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Transforming Managers into Coaches

Apr 20, 2018 11:05:00 AM

Part 3 of our Coaching in the Workplace series is here! As the title says, our goal is to teach our readers how anyone in your workplace can be taught to become a Workplace Coach. We hope that these alternative leadership techniques and best-practices will help managers reach a better working relationship with their employees.

joshua-rodriguez-422768-unsplashSusan M. Heathfield, of, explains Workplace Coaching best:

The goal of performance coaching is not to make the employee feel bad, nor is it provided to show how much the HR professional or manager know. The goal of coaching is to work with the employee to solve performance problems and to improve the work of the employee, the team, and the department. (Heathfield, 2018)

Many managers will only provide feedback to employees for negative circumstances; positive feedback is, unfortunately, much rarer today. The key component to Workplace Coaching is learning to combine the two forms of feedback into one constructive message aimed to motivate and inspire employees to fix any mistakes, and continue their good work.

For example, say a waiter at the restaurant you manage has received a few complaints from customers on their service  interactions. Poor Workplace Coaching would be to pull the employee aside and berate them for the feedback they have received from customers without offering any way to better themselves:

                “I’ve received several complaints from customers saying you have a bad attitude while you serve
                them. You need to adjust this now.”

The only real feedback this statement provides is establishment of the problem that your employee has a cold attitude with some customers. What it doesn’t do is offer any solutions to fix said problem, and it doesn't approach the employee in a positive or encouraging manner. Instead, try approaching the employee with:

                “Hey, I’ve heard from a few customers recently that you acted coldly towards them
                when you serve their tables. Is there something going on you need to talk to me about? What
                can we do to solve this problem?

This statement is much more constructive. While it does recognize a problem that has to be fixed, it also offers help to the problem-employee and shows their manager is willing to listen. A manager who does this immediately becomes more relatable, trustworthy, and generally liked among the employees they manage. Showing empathy towards your employees may seem like an obvious tactic for a manager to employ, but it’s surprisingly underutilized and more times than not, it’s approached the wrong way.

To wrap things up, let’s return to Susan M. Heathfield and review what she believes are six coaching steps to provide fully-supportive, positive, coaching to your employees.

  1. Show confidence in the employee's ability and willingness to solve the problem. 
  2. Describe the performance problem to the employee. Focus on the problem or behavior that needs improvement, not on the person.
  3. Determine whether issues exist that limit the employee's ability to perform the task or accomplish the objectives.
  4. Discuss potential solutions to the problem or improvement actions to take. Ask the employee for ideas on how to correct the problem, or prevent it from happening again.
  5. Agree on a written action plan that lists what the employee, the manager, and possibly, the HR professional, will do to correct the problem or improve the situation. Identify the core goals that the employee must meet to achieve the appropriate level of performance that the organization needs.
  6. Set a date and time for follow-up. Determine if a critical feedback path is needed, so the manager knows how the employee is progressing. Offer positive encouragement. Express confidence in the employee's ability to improve. Recognize, however, that the only person who is in charge of their performance improvement is the employee. As much as you try to help, he is the one in charge.
    (Heathfield, 2018)



Interested in learning more Workplace Coaching techniques? You can views Part 1 & Part 2 of our Coaching in the Workplace series. Also make sure to keep an eye on the Proliant Twitter page for up-to-date news and the release of Part 4!





Heathfield, S. M. (2018, Jan). Employee Management Tips. Retrieved from the balance:



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