Performance Coaching

The following outline reviews the major elements to be considered and implemented by managers and supervisors in relation to Performance Coaching with their direct reports, either as a team/group or on a
one-to-one basis.

Setting and Communicating Expectations

Why it is important to set performance expectations?

  • To ensure the alignment of all team members
  • To establish a sense of fairness/parity across the entire team
  • To clearly define performance expectations
  • By omission, to outline what will not be accepted/not be tolerated
  • To provide a basis for performance measurement and recognition

How might these expectations be communicated?

  • Describe what the endpoint would look like
  • Describe the steps that need to be addressed to achieve the endpoint
  • Draw an analogy to a non-work related activity
  • Simulate the behaviour in a practice session or setting
  • Manifest/demonstrate the behaviour in an actual setting

Key point: Clearly established expectations will help influence and shape behaviour and positively impact performance.

Observing and Documenting Behaviour

It is important to focus any/all observations on patterns of behaviour that are seen or heard only – this keeps the relationship at an objective level and removes or restricts any subjectivity or personal biases from potentially influencing the assessment.

Another factor for consideration is whether the behaviour is relevant to the situation at hand – does listening to the music impede productivity or does the manager want the radio turned off because he/she does not like that style of music?

Key point: The manager or supervisor does not have to be physically present to observe an employee`s behaviour – telephone conversations, e-mail communication, feedback obtained from a third party (as long as it is objective/behavioural) are other ways to assess performance against expectations.

Coaching and Providing Feedback

Feedback provided must be relevant to the established performance expectations.

Prior to delivering feedback or to providing any coaching, managers and supervisors should ask themselves: “Is this useful information that will help my employee decide whether his/her behaviour meets or achieves performance expectations?”

These elements are also critically important in performance coaching and providing effective feedback:

  • Timeliness - deliver the feedback as soon as possible – the fresher the better
  • Balance - use positive words/statements; make suggestions for improvement
  • Specificity - deal only with behaviour seen or heard – and give examples
  • Objectivity - focus on the performance, not the person or the personality
  • Intent - even if the feedback is unpleasant, position it with an intent to help

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