As company leader and the manager of your staff, keeping watch over their performance is a primary focus. You don’t need to micromanage every aspect of your operation, but having regular reviews of employee productivity is important to reaching your business goals. Sometimes, you’ll find team members have various areas of their jobs that they could make improvements in with just a little bit of guidance. Coaching is a powerful asset that will allow you to help take your employees’ performance from where it is to where you want it to be.

Identify Specific Goals

The first step that any coach needs to take in order to be effective is to identify the specific goals they hope to achieve. If you feel that a specific employees performance is not up to par, discern exactly where their deficiencies lie. Are their sales figures low? Are they having trouble meeting deadlines? By creating a list of particular issues, you can create measureable goals to aim for.

As the manager you need to identify these issues, and then when meeting with the employee bring up the areas of focus in a friendly, non-insulting manner. It’s easy to put someone on the defensive if you come out of the gate listing their shortcomings. Instead, encourage them to identify the areas they need to work on themselves, and come to a mutual agreement of how coaching can make improvements.

Create a Strategic Plan to Get There

In order to make any meaningful progress, it’s important that you first develop a strategic plan outlining your coaching process and how you’re going to get from the start to the finish line. Your coaching plan should include:
• A thorough description of where the employee’s performance is now in each area of focus, and specific, quantifiable goals that you both hope to achieve.
• Identifying any skills or knowledge that needs to be learned in order for the employee to reach the goals
• Listing any external hindrances that could be preventing the desired outcome
• Creating a set of steps and mini-goals that link the current performance to the future expectations
Once you create this strategic plan, it should be the most instrumental tool in improving performance. It will not only be a detailed explanation of how you intend to reach your goals, but it will also serve as a way of keeping your employee responsible for their own progress.

Reward Positive Progress while Correcting the Negative

Successfully coaching your employees means meeting with them and reviewing their performance on a regular basis. These meetings should be sessions of encouragement rather than reprimanding them for their failures. Offering rewards to your employees are a great way to promote satisfactory progress. Whether it’s simply a verbal “good job” or the luxury of an afternoon off for meeting a major milestone, rewarding positive progress will help ensure steady growth.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, any problems should be met with encouraging reinforcement based on the mutually agreed development plan. A negative approach can lower the enthusiasm the employee has for growth and may cause them to close off from the process altogether. Through friendly encouragement you can help the employee identify the reasons for the backwards progress and develop solutions to avoid them in the future.

Coaching is an extremely useful tool in the arsenal of any manager. It can help motivate employees facing performance issues to step things a notch, and can encourage your top team members to strive even harder for success. Proper coaching, however, takes rigorous planning and frequent performance reviews. If you’re as dedicated to successful coaching as you hope your employees will be, then improving their overall contributions to your business is an achievable goal.

Author's Bio: 

Tracey Fieber helps business owners simplify, automate, and grow their businesses and their lives. She believes in the power of hiring the right people, and helps her clients cultivate highly effective teams that allow them to focus on the work about which they're passionate. By nurturing business owners' strengths and holding them accountable for their own success, Tracey's leadership, communication, and coaching techniques help her clients take massive leaps forward.

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