Learn to prepare for a coaching conservation by creating a conversation blueprint that serves as a guide for crafting and executing the discussion in a way that will produce the best experience and results.
- I can still remember hearing my first ever motivational speech. It was a powerful journey with twists and turns leading to a dynamic ending, one I have not forgotten. I've learned that outstanding speeches are planned and strategically built for specific outcomes and you know the same holds true for great coaching conversations. I believe many HR professionals do not strategically plan their disciplinary conversations but in fact, take them for granted.
Having no pre-determined strategy or plan and since we're approaching employee problems from a strategic, advisory position, we want to give the thoughtful consideration to how the conversation will be conducted and the outcomes we want to achieve and that's why I suggest creating a conversation blueprint that serves as a guide for crafting and executing the discussion in a way that will produce the best experience and results.
Use a blueprint to plan the outline and content of the conversation and to prepare key talking points by scripting phrases, identifying key words, and questions. Also, make sure this is done when you're completely clear on the incident and it's impact. Here's a sample conversation blueprint that has five segments. Segment one, the opening. What phrases and or statements will I start with? And by the way, don't take this segment for granted.
This sets the tone for the experience and establishes a positive rapport, Segment two, the key message of discipline and here you want to ask yourself. On what points do I want to be completely clear? Here it would be useful to create a loose script or specific talking points so that you don't over explain and muddle your message. You want to be clear, direct, and precise.
Coupled with compassion and empathy. Segment three, employee's response, time to listen. The question is what do you want to listen for? Most importantly, are you hearing that they are clear on the issue? Segment four, transition the conversation from discipline to development. How do I want to transition to coaching? You want to identify a bridge phrase, statement or question and in order to do that, you need to be sure of the key coaching point.
We know in many situations issues can be either a external life challenge or a personal maturity issue which presents an opportunity for growth. Scripting really helps here as well. The key transition phrase can be a statement or a question. A statement can be tell me more about why this occurred. This is a great opportunity to learn more of the employee's story and generate a more detailed and trusting dialog. Another question could be, what are you learning from this situation? And finally segment five, the close.
How do I want to close the conversation? Reassurance, encouragement, or is there anything that needs to be repeated or reinforced? Don't take this segment for granted either. Remember, the last few words and interactions you have with the employee will be what they remember most and will create the most significant impression. Now even with these five segment examples, I bet you can see the value of a blueprint.
It can serve as a consistent outline used department wide. It could also be customized for any company's specific needs. Please don't miss the opportunity an employee incident can bring by winging it. Give thoughtful, planned consideration to the content and process of the conversation for the best outcomes.
- Leveraging your employee handbook and other documentation
- Managing assumptions and bias
- Establishing a reliable process
- Reevaluating the HR role
- Creating partnerships
- Preparing to coach
- Conducting coaching conversations