When developing ourselves or learning a new skill, we always watch and learn from people who have experience, who had been in our situation and changed themselves for the better. These people who are eager to teach their techniques to the rest of us become trainers and coaches without having had proper experience in delivering their methods which can make them very unpopular. When teaching they may see themselves as having the ability to inspire and motivate others but haven’t figured out their own delivery style yet, and that’s fine to some extent.
In this blog I have listed 7 signs to be aware of as a trainer/mentor/coach with information on how to change these behaviours to help add value to team members and to raise their confidence and self-worth when they’re trying to change themselves:
#Sign 1: Being dismissive
“My way or the highway” is the attitude of some trainers, especially if they think their way works because they’ve done it, right? —They refuse to listen to anyone else and they keep doing it.
How to fix it:
Have you ever thought about how you overcame your problem? – When you were struggling no one handed you everything on a plate, you had to get out of bed and do something to achieve your goals, to change yourself. – Do you remember the steps you took? What exactly did you do? First you need to understand how you overcame your problem in order to process everyone else’s struggles. Now that you’re teaching others what to do, you always have to think about the struggles and weaknesses you had to overcome to help yourself to understand your strengths and weaknesses and in turn to understand theirs.
No one is that perfect so that they can overcome anything without putting some hard work into it or having others telling them what to do. People need to see that for themselves, to acknowledge it and to work on the steps needed to be taken in order to improve to get somewhere. Most of this process is going to be personal for the people you are coaching/mentoring and it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to share every step of their development with you. Actually it’s fine if they don’t, just as long as they find some way to be held accountable for their actions, to face their weaknesses head on and for you to be there to provide support when needed.
#Sign 2: Being egotistical
Nobody wants to work for an arrogant person who thinks they’re the king of the world. Coaches/mentors with a big ego tend to lay blame on others and accept praise when others are successful. They also tend to be unapproachable, which scares people off and fosters poor communication.
How to fix it:
Take responsibility for your actions. If people are working on something and slow in progressing, the worst thing to do is to force them to make decisions or to change their attitude quickly. You need to understand your coaching delivery, the way you convey your message and the impact it has on others. If they are “slow” in developing, it is your mistake for not understanding the people you work with.
Understand what it is they are working on and how long they need to accomplish it. If you give them a deadline to do something and they haven’t done it, probe them with questions to understand them better, encourage and tell them that everything will be okay and eventually they’ll achieve their desired goal. You can also have the high achievers share tips on how they achieved their goal or you can share best practice without judging anyone and showing off. If you criticise them, it will make people hide in their shell and they won’t succeed.
#Sign 3: Unempathetic
Not caring about your trainees or mentees is a sure way to make them feel unimportant and unappreciated, which in turn will lead them to feeling confused and disengaged. They will either find a different coach, where their contribution is celebrated, or they will shut down and carry on working feeling like the “black sheep of the family”.
How to fix it:
As their mentor/coach/trainer, it is your responsibility to understand your own emotions first and to take charge of the way you look and feel before you make everyone else feel safe. You need to be there for them, guiding them to make sure they are comfortable in their own skin and that it is okay for them to express their own emotions and apprehensions. This will allow you to understand them better when they are expressing emotions such as getting angry or feeling humiliated and it will stop you from being in their face just because you feel like you’re in charge. You need to demonstrate that you have everything under control and you are confident in what you do and say. People will respect you more.
#Sign 4: Grudge-bearing
You hold onto personal offenses and grudges and let it affect everyone else’s working environment.
How to fix it:
A good trainer/coach/mentor forgets personal offenses and moves on, especially if you want to create a functional environment. You need to focus on the bigger picture and create goals and dreams for your team. Don’t get caught up in small comments and remarks made by your trainees or mentees. If something was said that really hurt you and you want to discuss it, find a quiet place where you can have a conversation with the person who made the remark. No one gets up in the morning thinking that they will be horrible to other people. Something has lead to it and you can uncover it in a civilised manner and overcome it. You will give the person you’re speaking with a chance to understand how much their comment hurt you and this way you will be sure they won’t do it again.
If more than one person made the comment(s), speak to them individually, not together. It is a lot easier to understand people better and to break the negative cycle faster.
#Sign 5: Permissive of Negativity
Allowing conflict, rivalry and arguments in the workplace and you don’t do anything to stop it.
How to fix it:
A good trainer creates a safe space for his team and never takes sides. Find out what caused the argument by speaking to everyone individually and hosting a room where everyone involved can have their say. It is important for you to lead by example; you don’t want to be a hypocrite and pretend that everyone is right when you speak to them individually and in the room to appear diplomatic.
You need to provide the perfect blueprint for your team to follow and, of course, to lead by example. At this point, don’t worry about being unliked by your team either – you need to let your reputation take a hit when it needs to.
#Sign 6: Inconsistency
Changing your training methods every 5 minutes and coming up with different solutions to help your team. This particular point can drive people insane. It is impossible to create a functional environment when the person in charge frequently changes their methods when they feel like it. This way you and your team will never meet your expectations and everyone’s time and money will be wasted chasing the aspirations of yesterday.
How to fix it:
Develop a model by incorporating everyone’s strengths and areas for development for your coaching model to be effective and stick to it. Of course more and more ample studies transpire to help you with effective coaching delivery, but your core model should mainly stay the same. Provide attendees with learning outcomes during the beginning of your course and evaluations at the end of your programme in order to check that what you do is consistent with what you deliver. Sometimes it’s beneficial to ask for evaluations when each module is completed for people’s thoughts to be fresh and current.
Some people do like reflecting when giving feedback, therefore make sure you can provide 15 mins or so for people to think before they write anything. You also need to be transparent with your operational goals and to make sure that everyone is on the same page. A lack of clear direction will frequently put employees up against a wall of confusion and the evaluations you receive can be all over the place, leaving you in despair not knowing what to change to improve your course and training delivery.
#Sign 7: Overworked:
An overworked coach/mentor is stressed out, snappy, and perhaps most importantly, they show their team that work-life balance is unimportant—a bad philosophy for human beings who often have personal responsibilities outside of work.
How to fix it:
There has been a shift in work attitudes, especially amongst younger workers. More people – even bosses – are recognising the value of work-life balance. Come up with your own ideas that will help you separate your work from your home life and get your team to do the same. It is important to understand boundaries and ways of working. You can also allow yourself and your trainees enough time to rest your minds between sessions and to collect your thoughts. Within your group there are bound to be introverts and extroverts.
Introverts draw energy from within and they prefer to be alone during breaks, whereas extroverts draw their energy from people by engaging in conversations and they prefer to be surrounded with people. Make sure that your trainees have time to process their thoughts and perhaps to take a moment to acknowledge the present moment. When you finish your training for the day, stop and take a breath before commuting home or do a 10min meditation/relaxation session if your course is online before people return to their family. The reason for this is to ensure that you and they do not take home the work and any stress associated with it.
Hi! I’m Elena Eleftheriadou, a certified mentor and a training coach and I help healthcare professionals who face anxiety, stress and burnout to communicate better to improve work-life balance in their private and working environments.
If you would like to find out more about communication, resilience, burnout and stress management contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org