Dollars and Sense: Coaching can improve job performance

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Developing effective coaching skills is essential to achieving managerial success. Whether as a manager in a company or as the owner of your own business, coaching employees to improve their job performance is one of the most important assignments you will ever tackle.

Coaching an employee to correct poor job performance is a difficult opportunity and one that requires your best effort. Let’s assume a member of your staff is experiencing job performance problems and you have scheduled a private meeting with the employee to discuss the matter.

While every job performance situation has its own set of circumstances, you can make the performance improvement coaching discussion successful by employing these steps:

– Address the situation as soon as you become aware of it. Poor job performance must never be allowed to linger.

– Communicate clearly the performance discrepancies. Be tactful and direct. Address the poor performance and never attack the employee personally. Remember this is a performance improvement discussion.

– Gain agreement that there is a problem. Listen carefully to confirm agreement with the performance issue(s).

– Make clear to the employee the consequences that will result if the performance problem is not corrected. Typically, company policy will dictate consequences. Just be certain that the employee understands.

– Require the employee to develop a written action plan to correct the poor performance. Make sure you receive a copy of the action plan. Let the employee develop the plan and be willing to help if necessary.

– End the session with reinforcement of the employee’s commitment to improve.

– Follow up with the employee once the action plan is received and then on a regular basis until the desired improvement is achieved. Encourage the employee’s efforts to improve every chance you get. Monitor the agreed on action plan to ensure success.

Coaching to improve performance can certainly be challenging. By using these steps, the employee has a great chance of success and in the process, your skills as an effective coach will also continue to grow.

Kevin McKenzie is a partner in The Moser Group. He can be reached by e-mailing