Join LinkedIn Learning Instructors for an in-depth discussion in this video Tips for Coaching Low Performers, part of 2-Minute Tips for Senior Leaders.
- One of the hardest coaching conversations you'll have as a manager is the one in which you tell a low performer that things aren't going so well. Hi, I'm Lisa Gates, a negotiation consultant and executive coach. And, helping poor performers improve their work can test even the best manager's leadership and communications skills. So, I want to give you a preparation strategy to help you handle that first conversation. Write an opening statement. To craft this opening statement, ask yourself, "What are the facts?" Maybe it's as simple as your customer support stats have dropped for three months in a row.
Or, you've missed your last three deadlines. Once you have the facts nailed down, you want to detail the impact of your employee's performance while being really careful to avoid blaming language. You might say, "I'm concerned about the impact to the team and everyone else who's relying on us to keep the project on track." Notice how different that statement is than saying, "When you miss deadlines, everyone gets irritable and the team cohesion goes in the tank." Once you've delivered your opening statement, ask an open ended question to see if your employee is in alignment with your assessment.
From there, you can brainstorm together on what actions need to be taken to turn things around. Give this strategy a shot next time you have an employee who's not meeting expectations, and you'll find you're entering the discussion organized, prepared, and ready to coach.