I love developing new ideas in management. It allows me to use my creativity as well as practice being flexible.
Recently I had a meeting with one of my clients that helped me focus on how to make performance coaching a useful tool in their company. What I learned was that I need to have a framework that managers can work within. I had to develop a few more rules for performance coaching to be useful to this particular company.
What is performance coaching?
Some companies do annual or semi-annual performance reviews. These are usually totally disliked by both managers and the people they supervise. There is often very little useful information that is shared and because they are held so infrequently, the information is only about what’s happened over the last month.
Performance coaching is designed to be simpler. It’s designed to be proactive which means we focus on the future. It’s designed to be easily done and easily delivered. It’s designed to be a tool to make your company better in an operationally doable manner.
Performance coaching has four areas. We evaluate the following things:
- How well do you fit into the company?
- How well are you succeeding in your job?
- How are you doing at managing and implementing your one project?
- How well are you doing at improving the number that you can influence?
How do you use performance coaching in every day situations?
On a weekly basis you’re going to have your direct reports write what I call the 15/5 report. (Thanks to Stan Bush for this concept.) This is a short report (no more than 300 words) where your direct reports will focus on one or two of the four areas they’re having a challenge with. This report will take you five minutes or less to read.
You will meet with your reports for fifteen minutes at least once every two weeks to review the 15/5 report and plan what you can do to move forward. You will want to focus on no more than two or three issues. Any more than that, your employees won’t know what to do.
Do we really need to talk about all four areas every meeting?
Don’t try to focus on all four areas of performance coaching every week. If you do, you will never have a fifteen minute conversation. The point is to give you a tool that you can use to focus on the important areas that will result in more success and a happier employee that is highly productive.
You will want to always start thinking about fit. If your employee doesn’t fit well, they either need to quickly or they need to leave your company. If the company is not performing well, you will want to focus on success factors in their job. If your company is doing well, then you can focus on projects and what activities your report can do to move their number forward.
It’s really pretty easy: Focus on no more than two areas in a meeting and you’ll be able to keep your meeting to fifteen minutes or less.
How often should you have performance coaching meetings?
There’s art in deciding how often to meet. If things are really going well you might only meet once a month. If your employee is having challenges and needs more support you’ll meet weekly. Anything in between is OK when things are going well and there are issues to talk about.
Remember, you’re talking about what needs to happen tomorrow. Dwelling on what happened yesterday isn’t going to provide you with anything that’s useful.
What is the expected outcome with performance coaching?
Performance coaching done well will help keep everyone’s eyes focused on what needs to be done for success. You won’t be dwelling on mistakes; you’ll be focusing on what you learned from mistakes. Performance coaching done well will allow you to collaborate with your direct reports on helping your reports become successful. After all isn’t your job as a manager to make your employees successful?
A major part of success in a performance coaching program is to have great employees to start with. We’ve put together a survey that might help you figure out if your hiring system makes sense. To participate in our survey click on the button below.