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How Are You Coaching Your People?

Excerpt from Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others

It’s no secret people matter to me.  I consider the most important aspect of my career the opportunity to coach and develop people.  Coaching and developing people is a signature trait of a servant leader and servant leadership.

When I began working at Popeyes, it was not a core competency. We had good excuses.  The restaurant business is 24/7 – we worked long hours, we traveled from city to city visiting restaurants and solving problems.  When would we find time for coaching and developing people, other than a once a year performance review?

Our first step was to hire human resource professionals to develop basic people practices. We then began to put resources behind our aspirational principle.

We began doing a good job of setting performance objectives and preparing annual development plans for each person.  We reviewed our talent on a regular basis and looked for assignments to challenge and grow our top performers.  We encouraged supervisors to have one-on-one coaching sessions bi-weekly with their direct reports to clarify expectations, ask coaching questions, and process decisions in a timely manner.  We offered leadership development workshops to grow capabilities.

We believed, and I still believe, this was just the beginning of becoming a company that has top tier coaching and development. A next step would be to teach a common coaching model to all of leaders – to advance this competency in the organization.

We weren’t where we want to be on the coaching and development principle.  I share this with you to be completely transparent. We did some principles very well but we still had a long way to go in other areas. I believe if you have a principle that you know is critical to driving superior performance, you have to say so –   even if you fall short on that principle today.

If you are going to become or build a company that is known for its leadership development it’s important to have conviction about the principle of coaching and developing leaders.  This principle will hold leaders accountable to drive change in daily actions over time.

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