How can Coaching lead to creating high performing employees? Part 4 – When to Coach.

Posted by on November 15, 2010 in Blog | 0 comments

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The most critical part of any manager – employee coaching programme, is knowing when to start. And how to start. The old adage “when the student is willing, the teacher will appear” definitely applies here. No-one likes being “pushed” or “showed up”. Nobody likes to lose face, so the engagement phase of coaching any employee needs to be handled with care and respect.

In Part 4 of this series, I’ll look at When to Coach.

Although coaching should be an ongoing, almost indiscernible activity, managers should always be on the look-out for signs of performance problems. If an employee comes to you with a specific problem – great! They’ve just made your job as a manger easier. But what about those employees who never walk through your door, even though you claim that “your door is always open”? In these cases, you have to rely on your skills to recognise signs of performance or attitude problems.

Following are two lists of signs that will help you develop your identification skills. Some will be obvious, others less so. Could you add any signs you’ve identified to the list?

Signs of Declining Performance
1. Decreased productivity
2. Poor quality of work
3. Missed deadlines
4. Doing small tasks first
5. Avoiding tougher jobs
6. Disorganised
7. Leaning on others for direction
8. Away from desk for long periods
9. Upward delegation

Signs of a Poor Attitude
1. Little or no initiative
2. Withdrawn
3. Disinterested
4. Increased complaining
5. Uncooperative
6. Blaming failure on others
7. Defensive
8. Avoids contact with others on the team
9. Lacking enthusiasm for the job
10. Irritability, depression

Other ways of recognising when to coach can be further identified when we understand some of the reasons why employees don’t get the job done. Usually there are three reasons people don’t do what we expect them to do. Regardless of the excuses you may get when dealing with these employees, the answer can always be distilled to one of the following three.

A: THEY DON’T KNOW HOW.
This is due to lack of instruction, orientation or training and improper, or lack of, feedback from the manager.

B: SOMETHING OR SOMEONE KEEPS THEM FROM IT.
Things like physical or mental restrictions, lack of time, incorrect materials, or someone keeps doing it for them.

C: THEY DON’T WANT TO.
This could be because previous good work has gone unrecognised, they’re suffering from burn-out, they’re unhappy with their job / manger, or they just have a poor attitude.

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