Behaviour problems happen before performance problems thus performance challenges are a result of behavioural issues.
A lack of consistent coaching, mentorship and training allow behavioural issues to go unaddressed and at times even be rewarded.
When employees are left alone with no regular feedback, self reflection, coaching or training, they develop their own methods and habits leading to behavioural patterns that if not properly monitored and mentored can become problematic over time.
Performance issues are always a lagging indicator of behavioural problems.
A great tool in overcoming this challenge is coaching. The first thing to understand is that coaching is not managing. Managing is about task completion, deadlines and day-to-day activities. Coaching is about skill development, and taking the opportunity to challenge and push oneself to grow as an individual.
Both are required to develop happy, healthy and smart employees.
There are two primary coaching scenarios, planned and spontaneous.
Here we’re focused on mutual understanding and agreement. Both the coach and the person being coached want to be in this conversation. They both need to a) understand what coaching is and isn’t, b) be committed to putting in the work and c) to being open and honest with each other and understanding this is about the development of the person being coached, not the ego of the coach.
The GROW Model is a great coaching framework, especially for people new to coaching.
The simple format allows for managers new and experienced alike to execute a coaching process with their teams.
Goal – what does the person want to achieve?
Reality – what does their current reality look like?
Options – what could you do? Possibility thinking.
Will – what are you prepared to do? 90 day action plan.
The key is to set a Goal which is inspiring and challenging, not just SMART. Then move flexibly through the other stages, including revisiting the goal if necessary. The final Will element is the barometer of success. It converts the initial desire and intention into successful action.
This is about coaching in the moment. When a situation, behaviour or performance challenge presents itself. Talking directly and privately brings a unique opportunity to address an issue or to learn from a mistake. The key here is to identify the root cause and discuss a path forward while everything is fresh and current. It’s not about blame or catching someone doing something wrong. It’s about learning and correcting for the next time.
Both scenarios require three things to work:
3. Transparency of intent
Coaching is an underused resource that is too often confused with management. When used correctly, coaching can propel your people forward, solve longstanding issues and create a culture of excellence and personal responsibility.
Note: coaching isn’t for everyone. Many employers focus on problem employees, trying to “fix” them. This never works. Unless the employee wants to be coached, it will feel like punishment and the employee will always be on the defensive.
Coaching is most successful when focused on employees that want it and see the need for it. Those that want to have constructive discussions about their abilities and to be challenged to grow.
Good performance is 100% tied to job satisfaction. The more time we spend making happy employees the better our organizations do.