As a leader in your business:

  • Would an average increase in profits by 20% be of interest to you?
  • How about boosting productivity levels of your employees by 17%?
  • Would you be impressed If sales increased by 20%?
  • Would a 40% decrease in absenteeism transform your business?

If those results—published in a 2016 meta-analytic study by Gallup—got your attention, then you might consider joining the employee coaching movement that’s transforming businesses around the world.

Business leaders who focus on coaching employees (also referred to as Employee Performance Development) instead of managing them gain a workforce highly committed to success—theirs and yours–vs. simple compliance.

“Make sure that team members know they are working with you, not for you.”
– John Wooden, Basketball Coach

The Difference Between Coaching and Performance Management

Performance management traditionally refers to overseeing the work of others through a one-sided, boss-administered task approach. Performance is typically measured through annual performance reviews where employees receive feedback from their boss.

Human resource experts question the effectiveness of this approach. Annual performance reviews are typically viewed as an anxious disruption by both managers and employees. Instead of inspiring action, the process can demotivate both managers and employees.

Coaching aims at influencing and developing employee’s skills, motivation, achievement and performance ability. The process provides on-going coaching and feedback to employees.

Sports coaching is a great example of the benefits of this approach. If football players received just a once a year evaluation of their performance, they and the team would fail—spectacularly. Instead, players receive continuous coaching on their performance at practice and even during the game. Basically, the players receive immediate feedback they can use to overcome barriers, challenges and figure ways to do better toward a shared goal—to win.

Some companies have dropped performance management and reviews entirely—in favor of the coaching approach. A Coaching Manager approach delivers:

  • Enhanced performance and improved productivity
  • Highly engaged employees
  • Increased trust among employees and managers

Others use both methods. While coaching is a process separate from performance management the approaches can be mutually beneficial.

Because of the continued, throughout-the-year coaching interactions, annual performance reviews become more of a discussion and collaborative planning session than a one-sided feedback meeting. Both the manager and employee can look ahead instead of looking back (after all, you both had plenty of discussion throughout the year) to see what’s possible to achieve during the next year, then figure out together how to accomplish it.

“I’d say handling people is the most important thing you can do as a coach. I’ve found every time I’ve gotten into trouble with a player, it’s because I wasn’t talking to him enough.”
– Lou Holtz, Football Coach

How to Implement Coaching in Your Business

The coaching process is relatively simple to set up.

First, identify the key traits of your best-performing employee(s). You can conduct this analysis on your own, or collaboratively with your staff. This would help create ownership to the concepts uncovered during the session.

  • Ask which traits or skills the employee(s) want to work on
  • Mutually agree on skills necessary to accomplish the goals both of you establish

Next, document the tasks and activities that would help develop the skill sets necessary to accomplish the goals you and your employees establish. Determine if additional training, education or other items will help develop the employee’s skills.

Finally, establish target dates for the activity or plan along with a schedule for follow-up discussions.

Follow-up discussions should include a review of the accomplishments (or lack) of the activity or plan. Engage in a conversation that includes feedback. Then discuss next steps.

“Good coaching may be defined as the development of character, personality and habits of players, plus the teaching of fundamentals and team play.”
– Clair Bee, Basketball Coach

If you’re interested in developing a coaching culture in your workplace, we’d be happy to help you develop a plan. Feel free to give us a call at (904) 429-4588.