6 Steps to Provide Effective Employee Coaching

By Elena Tinaglia

Coaching is defined as an ongoing approach to managing people that creates a positive and motivating climate for performance, improves the match between an employee’s actual performance and an employee’s expected performance, and increases the probability of an employee's success by providing timely feedback, recognition, clarity and support. Coaching is an alternative to discipline by passing the ownership of performance improvement to the employee rather than the manager. Coaching also works to frame the “issue” as an opportunity to grow and improve rather than the employee “getting in trouble” for something they did wrong.

In this article, we will be focusing on coaching, what effective coaching looks like, and the 6 steps to providing effective employee coaching:

  • What Is Effective Coaching?

  • Why/When Should Effective Coaching Be Used?

  • Step 1: Create Ownership In The Process

  • Step 2: Get On The Same Page

  • Step 3: Remove Barriers To Success

  • Step 4: Collaborate And Brainstorm Solutions

  • Step 5: Write It Out

  • Step 6: Make A Time To Follow Up

What Is Effective Coaching?

Effective coaching not only provides positive feedback about employee contributions but also lets employees know when they are effective contributors to the workforce. By providing this positive feedback, the employee’s actions and contributions are reinforced so that they continue to perform in this way.

Why/When Should Effective Coaching Be Used?

Effective coaching can also be utilized when there are performance issues with an  employee. Employee coaching feedback assists the employee to correct minor issues before they become significant detractions from their performance. The goal of coaching is to work in a collaborative way with the employee to solve performance problems and to improve the work of the employee, the team, and the department.

Coaching & Performance Management

The first step in any effort to improve employee performance is counseling or coaching. Counseling or coaching should be part of the day-to-day interaction between a supervisor and an employee who reports to him/her. Done well, coaching can help an employee continuously improve their skills, experience, and ability to contribute.

Here are some steps that management can take to provide effective employee coaching:

Step 1: Create Ownership In The Process

Show that you have confidence in the employee's ability and willingness to solve the problem. Ask them for help in solving the problem or improving their performance. Create a common goal to increase the employees' effectiveness as a contributor to your company.

Step 2: Get On The Same Page

Describe the performance problem to the employee. Be sure to focus on the problem or behavior that needs improvement and not on the employee themselves. Provide concrete examples of the behavior so that you and the employee share a common understanding and meaning. Ask for the employee's view of the situation. Do they see the same problem or opportunity that you do?

Step 3: Remove Barriers To Success

Determine whether there are external issues that exist that may be limiting the employee's ability to perform the task or accomplish the objectives. Four common barriers are time, training, tools, and temperament. Find out if these barriers exist and how to remove them. Does the employee needs your help to remove the barriers? Are they able to remove them by themselves?

Step 4: Collaborate And Brainstorm Solutions

Collaborate with the employee to brainstorm potential solutions to the problem and create action items to create improvement. Identify the core goals and achievement markers that the employee must achieve to reach the level of desired performance.

Step 5: Write It Out

Core goals and achievement markers can be put into a formal written document between the employee and manager so each party is held accountable to the process and the results.

Step 6: Make A Time To Follow Up

Set a date and time for follow up, whether this is internally made by the manager to check in with the employee at a later date or a mutually agreed upon time to revisit the employees progress. Following through to check on improvements and progress is an important part of coaching.

What Else Can A Great Manager Do?

As a supervisor, offer positive encouragement and express confidence in the employee's ability to improve. Recognize, however, that the only person who is in charge of their performance improvement is the employee. They are ultimately the one in charge of their own progress.

Conclusion

This process allows your employee to take ownership of their own growth thereby creating an employee who is fully engaged in their own performance. Investing in your employees’ development and growth by communicating your commitment to their success through effective employee coaching will help you build an engaged, skilled team for your business. By following the steps above and maintaining positive reinforcement and follow up, your employees will be well on their way to owning their experience!