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On The Fly Coaching For Improved Performance...

As a HR professional, I like to rant a little bit about Performance Management - see my takes on Self-Assessments here and Rating Inflation here.   However, the biggest Performance Management issue facing your managers and supervisors - especially the ones with limited experience - is how to coach on a daily basis for enhanced performance. Officespace_thebobs_2 

Coaching for improved performance in your organization isn't directing traffic or simply telling your employees what to do.   If it were that simple, everyone would be doing it, right?  No, my friend, Coaching for Improved Performance requires engagement in a couple of different ways.  First up, the manager has to be engaged enough to spend the time to coach - not many do.  Secondly, managers need access to a process/tool that allows for employee participation and engagement.

What kind of tools do you provide your managers to coach their employees on any issue?   In the spirit of sharing best practices, here's a brief, six step coaching process that managers can use to engage individual employees on any issue.  When your manager wants to engage an employee on a performance/conduct issue, they should:

1.  State What They Have Observed (Or What Technology Has Observed)

2.  WAIT For a Response...

3.  Remind them of the goals for their position and how they are linked to the company's goals...

4.  Ask questions on how the employee thinks they can improve in the area in question.

5.  Agree Together on what the employee has committed to do (make sure they agree)

6.  Close Upbeat and show that you believe the employee can improve and get it done...

The strength of this informal coaching tool is that it provides managers with a framework regarding "how" they are going to say what they need to say, freeing them after some skill practice to focus on the content of the area of concern.   Additionally, it can be used on a daily, informal basis to coach for improvement on the fly, without using formal processes like corrective action as a crutch.

We'll explore the steps of this coaching tool and some of the common obstacles to use in the entries to follow...




Waiting for the response is challenging for a some supervisors, right along resisting the urge to tell the employee what to do differently - the corrective action crutch you mentioned.

Tom O'Brien

Good coaching advice. After every pitch or client meeting we have a debrief with the whole team about what we could improve. All of us.

Tom O'B

Wally Bock

Nice tool. Because coaching is a form of confrontation it's important for a boss to have a too. Mine's similar.

Tell the person what behavior or performance you or the technology have observed. Use the Joe Friday Rule: "just the facts" leave the adjectives at home.

Tell the person why that behavior/performance is worth talking about. Use logical and emotional terms.

Shut up. Your subordinate should talk next. They may disagree with your facts. They may agree with your facts but offer an excuse or a reason. They may agree with you and promise to do better.

Whatever they say, it will form the basis for the rest of your discussion. Just be sure to agree on how behavior or performance will change and when and how it will be measured and what will happen if it does or doesn't before you consider your coaching done.

Scott McLean

We struggled with this a lot in the work we've done with clients... so we've started to build coaching templates about a year ago that will help managers start this "process" by giving them some best practices and idea.

The attached URL is an example. ( ) We now have over 200 of these built and now have added 4-5 minute videos, book summaries, and QuickTips for managers.

I'd love to get feeback on this idea if anyone would like to take a look.

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