“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 General Electric
Why Is Coaching Important?
Good managers regularly keep their people and team informed about work performance so that they can nip problems in the bud. if you think it’ll get better or you don’t have the time now, then I can assure you down the road you’ll be spending more of your time fixing even big problems.
Here are three strategies and 25 tips on how to give corrective feedback that will be heard and most important acted on.
1. Prepare – Don’t “Wing It”
- View coaching as tool for improvement not criticism
- Don’t garbage dump. Decide on the key areas to cover.
- Be sure you have documented facts not just impressions.
- Assume positive intentions that your employees want to improve.
- Know the target and how that person would best receive your feedback.
- Avoid the let alone, then zap. Don’t let marginal performance build into a crisis.
2. See Coaching As a Discussion Not a Lecture
- Coaching needs to be regular, useful, timely and two way.
- Always look at the problems from the employee’s perspective.
- Start with the specific situation: timeliness, error rate, lateness.
- Explain why this situation concerns you or its impact on the team.
- Invite the person’s response, listen attentively, and be supportive.
- Discuss the possible reasons for the poor or marginal performance.
- Move into problem solving emphasizing the person’s responsibility
- Decide on specific actions and get commitment to the new actions.
- Focus on performance, avoid getting tangled up in personality issues.
- Summarize what was agreed upon and set-up specific follow-up date.
- Keep it private. Public criticism will generally demotivate rather than motivate the person.
- Go for “quick wins”. Don’t try to solve all the problems at once but ones that can be solved quickly.
3. Don’t Stop Now, Follow Up
- Don’t let out of sight out of mind happen.
- Praise the employee when performance improves.
- Be specific. Tell exactly what was done right so he can do more of it.
- Keep the message ‘clean’. Don’t mix negatives feedbakcwith positives.
- Express your personal appreciation. Encourage them to keep up good work
- Resume corrective coaching, or possible discipline, if improvement begins to slip.
- Remember, feedback needs to be regular, useful, timely, two-way, focused on behavior.
Management Success Tip:
Regular employee feedback is a communication tool that keeps employees informed about their performance and their progress. Feedback should compare a person’s actual performance with an objective standard so the worker will know whether he or she is below, at or above standard. Also see Employee Coaching: Guidelines to Make it Work.
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- Copyright © 2012 Marcia Zidle business and leadership coach.