U.S. businesses alone spend northward of $70 billion annually training their people, much of it helping their leaders better “coach” their employees.

The theory is that if a manager can have more frank, candid conversations with her people, she’ll create more innovation, better alignment to goals, more profitability. Makes sense. The problem: This assumes everyone who works for you can be coached in the same way—that a conversation with one of your creatives will go pretty much same as it will with someone who is money-driven or someone who is all about developing others.

This view of leadership is incomplete and broken. The truth is, individuals are much more nuanced, and understanding what drives a person is crucial to figuring out why a particular conversation isn’t going as you’d expect, or why some of your people still might not be as engaged as they could be even after you’ve coached the heck out of them.

For twenty years, we’ve worked with organizations on employee engagement and leadership issues, and have conducted research studies comprising more than 850,000 working adults. What all that has revealed is a key difference in those who are most engaged on the job. Those people have aligned more of their work with their core motivations. As for those who are most unhappy, as you might expect, their jobs are out of whack with what they are passionate about.

The sad truth is, few managers know or bother to find out what’s motivating to their people or, even if they do, they’re unsure how to apply that information in their day-to-day performance coaching. The best leaders, however, have discovered that the surest way to coach their employees to be more successful is first, to help them understand their motivations, and second, to use that information in every conversation.

That might seem logical. Then here’s the million-dollar question: Why don’t we all do this? Even well-intended managers have no idea what truly motivates their people. That’s like flying a passenger jet with a blindfold on.

That’s why we developed the Motivators Assessment, the first scientifically validated method to determine a person’s core motivators at work. More than 40,000 working adults have now taken the assessment, and thousands have gone through What Motivates Me Engagement Training offered by The Culture Works.

One such leader is Mala Grewal, CEO at Talent Catalyst, who not only runs her own company but also trains and consults with organizations such as Visa, Nestle, Disney, Apple, and IBM. She said,

Understanding what motivates the individuals I work with has enabled me to become a much more effective coach. I use employees’ motivators in ways that supercharge our coaching sessions and business results.

Mala GrewalCEO at Talent Catalyst
So, here’s the big question: How good of coaches or communicators can leaders be if they don’t know what motivates their people?

Find out what motivates your people.

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