Employee Coaching: Three Guidelines to Make It Work

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Managers who coach their people become known as good managers to work for, developers of talent, and achievers of business results. They also become better leaders in the process.

– Jack Welch, Former CEO GE

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]A[/su_dropcap]ND AMIT SINGH, President of Google Work, echoes this is a recent interview for the Corner Office in The New York Times. He said: “I learned the hard way about the importance of coaching people rather than jumping in and doing the work for them….A lot of folks wait until a formal review and I’ve always felt that the best coaching is in the moment and actionable.

It’s about trying to make somebody better versus criticizing someone for doing something. Done right people love it because you’re really invested in their success. The flip side is that if you just say what’s wrong, then people feel terrible.”

Doing It Right: Three Guidelines for Effective Coaching

  1. FIT:

Tailor feedback so that it matches the level of skill and experience of the recipient. If the person in new on the job, then spend more time. Ask for her understanding of the task; ask to see how she performs the task; ask for problems she is having. Only then, provide feedback. Perhaps the person needs additional training or resources to do well.

  1. TIMING:

Give development feedback at a time when people can respond to it, and use it. Usually, this means before the person is going to perform a behavior. For example, work with a person as she is developing an important presentation, not wait until after to say what went poorly.

  1. FOCUS:

Keep you feedback “on target”. For people to benefit from feedback, it must be clearly focused on the desired improvement or development. Remember, you don’t focus on the person, but on the person’s behavior.

  • Poor Example: “Jack, you need to improve your expense reports”.
  • Better Example: “Jack, accounting has returned your expense reports because it was not complete. It needs to include dates, purpose, and description of the expenditures as well as the receipts. Once everything is filled out they can make payment quickly.”

[su_box title=”SMART MOVES TIP” style=”glass” box_color=”#2f598a”]The key to employee coaching is giving effective feedback. Feedback is information about performance that leads to the person changing poor performance or continuing good performance. There are two major types of feedback: Corrective – which is intended to be problem solving. It lets people know what should be improved and how to make the improvement. Its purpose is to help the person perform better the next time Positive – which is intended to be encouraging. It lets people know what they’ve done well and recognizes or rewards them for it. Its purpose is to motivate the person to maintain or even increase the performance.[/su_box]

Remember your role should be a coach not a judge. Concentrate on shaping and motivating your employee’s behavior instead of grading it. The time for evaluation is during performance reviews not coaching sessions. Do you want to know the difference between coaching and criticism? Let’s start a conversation. [email protected].

Readers, what has been your experience in coaching employees or being coached by your supervisor? What other suggestions do you have for giving effective feedback?

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Marcia Zidle
Marcia Zidle
Marcia Zidle, The Smart Moves Coach, is a national known board certified coach and keynote leadership speaker who guides organizations that are planning, or in the midst of, ambitious growth and change. As a career strategist, she works with professionals, managers and executives who want to build • shape • brand • change • vitalize their careers. She’s been selected by LinkedIn’s ProFinder as one of the best coaches for 2016!Her clients range from private owned businesses to mid-market companies to professional service firms to NGO’s. With 25 years of management, business consulting and international experience, she brings an expertise in executive and team leadership; employee engagement and innovation; personal and organization change; career building and development; emotional and social intelligence. Your Future Starts Now With Marcia!

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