What is Performance Coaching?

Every organization is always seeking that extra level of performance (or the forward-minded ones are, at least) to separate them from the competition. One more sale, one more client account, one more satisfied customer than before. This is easier said than done, of course. How do you continue to stimulate your employees in a way that promotes their growth? How do you keep them moving on from the status quo, which will eventually hit a ceiling? That is where performance coaching comes into play.

Performance coaching centers around the capturing of marginal increases that, over time, deliver significant results. These often come as a result of one-on-one coaching, with a manager reviewing how an employee goes about their day and tasks. By taking a look at an employee’s process and methods, a manager can offer some insights on how to improve that particular task. It could be as simple as a way to dial calls faster and more efficiently in an outbound sales role or noticing that an employee is not using one of the many technical tools at their disposal that can improve data accuracy.

This performance improvement comes not only from pointing out and resolving possible issues or bottlenecks, but also from the establishment of stronger personal relationships among employees. Each employee is different, and thus learns and adopts feedback differently. By having a manager that can participate in that one-on-one type of detailed coaching, you can help to learn more about your team and the strengths and weaknesses that each possesses. This improves not only individual performance, but team performance as a whole. Stronger relationships also mean improved engagement, better retention, and increased trust among employees, which can have immeasurable benefits for companies going forward.

Employee Performance Coaching Best Practices

In order to ensure effective results, certain steps should be taken to foster a more productive coach and employee relationship. It may seem obvious, but those coaches should be trained on how to work with employees in that one-on-one capacity. Not everyone immediately possesses that skill to work with individuals, identify deficiencies, and work collaboratively to find and implement solutions. Once those coaches are trained appropriately, it’s time to become familiar with the performance indicators that are in play, and identify the opportunities to improve those metrics.

Those opportunities can take many forms, as performance coaching is not always about turning around an underperforming employee, but instead helping each employee to reach their potential. This could mean developing a new skill to fill a gap or eliminating certain barriers that may be hindering performance. Identifying these opportunities come from being in close contact on a regular basis, which means more meetings than just an annual performance review.

With that close contact, you can then start to communicate the information that you’ve gathered about their performance and establish a plan with realistic goals. These don’t have to be home-runs each time down the list – incremental improvements can go a long way in building a good habit. It’s also easier to provide support and feedback through each step of the improvement process with the more manageable goals. Ultimately, you will be tracking that performance and based upon the particular needs of the employee, you can further elaborate on any required training. This all intertwines with the relationship that the coach has built with the employee: by understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the individual, one can tailor individual improvement plans, and thus truly target the areas that can be improved in an effective manner.

Performance coaching never stops; there can always be more that can be done to improve and grow. And with these tips, you can bring performance coaching to your organization and begin improving every day.


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