Coaching your team is about giving people the skills, knowledge and motivation they need to be effective and productive. It’s not cheerleading – sometimes people need some tough love to get them moving – but ultimately it has the best interests of your team at heart.
Knowing how to train your team is an important leadership skill, and it’s one you will improve at over time. In this guide, I’ll look at some of the core elements of good team training, along with some challenges of effective team management training.
I explore these themes in more detail in my podcast Diary of an Entrepreneur. In particular, I would recommend Season 4 Episode 6 as a good answer to the burning question: “How do you coach your team?”
Why is team training so important?
Team leader training helps to keep staff motivated and working in the same direction. One-on-one coaching is your opportunity to help individuals tackle any problem areas, while team training sessions can bring everyone up to speed together.
Here are some key benefits of coaching your team:
Team training can be a motivating factor, helping employees to know that they are performing well and functioning correctly in their role, and maximising productivity as a result.
Good team leader training sets a standard of effective communication and starts an open dialogue, which can help personnel to work with each other and to raise any concerns or suggestions.
Team management training (when it’s done well) has a trickle-down effect, helping employees to feel more valued and raising satisfaction levels on an ongoing basis.
How to know your team’s training needs
Now we know the benefits, how do you coach your team to unlock those advantages? A good place to start is to identify the areas in which your team actually needs training. It’s not just about knowing how to train your team, but about targeting that training for maximum impact.
Be open to collaboration and ideas from your team. In some cases, they may directly ask for training in a particular area. This is a gimme, so make sure you arrange a training session at the first opportunity, and get them up to speed. You can also hold more general progress updates with individuals and look for any common areas where they are lagging or having doubts.
The challenges of coaching your team
With some of the benefits in mind, how do you coach your team without coming up against any barriers?
Making time for team training can be difficult, but it’s essential in the long run. Try to appreciate that the increase in productivity after effective team leader training will more than make up for the time you invest in the training itself.
Resistance to change
You may find that when coaching your team, not everybody is receptive to the new processes and suggestions you put in place. Regular coaching helps to combat this: if new ideas are a common feature of the workplace, they will be accepted more readily.
Knowing how to train your team as a whole also relies on recognising that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here. Some people will need more of an individual touch, so make time for one-on-one coaching and leave nobody behind.
Don’t fall prey to imposter syndrome in team management training. You’ve earned your place and you’re the perfect person to coach your personnel. By staying open to ideas from all levels, you can help to prevent imposter syndrome in your subordinates too, by showing that their suggestions are valid and, at least sometimes, acting on them.
Tips for team training that can help your business thrive
Taking all of the above into account, let’s look at a structured approach to coaching your team:
Set clear goals and objectives
Don’t train people for the sake of it. Make sure each training session has an outcome in mind (often improving a specific skill or preventing a pre-existing problem from happening again). Make sure your staff know the reasons behind each training session, so they can also see the benefits.
Choose the right training methods
Try to choose appropriate training methods for each session. Group coaching is probably not appropriate if there’s an issue with one person – you’ll just embarrass them. Practical coaching may be best delivered at the desk, rather than in an isolated meeting room.
Provide hands-on experience
Share your personal experience with your employees. Many of them will look to you as their leader to do this anyway – in general, people want to develop their skills and further their career. It’s also a great way to overcome the imposter syndrome mentioned earlier.
Welcome ideas and suggestions, and always give constructive answers to questions. Don’t force people to participate – this isn’t primary school – but ensure that the atmosphere is welcoming and don’t necessarily treat people speaking as ‘interruption’. It’s all good learning potential.
Provide ongoing support
Make sure your door is open between training sessions, so people can come to you anytime they want some coaching. This will build stronger relationships and resolve issues faster, to avoid any drops in productivity and motivation.
Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of training
Ask your team what they thought of the training session, what worked and what didn’t. Anonymous feedback forms are a good option for this, but make sure there’s room to write a genuine, considered response, and not just a tick-box chart.
Team training goes to the core of upskilling your employees, and it’s much cheaper than recruiting more skilled candidates externally. You’ll find team coaching is a continuing theme in Diary of an Entrepreneur, because it’s so important to building your business over time.
If you have any questions about any of this, or you’d like to talk to me about any other aspect of my journey as an entrepreneur, please feel free to get in touch.