Performance Management Coaching

By Allen Macintosh

Getting started with Performance Coaching.

Allen Macintosh underlines a number of important criteria in order to successfully implement performance coaching in an organisation :

  1. Before you start to coach, make sure you get trained on how to coach for performance by an expert.
  2. Once you’ve been trained, you may find out that you “will struggle to cope with coaching, both in terms of taking the skills on board and also of taking the time to put them into practice.
    I’ve encountered weird and wonderful excuses as to why managers don’t or won’t coach. “It’s easier and less time consuming to tell them what to do “is one common “reason” or ” I am here to manage, not to coach” is another reply I have heard.
  3. Make sure there is a qualified coach available for support.
  4. Ensure follow-up after the training in order to bring coaching alive in the organization
  5. Before you start coaching, my advice is that you make time to ensure that you contract your coaching role.
    Sit down with your team members and explain that you will be coaching. Ensure that they realize what coaching is all about, how a coach operates, what your expectations are (check theirs!) and how coaching can benefit them personally. Build into that contract the fact that you are going to put time aside for coaching. Build a little extra into the contract around confidentiality and trust. Trust comes from managing expectations and keeping to the contract. Once the contract is established, start to build in time in order to start coaching. Put time aside, not only to Performance Coach “on the job” but also to coach within “Dedicated Time” frames planned in your agenda. If you are struggling with the number of tasks that you have to perform as a manager, then look at ways of developing your time and personal management skills. Putting time aside for your reports in order to discuss and coach them through their objectives and issues can move them forward as individuals in a big way!

Referring to Sir John Whitmore and book “Coaching for Performance”, good coaches are self-aware; they listen intently, question appropriately and challenge assumptions and actions. They will direct, but only when appropriate, and they only use their own knowledge and experience when they know it will move their coachee forward. In my own experience one of the main differences between a good coach and a directive manager is that the coach does not make judgments and does not let ego get in the way!

Coaching aims to enhance the performance of others through feedback, motivation, effective listening and questioning. Above all, coaching aims to enable the coachee to do it for him or herself!

Within daily management, performance coaching can happen in two main ways:

  1. “On the job”. E.g. observing a sales representative and then reviewing how the sales call went afterwards. Coaching here would support the sales rep to identify what went well and not so well. What were the reasons for it going well or not so well? How were they feeling before, during and after the call? What did they notice about their customer? If they were to do it again, now, what would they do differently? Etc., etc.
  2. By “Dedicated Time” Coaching. Here coaching takes place within a certain time frame (E.g. 1 hour) and specific topics are identified and discussed, e.g. I’m struggling with Objective Number 2. How can I get back on track? How can I influence that major customer to buy my products? Etc., etc.

In discussions with managers, a lot of good performance coaching happens while “on the job”. In terms of “Dedicated Time” Coaching, most managers I have dealt with agree that it does not happen to the degree it should. There are “review” meetings held but these are for the report to keep the manager up to date with their progress, usually for the manager to report the outcomes to someone more senior.

Managers must ensure that they build both aspects of coaching into their day in order to build both capability and performance of the individual. All managers should coach themselves (or be coached) in personal management : How do you structure your day? Is there a balance between performance coaching and dedicated time coaching? Do you actually manage to build coaching time in?

Do you want to acquire the coaching attitude and competencies it takes to become the best coach you can be?

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