Coaching provides a foundation for the daily interaction between manager and employee. It’s a conduit through which feedback can be provided on performance and solutions found to help enable ongoing development and growth. A coaching style relationship not only helps to cement engagement and loyalty among staff but can also be crucial for improving performance too.
When is coaching useful?
A coaching style relationship between manager and employee is a great basis no matter where the member of staff sits in performance terms. It provides a way to keep channels of communication open and ensures employees know that they are supported. It can be especially useful where:
Employees are underperforming
In a situation where an employee consistently does not meet targets or where there are clear issues, coaching is a great tool for turning the situation around. It is an effective way to solve performance problems and offer the employee a way to do better that will also benefit the team and the wider business.
There are no performance issues
Even employees already performing well can benefit from coaching to do better – it’s an opportunity for individuals to continuously improve both skills and the ability to add value to the business. Although coaching is often aimed at employees falling behind from a performance point of view it’s also essential to ensure that those who are doing well also get development support.
Using coaching to improve employee performance
Focus on the issue not the individual
When raising a performance problem with an employee, describe the issue and the situation, rather than focusing on the person. Ask them to help you solve the issue and express confidence in their ability to find a solution.
Identify potential obstacles
Is there anything standing in the way of performance improvement that could be removed? A lack of training, not having the tools to do the job and insufficient time, for example, are all obstacles that can be removed. Temperament is trickier but if this is the performance obstacle then there are also ways in which it can be overcome.
Talk through the potential solutions
If this is a high performing employee then these can be phrased in the context of ongoing improvement. If it’s someone who is having performance problems ask them for input on how to correct or solve issues.
Write down the outcomes
It’s important to keep a record of what was agreed, of the goals that were set and the solutions that have been identified to move the situation forward. It’s also a good idea to establish a date and time to follow up on the conversation. This timeline can be used to establish when feedback might be necessary.
Even in a difficult situation, positive encouragement will provide an opportunity for change. It’s essential to express confidence in the ability of the employee to achieve the goals set and to convey the support that you will provide in helping them to do so.
Coaching has a lot to offer when it comes to employee performance. Whether you’re looking to solve problems or give high performers the chance to excel, it’s an incredibly useful tool. Book onto our Performance Coaching Half Day course today.