ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Business and Employment»
  • Human Resources (HR)

Guidelines for Effective Employee Coaching

Updated on December 22, 2012
DeborahNeyens profile image

Deborah Neyens is an attorney, educator, and freelance writer with a B.A. in political science and a J.D. from the University of Iowa.

Every manager has to deal with it at some point: the employee who is not meeting job expectations. It could be habitual tardiness; it could be less than stellar performance. Whatever the nature of the problem, any good manager knows that it needs to be addressed with swift and effective action. One employee's poor performance not only impacts that employee's productivity, it can bring down the morale of the entire department in no time at all.

The first step in dealing with any employee who is not meeting the expectations of the job is coaching. Coaching sometimes is an overlooked tool in the manager's arsenal. Effective managers have ongoing communication with their employees regarding performance and goals. Coaching need not be negative; positive feedback and coaching reinforces good performance and encourages employees to work smarter, safer, and more efficiently.

Source

Coaching becomes even more important for the under-performing employee. When addressing performance issues with an employee who needs improvement or is not meeting the expectations of the position, coaching serves the following purposes:

  • To clarify the job expectations and identify where the employee is falling short.
  • To identify any barriers impacting the employee's ability to perform to expectations.
  • To provide a time frame within which the employee must improve to the expected level.
  • To identify reasonable training and resources needed to improve performance.
  • To support the employee's efforts to be successful in the position.
  • To inform the employee of the consequences of a failure to improve.

Remember the ultimate goal of coaching is improving employee performance to the expected level. If the employee is unable or unwilling to meet expectations despite the manager's reasonable efforts, coaching serves the secondary purpose of providing a defensible basis for discharge or demotion.

Guidelines for Documentation:

Document the discussion immediately following the event while it is still fresh in your mind.

Your documentation should reflect the following:

  • A summary of the issue discussed: Identify the purpose of the coaching, including the nature of the issue discussed, the performance expectations established, and any contributing factors the you or the employee identified.
  • The employee's response and action plan: Document any issues or concerns raised by the employee and the agreed upon action plan for improvement.
  • Manager follow-up: Identify any follow-up actions to which you have committed, such as providing additional information, resources, or training. Also document your plan for reviewing the employee's progress.

Provide the employee a copy of the completed report.

Maintain the report for future reference.

Employee coaching should be documented. Documentation is the process of capturing discussions and action plans in written form. A written record of the coaching contributes to the employee's understanding of the needed changes and helps to identify patterns of behavior or substandard performance. Documentation supports the decision to take an adverse employment action, such as discharge or demotion, if the employee does not improve and provides an objective basis to limit employer liability should the employee challenge that employment action. Record the good as well as the bad. Positive performance documentation supports future promotional opportunities for the employee.

Tips for Effective Coaching

  1. Provide timely feedback as soon as possible after the event or during the progress of the work.
  2. Go into the discussion prepared. For particularly difficult conversations, you may want to rehearse in advance with another manager playing the role of the employee.
  3. Be discrete and confidential. Don’t criticize an employee's performance in front of the group. Take the employee aside and discuss the issue privately.
  4. Be specific and clear about your expectations. Ask the employee to restate the expectations in her own words to ensure understanding.
  5. Ask the employee to self-evaluate and compare his work to the expected level of performance. This exercise may provide valuable insight into the root of the problem.
  6. When coaching an employee, provide direct, nonjudgmental descriptions of the observed performance or behavior and avoid making broad conclusory statements. It's not helpful for an employee to hear only that his work was wrong; you need describe the nature of the problem.
  7. Describe the issue in detail (what happened, when did it happen, what was the result, what was the impact to the organization) and provide specific examples to support your observations.
  8. Provide suggestions for improvement.
  9. Encourage two-way discussion. Ask the employee for input as to why the problem occurred or whether there were any contributing factors, and seek her suggestions on ways to improve.
  10. Ask if the employee needs any resources in order to perform to your expectations. Listen carefully to the response. Does he need more training? Was she never taught how to do a specific task? Your role is to provide the skills and knowledge needed to do the job. If the employee needs something, make every reasonable effort to assist him or her in obtaining it.
  11. Agree upon an action plan for resolving the issue, keeping the accountability for improvement with the employee. Advise the employee of the consequences of a failure to improve.
  12. Avoid criticizing the employee for things she can’t control.
  13. Apply the same standards to all similarly-situated employees.
  14. Keep your commitments to the employee. If you tell an employee you’ll check on something, follow-up on it and provide updates on the status of the request or question.
  15. Follow-up with the employee on a regular basis to assess progress.
  16. Reinforce positive behaviors and results.


*Disclaimer: This Hub is intended for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case or circumstance.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • DeborahNeyens profile image
      Author

      Deborah Neyens 3 years ago from Iowa

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Dianna. I hope this article helps others get the coaching that will benefit them and their careers.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image
      Author

      Deborah Neyens 3 years ago from Iowa

      I think another issue is that people are afraid to have difficult conversations. Thanks for reading and commenting, Linda.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      This approach to employee coaching provides positive feedback while building skills necessary to the job. I would have benefited from such mentoring at times during my career. Your advice is valuable.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Quality coaching is beneficial to have a successful team. So many people allow an over inflated ego to block their coaching ability...not a good thing. Excellent tips Deb! It's all about teamwork.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image
      Author

      Deborah Neyens 6 years ago from Iowa

      Thanks, Tams. I don't mind at all. I will check out your hub, as well.

    • Tams R profile image

      Tams R 6 years ago from Missouri

      Great information. I hope you don't mind but I linked to your article in my hub. You've got extra points that are a compliment to my own and there's not a one size fits all approach.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image
      Author

      Deborah Neyens 6 years ago from Iowa

      Thanks for reading! Yes, too many managers go into coaching with their minds already made up about the employee. Those managers aren't doing a their jobs. When their employees fail, they fail. As I tell my clients, the number one goal of any employee coaching scenario should be the employee's improved performance.

    • joystickenvy profile image

      joystickenvy 6 years ago from Illinois

      Nice article. My manager at my last job liked to use the term "coaching," but she did a very poor job of it and in the end it was mostly just an excuse to create a "cya" document that didn't actually reflect the "coaching" so they could claim they tried before they fired somebody. I wish all managers would take these tips to heart and practice them. Coaching is a great tool when used for good instead of evil.

    • profile image

      christine 6 years ago

      Great article. I am going to share it with the leaders to whom I provide Human Resources support.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)