Coaching Your Employees

Many times, we feel that we have to outline the specific actions the employee has to take to reach the stated goal. While this may make you feel better, the likely hood of this action becoming meaningful to your employee is close to nil. Let us assume you have already agreed on a specific goal for your employee. Remember there is usually very little wiggle room when it comes to a performance goal. Let us also assume that you have used the IRA steps to obstacle identification and removal.


Here is a recap of the IRA process:


Identify the obstacle: Have a frank discussion with your employee and determine what is blocking their performance. Waiting for them to give you the information voluntarily will probably not happen.


Root out the cause: Many times underlying emotions or problems may be the cause of the obstacles. Ask probing questions and jot down answers. You might realize they have a fear that must be addressed.


Antidote given: A remedy to the situation is needed to get past this obstacle. Brainstorm with your employee on ways to remove the obstacles. In some cases, you may have to try several different antidotes. Be patient if the cause is genuine.

No matter what the perceived obstacles are, do not let it stifle your coaching objective. Rarely, you may encounter an employee that throws obstacles constantly your way to derail you. Identify this and address it with that employee, documenting every conversation.


Exploring your employee's past performance and development is a great way to develop the reality of today’s performance. Of course, you want to avoid belaboring a past mistake to the point where it makes the session ineffective. On the other hand, focusing on past achievements helps to encourage your employee.


Here are some things to focus on from the past:

  • Goals that were met

  • Great behaviours

  • Great attitudes

  • Problems solved

Using the past helps to recap where your employee is at today. It is like telling a story but the end has not yet been determined. Use this time to speak positively to your employee. Avoid being negative or emphasizing the consequences of failure. This will leave an impression on your employee that could hinder their success.


Now, let us take it from the employee’s perspective. How in control do they feel? Would they shut down if we, as their coach, solely determine the action steps they are going to take? They might. It is imperative to keep the employee engaged. If not, the rest of the coaching session is just a one-way discussion, leaving your employee powerless in his or her development.


When you allow your employee to participate in the development of their options, you get B.I.G. results.


B.I.G. results stand for the following benefits:


  • Buy-in by your employee, because the options developed was a collaborative effort

  • Innovation, because more creativity is possible when two work at it

  • Growth, because the options developed will have more meaning and lasting commitment


Following the above steps while working with your employee to set goals and identify the current state of the employee by exploring their past performance and perceived barriers will help you coach your employee to achieve B.I.G results. Happy Coaching!


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