Awaken, Develop, Reinforce
Recently, I was speaking to a HR manager who has been asking me for support in bringing out the best in the people she works with.
Her question was very similar to what many HR managers, team leaders, coaches, and mentors ask – “How do I improve the performance of the people I work with? Is there a formula or a method?”
Parents might also be wondering the same thing – is there a way in which I can bring out the best in my children?
Although there are many methods out there, here is something that can be used in your personal life,as well as your professional life.
There are three steps to the process:
- Awaken – in my years of coaching and mentoring, one thing has been clear to me. That is, some people are not aware of what lies inside them ie. their hidden strength, potential, talent, and abilities. I remember a quote by the legendary Ralph Waldo Emerson “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” The first step is to help people in uncovering what lies inside them – their untapped potential. There are many books and articles out there which focus on this subject. The one question that I ask people who wish to realise their untapped potential is “What would your life be like if you were living up to your potential?” Followed by “Which of those things can you do right now?” This gives them some sense of reality. In the present moment, being realistic can be a good start. Another strategy that I use is asking them for their past achievements eg. “Name a goal that you achieved that seemed like a big challenge at some stage”. When they give me an example, I will ask “What will it take to exceed that achievement?” Once again, this gets them thinking. Then I ask them to make a list of the skills that they would love to develop. Finally, I use a question that Dr Michael Broder mentioned in his enlightening book Stage Climbing – “If you were operating at your highest potential in this part of your life, what advice would you have for someone else who was struggling with this issue?”
- Develop – now that the person has some idea about what lies inside them and what they wish to do, it is time to act on the physical plane. I will now ask “What will it take to develop those inner qualities so that you can take action (execute)? While speaking to this HR manager, I asked her to spend time and resources on developing the people she works with. This is where a coach, mentor, or a professional trainer comes in handy. I remember when I started playing cricket for a club, my batting coach spent hours on my footwork. Although it seemed repetitive at the time, the energy and time spent was well rewarded! The insights from my coach were invaluable. I also suggest to people to do some self learning and developing – reading books, reading articles, listening to podcasts, and watching online videos. Developing a person’s skills can require time, and patience is required. If you are helping someone develop themselves (in a professional or personal capacity), please keep one word in mind – empathy. Everyone learns and develops differently. So, keep encouraging them to develop and grow.
- Reinforce – once the person has started thinking about what they wish to achieve and has started working on developing themself, start supporting them in many different ways. If the person is working hard in a training program, ask them how the training program is going, and if they need anything else to make things more fruitful for them. If the person is having a few challenges, remind them that you are here for their support, and that they are not alone in this. Just a gentle reminder that you are here for them can go a very long way in making them feel that they are part of something bigger. It also helps to remind them of what you discussed in the first two steps. Sometimes when we start focussing on one thing, we may lose sight of the bigger picture. This is where you should remind them of the bigger picture – what lies ahead, what has to be done, and what positive outcomes to expect. It is amazing what a difference it makes to people who have someone supporting them. In my coaching career, I used to say “I give you the gift of four words – I believe in you” to my clients who were working hard to achieve their goals.
When it comes to supporting other people in becoming more productive and positive, my suggestion to anyone is “To bring out the best in others, you have to bring out the best in you!”
In summary, help them in awakening what lies inside them, support them in developing themselves, and keep encouraging them.
Quote: “The best way to inspire people to superior performance is to convince them by everything you do and by your everyday attitude that you are wholeheartedly supporting them.” Harold S. Green
I hope that I have given you a simple insight into supporting people in being at their best.
Inspiring you towards your excellence,
Ron Prasad (Author, Speaker, & Coach)