How to Engage, Motivate and Coach Your Team

November 15, 2017

Category: Management

When it comes to creating a thriving business, your most important building blocks to architecting that dream are the people who build alongside you. When you take the time to invest in their goals, performance and interests, you demonstrate that the business’s success is directly correlated to your employee’s engagement at work. A whopping 84% of employees want a new job, and perhaps even more surprising is that 13% of the American workforce is actively disengaged at work. Now – take a quick moment to think about your team. Do you have a pulse on how everyone is doing? If you’re not sure, there’s no time like the present to check in.

Brad Karsh, CEO and founder of JB Training Solutions hosted a webinar on modern but easy-to-implement strategies on connecting with your team to ensure they’re feeling engaged and motivated at work. And the effort in doing so is well worth it. In a recent report from the State of the American Workforce, “organizations that engage their employees experience a 240% boost in performance-related business outcomes.” So how do you achieve this? By learning the pillars of engaging, coaching and motivating your team – keep reading to discover how.

The Number One Driver of Employee Engagement

If you’re growing a team or looking for ways to sustain your current organization, there’s a very simple solution – recognition. Employees who feel valued for their contribution are more highly engaged, and in turn contribute to the better business outcomes mentioned above. Simple gestures like acknowledging someone’s work in a meeting, sending a note to say thanks, or periodic check-ins to give feedback on great performance can make all the difference in the employee lifecycle.

“Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone” – Gladys B. Stern

By recognizing others, you will create a positive environment and become a stronger coach yourself. Through setting the example that recognition is part of your leadership style, you might even see the ripple effect between coworkers in their collaboration. This isn’t to say that constructive feedback needn’t be part of your communication, but by focusing on successes, you will build self-esteem and create an environment where your employees feel supported and motivated to do more.

Quick Tip to Implement Recognition:

  • Be sincere! Back your praise up with a specific example of their success; for example:

“Jordan – your recent work in our weekly newsletter has been fantastic. You are instilling the helpful brand voice we’re hoping to build.”

Be sincere, and be real. By giving your team specific examples of how and where they’re making an impact, they can better extract their efforts and continue to tailor them to future successes.

Motivation Matters

When it comes to motivating others, there are two types of feedback you can give: directional and supportive. Both ways of delivering feedback are effective, but it’s imperative to know which type to lead with and when.

When you’re giving directional feedback, you give your direct report or mentee guidance in the form of one-way communication. To lead as such, provide examples of what you’re looking for by demonstrating what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. When leading with a supportive motivational style, you’ll want to get more involved by engaging in a two-way dialog. When guiding as such, provide encouragement, listen, and involve your mentee in the decision making. Depending on the type of project, this type of motivational guidance is truly effective as it makes the individual feel a part of the process, rather than delivering an ask as a one-sided dialog.

“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to because they want to do it” – Dwight Eisenhower

Motivating your employees can be sustained over time by inviting them to an important meeting, allowing the employee to work remotely more often if compliant with company policy, or even by offering training to further develop a skillset. Granting contributors access to more resources, projects and responsibilities will undoubtedly incite excitement and buy-in to current work. Give it a try!

Coach with Care

Take a moment to reflect on your days playing a team sport, working on a group book report or learning a recipe with mom. Our hope is that these triggers bring you to a vision of a mentor giving you clear advice and offering encouraging answers to any questions you may have had. To coach in a professional setting is parallel. Listening is critical — in order for your team to feel a mutual trust, you must use both ears to truly hear what they’re telling you. Modify your team meetings or 1:1s to demonstrate you’ve taken their feedback to heart. Make an effort to position future lessons to incorporate the answers to questions your team has asked in the past.  To engage and motivate a team is no easy feat, and in order to successfully do so, a leader must practice as a coach. Offer guidance, but be sure to push and challenge your team. No growth comes from a completely flat road, so demonstrate that you’re available for support, but also encourage your org to test things on their own and come up with their own solutions. By providing a stable, consistent environment for feedback, your team will thrive in understanding what they can expect when it comes to performance reviews and the like. At the end of the day, your employees want to succeed and thrive. By paving the initial path for them and letting them carve the way forward, you provide a stable but challenging roadmap for their future work.

Interested in hearing the entirety of Brad Karsh’s webinar? Be sure to check out the full recording here.


Caitlin is a content marketing manager who loves telling small business success stories. When she’s not tweeting at industry influencers, you can find her crafting pickles and exploring San Francisco.

Category: Management

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