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Crucial Conversations: Performance Coaching

Posted by on February 29, 2012

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Performance CoachingIf you’re a manager, you probably know that performance coaching is often seen by employees as a form of punishment. From their perspective, “coaching” equals “discipline.” Frankly, in business environments that use this approach, that perception is accurate. However, if handled in a rewarding and supportive manner, fear and resentment will automatically disppear from the coaching process. The importance of handling it properly cannot be underestimated. When coaching is fully understood and trusted, it can then become the positive force it is intended to be.

Management Responsibility

Since coaching is within the jurisdiction of management, managers naturally set the expectations of employees throughout the process. As a manager, it is imperative that you demonstrate that coaching sessions are intended to help the employee further their career and not as an indication of dissatisfaction with the employee’s overall performance.

All employees, regardless of tenure or performance, should undergo the performance coaching process. To ensure maximum effectiveness and develop trust, coaching methods should incorporate positive advice and feedback, not negative criticism.

The Essence of Coaching

Coaching is a journey, not a checkbox on a form. Employees can intuitively feel when their manager is just “going through the motions.” Simply complying with corporate policy on performance coaching is probably more detrimental to the morale of the organization than merely ignoring it as it fosters contempt for every other corporate initiative.

In fact, coaching is fundamental to the optimum functioning of an organization. Instead of merely informing, it is essential that a coach ask the right questions to help others understand their current thinking and behaviors. Armed with this knowledge, an employee can improve themselves.

Coaching Styles

None of this is to say that there is one ideal method of coaching. There are as many successful styles of performance coaching as there are successful managers. Many managers still ascribe to the “command and control” formula. In this paradigm, the manager does the thinking, designs the game plan and enforces its execution. This might work well if your coach is an Albert Einstein or Steve Jobs, but can suffer with other personality types.

A more proactive method of performance coaching involves the AOLA method; Awareness, Ownership andLearning. Once a problem or opportunity is identified, ownership is assigned and accountability follows later. The most beneficial aspect of this method is that both the manager and the managed learn.

At CGWA, we believe that our Coaching for Improved Performance workshop should be part of your Professional Development toolbox. Through the application of our unique coaching model, targeted case studies, and face-to-face feedback, managers are able to achieve resounding success with their employees. Although we know the classroom experience is priceless, we don’t want you to leave this blog without a free tool you can use today. Use it as your springboard to coaching greatness!