hargrove argues that coaching, unlike training, is not an adjunct business activity. It's a critical part of day-to-day work. "Masterful Coaching" provides hands-on tactics and strategies for coaching in real time: in conversations, in meetings, in collaborations.
Best for: A manager whose style is to lead by coaching.
Take-away: "One of the most important actions a coach can take is to simply keep people in action, even when they aren't successful," writes Hargrove. If people get stuck on a problem, don't give them answers. Start by asking questions about why their work misfired.
Coordinates: "Masterful Coaching", $24.95. Pfeiffer & Company, 800-274-4434; (http://www.pfeiffer.com/)
"Coaching in the Workplace" distributed by The Attitudes, Skills, Knowledge Company (ASK).
Big Picture: By following a sales staff as it pilots an in-house coaching program, you see how to identify performance problems, ask questions that help people learn from their mistakes, and deliver effective feedback.
Best for: Your company's resource library — the price tag is too high for individuals.
Take-away: The surest way to fail at coaching is to make people feel defensive. Avoid phrases such as "your failing is" or "your weakness is." And always focus — you signal a lack of respect when you don't listen.
Coordinates: "Coaching in the Workplace", CD-ROM for Windows. $1,495. ASK International, 800-547-2476; (http://www.askintl.com).
Coach University, a virtual school for aspiring coaches who download courses from the Web.
Overview: Coach U. contains a free referral service and advice on how to hire a coach. If you're stuck on a problem and need outside help, the site includes a list of expert coaches you can email.
Best for: Managers who need advice — fast — on how to troubleshoot a problem or a difficult situation.
Take-away: You need momentum to make progress. You make momentum by managing your players' actions. Ask people to set goals; if you don't buy them, negotiate; check their progress when you next meet.
Coordinates: Coach University, (http://www.coachu.com)
A version of this article appeared in the October/November 96 issue of Fast Company magazine.