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The yearly review is a common experience for employees in companies across the world. Yet, if this is the main source of constructive criticism and feedback, the employee has little opportunity to grow and flourish throughout the rest of the year. Effective executives like Stefan Masuhr make use of additional strategies such as coaching to encourage improvements in their employees.

Coaching offers another way of approaching employee performance and development. Through regular one-on-one sessions throughout the year, managers and supervisors can discuss an employee’s performance directly with the employee. These meetings focus on both positive and constructive feedback. Coaching can be provided by internal or external coaches, whom you can learn more about by watching the embedded video.

According to the Executive Coaching Survey conducted in 2010 by the Conference Board, coaching is practiced in 63% of organisations. Over half of the remaining organisations affirmed an interest in implementing this strategy. However, although organisations seem to be implementing coaching, most of the managers of these companies spend as little as 10% of their time on this activity. More emphasis should be placed on this important practise.

Why Coach?

Coaching can be very effective for improving employee performance and attitude. Some major areas that can be improved include productivity, retention and employee relationships with their superiors. Check out the PDF for additional details.

However, these improvements will only be seen if the coaching is effective. Managers and supervisors will require training so they can learn how to effectively coach employees. There are many ways to do this, as you can see in the infographic below. Remember, the most effective way to train management for coaching is through a formal training course.

How to Coach

There are some steps and elements that form the basic framework for coaching. What are they?

  1. Start the Conversation Upon adopting the concept of coaching, you should begin having regular coaching meetings with employees. Welcome the employee to the meeting and state the reason for the meeting, which is to open up dialogue about the employee’s performance and professional goals. It’s good practice to note performance issues right away, but high-performing employees can benefit from coaching as well. Even if you don’t have performance issues to deal with, you can still have a coaching meeting.
  2. Be Warm and Supportive Show confidence that your employee will be able to sort out performance issues and reach new goals. By being warm and empathetic, you can make sure your employee is comfortable and motivate them to work on improving.
  3. Find Solutions Taking into account any barriers to the employee’s ability to succeed, seek solutions together. Even high-performing employees may need help removing barriers that keep them from attaining higher levels of success. Common barriers include training, tools, time and attitude or temperament. During this progress, be sure that you allow your employee to offer solutions before you make suggestions. This ensures that your employee is contributing to the solution and feels invested in it.
  4. Make a Plan Write out an action plan complete with a checklist that each person must complete in order to succeed. With the written plan in place, there is something for all parties to reference in the future. Remember, a plan can also include training and development activities that will assist the employee in reaching their goals.
  5. Follow Up Coaching is based on regular meetings, which means you will need to have constant follow-ups and regularly make new, updated checklists. Check the progress of the employee based on the last meeting and the action plan that was created. In these follow-up meetings, offer praise and encouragement as much as possible. Of course, if no improvement is seen, records of coaching such as emails with meeting minutes and checklists are helpful for documenting grounds for firing.

Coaching offers a powerful tool for improving both high-performing and underperforming employees.