Five Tips to Being an Effective Performance Coach

By Susan Cullen on Thu, Mar 08, 2018 @ 09:00 AM

If you have agreed to act as performance coach for someone who is working on his or her performance development, support this person any way you can. Outlined below are several ways to be an effective performance coach.

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Analyzing Performance Trends

By Susan Cullen on Fri, Aug 23, 2013 @ 09:58 AM

You may have identified aspect of your performance that you would like to improve. Before you decide what to do about them, you should analyze why the unwanted performance trends exist. The major reasons for any performance problem are:

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Guidelines for Becoming a Good Performance Coach

By Susan Cullen on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 @ 09:02 AM

A performance coach is someone who sincerely wants to help others succeed, and has the knowledge, experience and communication skills to encourage the development of others.

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3 Elements of Effective Performance Discussions

By Susan Cullen on Mon, Nov 09, 2009 @ 12:58 PM

One of the most difficult conversations most managers ever have is when they need to meet with an employee to discuss a performance problem.  Most managers either put this discussion off altogether (just hoping against hope it will go away), or so clearly mismanage the discussion that the employee leaves feeling demoralized and unmotivated.  However, the following three strategies can help you the next time you find yourself needing to coach an employee to improve.

  1. Focus on specific performance issues, not personality.  You may just know that the performance issue is obvious to the employee, but that is frequently not the case.  It can be very tempting to use general language like “not a team player”, or “attitude problem”, but the other party won’t understand what you mean.  They will probably get defensive and then you’ve immediately lost any hope of having a positive outcome.  So make sure you are clear and specific when describing the problem.  Instead of complaining that they weren’t a team player, say instead “When you missed the deadline by 2 days, it caused the whole team to be behind on this project”.  As a result, you will be focusing on the performance issue in a clear way and not making what can be perceived as a personality attack.

  2. Encourage the employee to take ownership for solving the problem.  One of the best ways to do this is to ask him or her what suggestions they have for improving.  This puts the responsibility on their back, and not on yours.  By engaging them in the solution, you are encouraging ownership of not just the problem but also the solution.  This gives them the opportunity to feel more empowered and willing to make a change.  Your goal is not to assign blame or make someone feel guilty; your goal is to improve the problem in the future.

  3. Set a follow-up date.  It can be tempting a heave a sigh of relief when you get to the end of the performance discussion and pat yourself on the back for accomplishing the first 2 strategies.  But if you end the conversation there, even though it went well, it won’t be successful.  There’s a strong likelihood that the employee may leave with all the best intentions, but can loose focus when meeting the rest of their daily demands.  To keep them on track, you will want to make sure you set a specific follow-up date and time to measure improvement.  Don’t say “Let’s review this sometime next month” or you can both get distracted.  Instead schedule a specific date and time to monitor progress.  This will ensure the employee understands how important this issue is to you, and the results achieved will be significantly higher.
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Upcoming workshops

By Susan Cullen on Wed, Sep 10, 2008 @ 12:08 PM

Retention Strategies That Work - Helping Managers Retain and Engage their Staff Workshop

Class Schedule
Contact us to learn more about dates and times for this course, and/or the possibility of scheduling it for your organization.

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3 Essential Management Skills to Increase Team Performance

By Susan Cullen on Tue, Jun 24, 2008 @ 10:45 AM

I’m sure you’re wondering, “Why should I listen to this person. What does she have to tell me that I haven’t already heard or already know.”

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