Coaching for Engagement

So often lately we hear “people don’t want to work” and “we can’t find people.” The reality is that people don’t want to participate in the traditional employment paradigm. Organizations that successfully attract and retain talent understand the importance of employee engagement and know how to foster it. Ralph and Bill offer tips that you can use to overcome your recruitment challenges, improve your employee engagement and retention, and strengthen your business.

Bill Berthel: Welcome to the get emergent podcast. This is a podcast about leadership teams and organizational performance. At emergent. We are committed to transforming leaders, teams, and organizations to perform at their highest potential I’m Bill Berthel

Ralph Simone: and I’m Ralph Simone and today, Bill and I are gonna be talking to you about coaching for engagement and performance.

It’s kinda interesting. I think Bill, how this topic came up for us, you know, we have been in the coaching business for a number of years, and we’ve been hearing a lot from our clients, this idea of, you know, not being able to find people to work. People don’t wanna work. You know, we’ve got a number of positions and quite frankly, we think that coaching.

And really understanding what’s underneath these motivations or these barriers could be really, really helpful. And so that’s why we wanna talk about one of our offerings and really the premise for our business, which is coaching for engagement.

Bill Berthel: So we have a little energy around this topic, not just because we believe and know that coaching is such an effective tool to use as a leader in any organization at any level.

That we believe that asking better questions helps us understand why and what people really want to be able to do, how they want to participate, how they’re gonna be motivated to perform at their highest level. And this time we know is challenging on many employers to find people, right. We hear that, right.

Ralph we’re hearing people don’t wanna work, or we can’t find people who want to work. And I’ve got some energy around this. I, I think it’s an incomplete

Ralph Simone: sentence. Well, I think it is an incomplete sentence. And once we get past the question we get, when we say we coach and people ask what sport we go on to define what coaching really does, and coaching connects our inner purpose with our outer goals.

So the outer goal is right finding people who are committed to these positions, to this work, but in order to figure out how we attract those people and find those people, we’ve gotta listen deeply. For their inner purpose. And that’s not just people that we’re interviewing, but I think we use coaching for engagement also for retention.

And I’d like you to actually help our listeners complete that sentence. So people don’t wanna work and we can’t find people. How would we help them complete that sentence bill?

Bill Berthel: So I think we have to have a willingness to ask better questions of ourselves. I think we need to be able to think a little differently, and I wonder.

You know, my thought might be a little confronting for some of our listeners. And I mean, no disrespect, because I think it is a different time to be able to hire a track and keep people. I wonder if it’s that people don’t necessarily wanna work for the current employment system if they don’t wanna work for the way things are right now.

I, I firmly believe people do want to work.

Ralph Simone: Absolutely.

I think people wanna participate. I think they wanna give their talents to something bigger. Then that they are themselves. I don’t think that’s going away.

Well, in your response, I think you’ve touched on something that I think’s important. We have to start with acknowledging and validating that they are having challenges.

Absolutely. Finding people, but then it is asking better questions and it’s also challenging ourselves as to how could we approach it completely differently. And I think that’s where our energy lies. So we don’t wanna discount the fact, if that’s their experience, let’s meet them where they’re at to take them to where they could be.

So what would we suggest? To complete that sentence,

Bill Berthel: you know, and, and I believe organizations are trying to understand the barriers. I think coaching for engagement by asking better questions can really help us understand those barriers even better or more clearly really start to understand, you know, what are we missing in the conversation with those that we might like to attract or hire?

What are we missing in the conversations with the people that we already have that we’re really eager to retain. All right. So, and looking at. Some of the folks that are doing it really well right here in central New York. I’m not gonna drop names here, but, we have some clients that are doing this really well today.

They’re engaged in deeper conversations with their people. They’re mission-driven with their people. They’re understanding the hierarchical needs of their people. And they’re being incredibly creative to meet those needs

Ralph Simone: without dropping names. You talked about who’s doing it well, and you, and you mentioned.

Some of the things that they are doing well, what else, you know, can we do as employers, as leaders who are trying to re-attract and retain talent, what else can we do to make sure we’re doing it well?

Bill Berthel: So I’ve got a few ideas, all inspired by real leaders, real organizations right here in central New York.

First, they’re involved in their local and global community. These folks are ambassadors of their organizations. They’re volunteering, they’re coaching, they worship, they shop, they live, they participate as neighbors in their communities. They, uh, tell their authentic stories about themselves and their organizations.

They show and demonstrate they connect. About what they care about and why they do what they do. You know, a shameless plug it’s, it’s the piece of the driving leadership podcast component here to the get emergent podcast. It’s answering the question, why leaders lead and there are some great leaders in our organizations that are energetically attractive.

They’re energetically attractive. You wanna work with these people?

Ralph Simone: It’s it’s beautiful. I think the idea of right engagement. I, I was reading, I think this either was Napoleon Hill or Eckhart Tolle, and he talked about, you know, when we’re working, it’s at three levels, one’s acceptance, right. Accepting what is, because that helps to that’s the entry-level to engagement.

But the second. Part of it is enjoyment mm-hmm and then the third piece is enthusiasm. And I think when we coach for engagement, we wanna really understand what would make people joyful, what would make them enthusiastic and you know, what agility do we need in how we do what we do. Not necessarily why we do it, but how we do it, that will enable us to be the employer of choice.

And I do think that, that you said this earlier, we do need to ask better questions and we need to listen deeply be colleagues of the heart for the answer, regardless if it’s the answer that we wanna hear.

Bill Berthel: Oh, absolutely. And something else I see that you know, leaders are doing. Really well in this space, they’re shifting their energy away from that victim energy.

The statement people don’t want to work. It’s a victim’s statement in a way, right? Those leaders are, are focusing a little bit too much on the catabolic nature of what’s going on now. I’m not, I’m the last person that’s gonna suggest, you know, sugar coating, rosy glass, saccharin BS. That’s not what I’m talking about here.

These leaders are shifting their energy away from victim energy. They’re empowering their people at every level. And they’re getting out of the way. They’re letting their people do their work. They’re letting their talents really come right to the surface. You know? So in the coaching for engagement model, we call this detached involvement.

We detach ourselves enough to get outta the way, but we stay involved from a supportive role from an empowerment and encouragement role and yes, absolute clarity of direction when needed you care. But you get outta the way. Yes. This retains people, man, this retains people.

Ralph Simone: Well, it’s both. And, and we often look at things as either, or it, it, this looks at relating and achieving I’m reminded of the language, right?

So you talked about the victim energy. We wanna focus on what we want, not on what we don’t want. And this is where one of the things that coaching helps us do is it’s, it helps us see our habits of thought. That drives our patterns of behavior. And often those habits of thought are reflected in our language.

Again, reading Napoleon hill this morning, his opening chapter of his 17 success principles, what the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve. So why wouldn’t we be saying that we can, you know, the people are out. We can find them and we are willing to detach and change our systems that will enable us to not only attract people but retain them and have them really step further into their greatness.

So I think this part of coaching helps us, uh, point out, right? The prevailing habits of thought that might be getting in the.

Bill Berthel: I love that, you know, I’ve worked with, uh, many recruiters in some past roles that I’ve had and what divided really effective recruiters from those that weren’t quite as effective was that they were able to relate and achieve.

Those recruiters really fully understood my organization, each role, the culture, what was needed to make a really great fit. And they went out in the world and related to these people to attract them. But it wasn’t just the relationship, right. It was then here’s what you’re gonna be able to achieve in this role with this organization.

Here’s the kind of impact you’re going to make in this market or in this community, whatever the role was that both end of relating and achieving. Is what we’re enjoying watching leaders do. To really attract and retain their people in this hard

Ralph Simone: time. And I think they also have to be comfortable not knowing I was at a client’s facility on Tuesday, and they’ve been pretty happy with the work we’ve done.

They’ve doubled their EBITDA in the last two years since we’ve been working with ’em, they wanna add a second shift. And I kinda stopped and I said, well, why do you wanna add a second shift? Well, we need more resources. And I said, well, how else could you get those resources? Or have you talked to the people on first shift?

Right. What’s the goal. And then what are the actions you need to achieve that goal? And the guy goes, well, you don’t have the answer. I said, I absolutely don’t have the answer, but I think the answer lies with talking to your people, finding out what they think would. Interest people in joining, maybe you could, you have a first and a third shift.

Maybe it’s not a traditional second shift, but really getting people to think differently about how they may go about solving the problem, but being comfortable, not knowing. Just know that the answer to how is yes, and there’s an energetic shift and by asking better questions and listening deeper to the answer and getting out of the way, I think the people will come out of the woodwork.


Bill Berthel: It’s funny. I often joke that the most attractive part of my job as a coach is that I don’t have to have any answers, but there’s some seed of truth in that humor in the way that we get to as coaches. Pull the answers from other people and those answers are so often better than the ones we might have consulted or given.

I would agree.

Ralph Simone: I’d like to share one story. Cause when I was talking about the, the shift thing. Adding the shift, whether you add whether you could get the same output with the same number of people working differently, that was, and the guy said, well, gimme an example. And you know, I don’t know why I thought of this, but at the tender age of 24, I was a foreman at a large manufacturing facility.

And this is really a coaching for engagement story. I was. We were running overtime, we were running four tens and an eight. We were accumulating additional charges, but not getting the credits. We weren’t shipping more units. So I finally went down to the guys on the line who were in their mid to late fifties.

I said, what’s going on? The guy says we’re old. I said, what? He says, look, it when I know I gotta work 10 hours instead of eight, I pace myself. And I said, well, what do you think we ought do? He goes, I think we ought go back to eight hours a day. And if you get us the parts, we’ll get you the units. And, uh, I simply went back eight hours.

The charges went down, the credits went up and the plant manager wanted to know what I did. And I said, well, I don’t think I can complicate this enough for you. He goes, what do you mean? I said, well, I didn’t really do anything. I just went down and asked what was going on in what we could do to change the outcome.

That’s an example of coaching for engagement. That’s an example of just asking the question and listening for the answer and then being courageous enough to do something different.

Bill Berthel: Yeah, it’s beautiful. Beautiful. It really is this willingness to take a serious look at what’s necessary. A willingness to hold the challenge that exists today with potential future solutions.

Not be so locked up or hung up on what we think we know in that moment. Right. We have real willingness to question what we know and invite others into that conversation, through coaching this coaching for engagement space while you know, there’s no silver bullet, we get to witness this in so many organizations with so many leaders and it’s transformational.

It gets away from the transactional of just achieving. Into that transformational space of unknown potential unknown growth, unknown answers in the moment today. What can pop up tomorrow through coaching for engagement? It’s just so much fun to witness. And, as leaders it’ll be such an attractive energy.

So if there were, uh, three

Ralph Simone: to five tips that we would give our listeners on how to create this coaching for engagement culture, what would we offer?

Bill Berthel: Yeah. So, you know, the first one is creating that space. What we mean by that is the trust, the rapport, the psychological safety for people to really bring up their ideas when asked for people to share their vulnerability in when they don’t know, and to, to really have that space of when we say psychological safety, it’s really that space to take a risk.

To take a risk and share my idea to take a risk and maybe disagree with my boss to take a risk to say, you know, I don’t know, but I’d like to try this other solution. So create the space of psychological safety trust and rapport. First

Ralph Simone: sounds like we might suggest asking better questions. What and how questions are open-ended, empowering questions that really get people thinking more broadly and deeply about the possible answers.

Bill Berthel: I love that. I think that’s the tool right on the side of the tool belt that we need to go to. And then the second step in that is listening. If we’re gonna ask that question, be really ready and eager to fully listen, not listen, to respond, really listen to acknowledge and validate what you hear and then explore, explore with that individual or the group.

You can, you can do this in a group setting. It’s not just one on one. You can do it with a team. Explore the possibilities of what’s happening in that conversation. Right? So you ask the open-ended, empowering questions and then listen, listen. Well,

Ralph Simone: it goes back to what you said about creating the space and this supports.

You know our mantra or at least my personal mantra over the years, slow down to go faster, to listen deeply. Mm-hmm to explore, to take it to the next level. We’ve gotta have the time and the space and the energy and the presence to really get what people are offering. And I don’t think we do that enough.

So slowing down to go faster would be a, a good mantra. For people to adapt. What else, if there were one or two other things that we would share with our listeners for this coaching for engagement,

Bill Berthel: what would it be? Yeah, it’s not just a conversation. We wanna drive it to action. The next step would be really agreeing on what is the next action or set of actions to be taken, or we really wanna get into application or action from the asking of questions and exploration.

So we can put something in place. This is where we start achieving. This is where we start to perform.

Ralph Simone: Well, I think, you know, coaching has about really three basic things we wanna find out where people want to go. We wanna help them see what will get them there and what might get in the way of them getting there.

And then we wanna provide the support and accountability for them to stay focused on the journey. The other day it’s called it the three GS. I don’t think it was very glamorous, but it’s like, there’s a goal. There’s a gap. And then there’s a little bit of a grind in the grind. Not that it has to be hard.

You gotta do the hard work of asking better questions and deep listening. And you talked about when we have that safe space. We get the off-the-wall ideas that could be the breakthroughs or the innovative ideas. And I was talking to a client yesterday and I asked her if she’d ever flown Southwest airlines.

And she said, yes. And I said, well, the former CEO, I think he used the former CEO Herb Keller when he was advertising for people. And I remember in his book, he had. Coloring book, a picture of someone who colored outside the lines. Mm-hmm mm-hmm . And he said, if you were the type of person that colored outside the lines, we want you.

Yeah, I love it. And, um, we, we were having a conversation. I said, I actually asked her to write a job description that looks nothing like any job description they’ve sent out for a job. They’ve been having a difficult time filling. And she kinda, her first, she was a little. Hesitant, but I created that safe space.

Then her eyes kinda lit up and she started talking about if you’re the kind of person that enjoys flexibility, free thinking and wants to, uh, you know, contribute to keeping the country safe. We want you, right. It, it was totally different than a kind of. The, uh, I don’t wanna say bland because that’s a little too judge, but the typical recruitment ad that goes out there was a shift in energy now will that create a shift in finding people I’d like to think so I’d

Bill Berthel: like to what you’re sharing is the, or the talent of reframing, right?

Even the word grind does not have to be negative work does not have to be a four-lettered word here. Right, right. it’s I think if we reframe what that grind and what that work looks like, people do want to work. We wanna be able to participate in some space and share our talent., I don’t think that’s negative at all.

I like grind. I like that when we reframe it as here’s that opportunity to really work, to really share your talent, you know, the piece about accountability, right? Good leaders, good coaches are accountability partners. It doesn’t mean doing it for them. It doesn’t mean, you know, over-accommodating it’s co-accountability.

It could be as simple as a check in. It can be as simple as continued empowerment. It could be a quick report in down the road to see how the progress, the status report. There’s something about knowing someone else cares about my output, that I have an accountability partner that’s gonna make me meet or beat the expectations.

So really great coaches or accountability

Ralph Simone: partners. Yeah. So if we leave our listeners with a call for action, what would it be Bill?

Bill Berthel: Well, I think the call for action here is multiple quite honestly. Let’s start thinking differently, ask yourself better questions. What do we mean by that? Empowered open questions for yourself?

How am I willing to look at whatever challenges we, we kind of picked on the challenge of people don’t wanna work or this conception of, you know, uh, people not being as engaged as they once were in the workforce. How might you look at the challenge a little differently and ask yourself better open, empowering questions?

Let’s just start there.

Ralph Simone: Nice. Nice. Reminds me. Maybe that’s a good place to end a phrase. I heard from Wayne Dyer, whether or not he was the author. When we change the way we look at things. Mm. The things we look at change. And I think if there’s anything that coaching does more than anything else, it helps people change the way they look at things.

Bill Berthel: No, I love that. I love that. I’d say the other call to action is to be sure to join us every other week here at the get emergent podcast. So you can learn more about strategies and ideas, how to increase your leadership and team effectiveness. Thanks for tuning in.

Note: The preceding text is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors

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