If you are a parent or a pet owner then you know that when your child or pet misbehaves, you have to act immediately or the corrective action is pointless. You cannot wait a day, a month, or a year to address a problem; by then the child or pet has completely forgotten what they did that was wrong.
Although employees are not children and they certainly are not a pet, employers should not wait to address an issue for the same reason. Many organizations and managers rely on annual performance reviews to make important decisions concerning the future of an employee and his or her role in the organization. If an employer only addresses performance issues once a year, then any corrective solutions can be too late to do any good. If improving employee performance is an organizational goal, then managers should use performance coaching in addition to, or in place of, annual performance reviews.
Coaching employees is a way for managers to provide feedback in real time and clearly identify goals in the context of the employee’s job. Coaching should take place early and often; early, to catch potential problems before they happen and often, because continuous interest and feedback virtually guarantees better performance.
Here are 5 elements of successful coaching:
1. Know the employee in terms of job fit
Compare the employee’s characteristics against those of known top performers in the same role. Once the comparison is complete, managers should be able to identify the gaps between the employee and top performers. Gaps often indicate areas that are outside the employee’s comfort zone and coaching should focus on bridging those gaps.
2. Understand how the employee will react
Managers need to understand how each employee will react to company turbulence in order to effectively coach them. One way to find out this information is through an assessment that will measure certain characteristics, such as need for control, social influence, patience, and motivational intensity. Knowing how employees will handle certain situations and respond to stress will help managers motivate employees and increase performance.
3. Chemistry between the manager and the employee
Relationships have an important impact on productivity; they can create positive opportunities for the team and the organization. In order to make the most out of those relationships and coach effectively, managers must identify potential conflict points in the relationship and understand how to avoid such issues. Knowing what to say and how to say it makes everything else possible.
4. Chemistry between the employee and the rest of the team
Although work teams are often informal groups, they are both ubiquitous and essential to the completion of most projects. Each team will have its own dynamics, and each team member will have their own distinct communication style and attitude about working together. Coaches must know which team members need to be in control, what characteristics the team is lacking, and how conflicts will be avoided or resolved. Knowing these things in advance will help eliminate team conflict and be critical to the team’s success.
5. Leadership ability
Part of coaching-based performance management is determining whether the employee exhibits leadership ability. Identifying the employee’s leadership skills will help managers tailor his or her coaching to develop those skills and will allow the manager to get the best performance from the employee at all times.
Once managers and organizations discover the value of coaching early and often, they will see how addressing issues and providing feedback on a continuous basis is far more effective than evaluating performance annually. Coaching not only changes the culture of an organization, but it increases employee performance and leads to a significant return on investment.
“Effective leaders know precisely when to coach, when to mentor, and when to manage.” – Dr. Rick Johnson, founder, CEO Strategist, LLC
Does your organization have a coaching culture?