In any organization the performance quality of employees varies. Some employees are continually growing and becoming better, some choose to always perform at the same level and, to managers’ dismay, there can also be employees in their teams who are continually under-performing.
Employees at any performance level need to be coached, each with unique approach. Below I would like to share the employee coaching approach, suggested by a leadership coach, Kris Plachy.
Coaching principles for employees aiming for career growth
This type of employees can be easily distinguished. They are truly in love with their job, they are initiative and always strive to over-deliver. Such employees want to be aware of all the processes taking place in the organization, even if it is beyond their main tasks and responsibilities. It is not once that that they have voiced their goal to get promoted within the organization.
This type of employees strive to make use of all possible opportunities for their personal and professional development. It is such an employee who often knocks at the manager’s door to ask for the chance to participate in another training programme. It is vital for such employees to continuously apply their skills and expertise, and show that they are truly committed to the organization and are capable of doing more than their current position allows them to do.
When coaching employees at such a performance level, the manager needs to address the following;
Keep up employee's performance at the highest level in his/her current position
Set goals pertaining to the employee's career growth (together with the employee)
It is vital to clarify to the employee that before having certain goals and ambitions about being promoted, s/he must be the absolute best in their current position.
An example of a goal, pertaining to employee's career growth is to become a mentor for a less experienced team-member. The role of the manager is to guide the employee through the mentoring process. The manager and his employee need to define goals on what is expected out of mentoring and what needs to be accomplished so that the mentoring relationship can be considered a success. Similarly, the mentor and the mentee need to set specific goals so that they will later be able to evaluate the progress of their partnership, as well as opportunities for improvement.
Manager should constantly assign tasks related to the employee’s professional and personal development. Those tasks are stretch tasks, meaning they are beyond the current skills and expertise of the employee. It is normal that the employee will need the support and the guidance of the manager during the process. The manager should transfer his/her skills and expertise to the employee on the continuous basis and guide the employee to perform those stretch tasks.
Coaching principles for employees having a consistent performance level
This type of employees rarely have setbacks. They are committed employees, who love their work, teammates and customers, but they don’t want to get promoted or take up more responsibility.
It is worth noting that they don’t like changes and often resist anything that goes against the status quo. That is why managers should apply coaching as a tool to support this type of employees to go through changes as smoothly as possible.
Although employees having consistent performance level don’t aim for more responsibility, it does not mean that they don’t want to grow. It is quite essential to give them opportunities to grow at their current position, for example, such an employee can be given an opportunity to take part in a training and then share the acquired knowledge with their team members.
During the coaching sessions, constantly ask them what kind of developmental opportunities they need. Give them those opportunities.
Coaching principles for under-performing employees
The reason why employees may have setbacks can be often explained by two factors; lack of essential skills or a mindset, irrelevant to the organization’s philosophy and core values.
We can bring in here the "bus analogy" suggested by Jim Collins.
According to this analogy, an organization can be compared to a bus. There are employees who have setbacks, because they are in the wrong seat in the bus, meaning their skills would be much more relevant and effective in another role in the organization. This means that if their seat in the bus is changed, they will perform much better and the number of setbacks will soon decrease.
In such a scenario, coaching by the manager or by high-performing team-members in terms of skills transfer will be quite helpful.
In another scenario, the employee has all the necessary skills, but her mindset just does not go in line with the organization’s philosophy, which in turn causes setbacks. In this case, they say that the employee is in the right seat in the bus, but she is in the wrong bus. This means that she is not a good fit for the organization. In such a situation, the manager may help the employee to shape a new mindset and be integrated into the organization’s culture.
But if after considerable efforts, the managers gets convinced that it has been a waste of time, then the best solution will be to help the employee to find a "bus" which will be a better fit for her.
It is worth highlighting that while investing in the development of the employee and contributing to their professional progress, you directly shape your own professional brand as a manager.
It is Your brand as a manager that will continually attract talented and ambitious specialists.
Be The Masterpiece,
P.S. Let us know what You think about the ideas expressed in the post!