Leading Inspiration: Q & A About Coaching

Q: I have heard a great deal about “coaching” employees. What does that really mean?

A: Thank you for the question. Here are a few thoughts about what coaching is, the benefits and what to keep in mind as you coach your employees.

Coaching focuses on future possibilities, not past mistakes. A manager’s responsibility is to provide support to the employee in the attainment of possibilities so that both may succeed. First you need to do a coaching analysis on your employees.

• Identify unsatisfactory performance

• Does the employee know their performance is not what it should be?

• Does the employee know what is supposed to be done and when?

• Are there obstacles beyond the employee’s control?

• Does the employee know how to do it?

• Do negative consequences follow performance?

• Do positive consequences follow nonperformance?


Next you need to prepare for the feedback you want to give the employee. Here are a few tips:

• Be specific

• Keep in mind the needs of the person receiving the feedback

• Focus on the behavior the receiver can do something about

• Define the impact on you, the unit/team and company

• “I” statements versus “you” statements

• Assess if the message you give is received and understood

• Be calm, sincere and monitor body language

• Reinforcement is the most effective form of feedback

• Criticism is the most ineffective form of feedback

• The difference between criticism (after) and advice (before) is timing

• Criticism overpowers all other feedback

• Silence is not always “golden” – leaves open for misinterpretation


Be prepared for employees possibly using some of the following defense strategies. When these occur, it is important to continue to monitor your emotions and stay focused on the performance issues.

• Excuses and sympathy

• Apology and promises

• Switching to another subject

• Anger

• Tears

• Self-pity

• Innocence and blaming

• Friendliness


When you are ready to meet with the employee, the process is as follows:

• Describe behaviors

• Discuss the impact it is having

• Pause and listen

• Solicit input and get an agreement that the issue exists

• Collaborate/choose what to do and mutually agree on an action plan

• Follow-up, review performance and determine the next steps/plan



Creating Successful Change

• Plan your communications

• Communicate the vision

• Develop change agents

Leadership – change sponsors, change leaders

• Attain workplace commitment

• Aligning the organization

• Tracking progress

• Leveraging knowledge and learning


Individual Tips

• Build “safety zones” (what is the same; sources of support)

• Ask advice from “veterans”

• Grieve

• Expect some chaos/allow for mistakes

Work-life “harmony”

• Be an active change agent

• Look for opportunities

About Agnesian HealthCare Work and Wellness

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