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When Coaching Employees Turns Into a Carwreck - "The Sidetrack"

Stop me when you have heard this scenario before - a manager observes an aspect of an employee's performance that is counterproductive to the goals of the position or organization.  Rather than having a quick, non-formal sit down with them to talk it out, the manager in question avoids the issue until it becomes the elephant in the room they can no longer avoid.   The manager then wants/needs formal action in the shape of a written warning to address what has become a severe issue in their eyes. Bull_durham_1

Of course, it doesn't have to be this way.  To encourage the effectiveness of non-formal coaching conversations long before managers have the need for a formal corrective action process, I'm a big proponent of a 6-Step Coaching Tool designed to provide a framework for quick, on the fly coaching conversations.  See more about this 6-Step Coaching Tool here, here and here...

The tool is very effective and can be used for just about any coaching situation.  Here's the rub - coaching is a 2-way process (Can't employees just sit there like robots?  OK, some might, but the smart ones will be engaged and will challenge the assumptions you are making).  The tool forces a response from the employee when you stop talking to wait for their reaction to your observation (Step #2 - Stop talking and let the employee respond).   When you stop talking and listen to the reaction, it's human nature that the person in front of you is going to come back at you with excuses/reasons/objections.  I call these reasons/objections "Sidetracks", and here are the top 6 Sidetracks you'll hear when you try and coach an employee on any issue:

1.  What About Them?

2.  What About You?

3.  My Tools Stink...

4.  The Customer Stinks...

5.  My Life Stinks....

6.  <Insert Your Sidetrack here>

I'll break down these six sidetracks over the rest of the week and provide some thoughts about the best way to handle them.  To add to the degree of difficulty and as a tip to the baseball season we are in the midst of, I'll mix in the coaching experience of Crash Davis (played by Kevin Coster) in Bull Durham as he tries to mentor Nuke Laloosh (played by Tim Robbins).  Stay tuned and check back in.... 

Comments

Lisa Rosendahl

Ahh, I think I heard all six of them last week. The number 6 I heard was, "I did it for you." Talk about infuriating.

Coaching? Right now I am looking for a bench to sideline them :)

Looking forward to your series Kris.

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