Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Coaching employees, part of Performance Review Foundations.
Coaching has quickly become the most popular paradigm for describing the process of interpersonally helping and supporting employees. Coaching is the process of observing and intervening with an employee, with the goal of identifying skill-improvement opportunities in support of short-term performance. Increasingly being a great coach is required for your next promotion. In two other lynda.com courses, New Manager Fundamentals and Motivating and Engaging Employees, I address the coaching process.
Here, I want to talk to you about a slightly more advanced take on coaching. Coaching high performers towards stretch opportunities. Where as coaching is typically focused on discrete personal behaviors, and inter-personal behaviors, at its outer limits coaching isn't just about building new skills. It's about applying skills in new ways. Coaching an employee to new levels of achievement often requires stretching and growing their role. And when you seek to stretch and grow an employee the risks are big because they have to tackle new learning curves.
You risk having the employee make new painful mistakes. You risk them making you look bad. And you risk harming the team or the organization. So let's think about reducing those risks. It starts with realizing that you can't assume, you know how they feel about stretch opportunities. So engage them in an open dialog about the possibilities. For example, common stretch opportunities include quantity expansions. That is simply doing more of the same work. Lateral expansions which is doing new work but at a similar level of responsibility.
Horizontal expansions which includes new higher level duties. And committee or special project work which involves temporary new project-based work. Once you have agreement since the stakes are high I want you to keep these three tips in mind. First. Be sure to offer as much positive feedback as you do critical feedback. It's a natural inclination when in coaching mode To spot opportunities to offer help and advice. Ways the person might do things differently and better. That's understandable and useful.
But, since the person is running up a new steep learning curve, be sure to be sensitive to this by also sharing well earned compliments when they appear to be doing great work. The more they believe you believe in them, the better able they will be able to process the more critical feedback. Also, resist the urge to over coach. Since the stakes are a bit higher, that often leads you to want to involve yourself too much. Don't allow the heightened stress in the situation to push you into micro managing because that can stifle their desire To continue taking initiative, which is the very thing that made them a strong performer in the first place.
Here's a great rule. At the beginning of the new assignment, spend a lot of time prepping them and clarifying expectations. Then when they begin, allow yourself to check in once per week, but not much more. Unless you receive feedback indicating performance problems. They do want to know you support them. But they don't want you to hover over them. Finally, know when to pull back and reduce or stop coaching. There might be a negative or a positive application to this rule. On the negative side, if you've not seen clear improvement over a six month period.
Something is wrong and it's time to stop, sit down and discuss possible role changes or new resources needed. On the other hand if you see the person taking charge of their own learning very effectively. It's wise to pull back your coaching and let them run lest you look like you don't yet trust them. In either case, know that there is a time to stop coaching. Coaching is fundamental to being a leader, and at no time is it more important than when you're taking the positive principled risks associated with stretching and growing your top talent.
Follow the advice above, and you just might be surprised, what they can accomplish.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The information contained in the following course is provided with the viewer's understanding that the course should not be used as a substitute for consulting a human resource professional at your company for specific guidance. Lynda.com and LinkedIn expressly disclaim liability for any damages, loss, or risk, incurred as a direct or indirect consequence, from the use and application of any content herein.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Understanding the performance cycle
- Setting performance goals
- Collecting performance data and feedback
- Writing the review
- Discussing performance with an employee
- Using a performance improvement plan (PIP)<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.