This is about what good coaching looks like at the individual employee level. A truly effective coach needs to become proficient at tailor making a feedback and support strategy for each specific employee. The way to do that is to understand each employee’s level of talent and motivation.
Strategies to deal with different types of employees
Based on the interaction of these two important factors there are four different kinds of employees who each require a different kind of coaching in order to reach their full potential.
1. The highly skilled and highly motivated
The kind that every boss is grateful for the dream employee, these employees are highly skilled and highly motivated and are one of the operations best resources for getting results They are typically self starting, self-motivated and they do more than is expected and like new challenges.
- If you’re working with dream employees you need to think about your coaching role is that of being a nurturer. That is to say, as a leader you need to identify new and challenging job assignments for each dream employee, provide them with regular doses of praise and recognition, offer additional responsibility and empower them with additional decision-making authority.
- You need to look for ways to reward their great performance and to keep them motivated and feeling valued. In addition you need to look for development and learning opportunities to help your dream employees grow and develop.
- Both your dream employees and your operations benefits usually if you give them special assignments to develop new skills and provide on-the-job training experiences that will help them grow. You can even give them coaching opportunities of their own as they can help develop other employees.
- Employees in this category they know what they’re doing and they already work hard so you need to do everything in your power to let them know that they are truly needed, respected and appreciated in order to keep them motivated while at the same time helping them stretch and continue to develop as professionals.
2. The up-and-coming employees
The up-and-coming employees are highly motivated and willing to work hard but they may lack some of the skills and talents they need. Up-and-coming employees can be new hires, transfers or maybe contract employees, so you may need to become more mindful and active in your role of with them as a trainer and a coach and working with them.
- To be effective in coaching them you need to be both a teacher and a trainer you need to spend sufficient time observing their performance to identify specific skill gaps that they might have and then you need to create a meaningful training plan to help them acquire the talent that they need for success.
- A good coach of up-and-coming employees will provide them with solid instructions additional on-the-job training and maybe more formal training. You also may want to give them the opportunity to work with a talented coworker who can serve as a role model to them.
- The goal is to do whatever it takes to help these employees become more proficient in the skills that they need for better performance as quickly as possible since your primary challenge working with up-and-coming employees will be taking the time to smooth off any rough edges that they may have in terms of their skills.
- Fortunately the fact that these employees are already motivated means that there almost always willing and hungry to learn. You’ll find that the time you spend with them will be a great investment towards improving the operation performance that you’re looking.
3. The underachieving employees
Underachieving employees will put your coaching skills to the test since employees in this category typically have the skills, the expertise and all of the talent that they need to do good work but they are low on motivation and this deficit tends to get in the way of producing better results.
- In order to coach these employees you need to be a motivator since it’s not uncommon to find underachieving employees who do the bare minimum in getting by and they lack any commitment to their jobs or your organization. They often have negative attitudes and a generally poor work ethic.
- These employees are sometimes called cruise control people because they seem only partly present and they fail to use their talents to the fullest. But, the encouraging thing about underachieving employees is the fact that they have the potential to achieve they can be strong performers on any given day they just don’t perform at consistent high levels.
- You need to try to find out what is sapping their motivation and fire up their willingness to work. You also need to make it clear the consequences of failing to do so, and you’ll find it helpful when working with this category of employees to take even greater care in establishing performance goals and standards so as to create a greater sense of employee performance ownership.
- You’ll also want to track their performance more closely to create a greater sense of accountability and when you see them engaging in a desired behavior be sure to reinforce it but be willing to use constructive criticism reprimands or even negative consequences to move their performance in the right direction.
4. Change-or-go employees
Change-or-go employees unfortunately are the least likely to be of help as you try to improve your organization’s performance. They not only lacked motivation but they don’t have the ability or the requisite skills to do their jobs either.
- These individuals might’ve been bad hires in the first place or perhaps they used to be effective employees but they were placed in the wrong positions and then lost all motivation to try. Whatever the case they become hangers on or some like to call them the workplace walking dead. They take up space and do little or nothing to contribute.
- To get employees like this to perform you need to be a miracle worker but one way or another you need to step up and take control of what is a highly undesirable situation. You need to either change the employee by helping them become more productive or you need to change the employee by replacing them.
- You don’t really have any other options because the longer change or go employees stay around the more problems they cause. They have a negative impact on their coworkers and they can also destroy and damage customer relationships. Addressing both the ability and the motivation of employees like this simultaneously in a reasonable timeframe is a tall order at best and it can be emotionally draining to say the very least.
- Coaching an employee of this kind requires reviewing the employee’s employment record tracking the employee’s performance record to date and ensuring that the employee has the proper tools and support to be successful. Then it’s imperative to clearly define in writing all needed performance changes that the employee must make in order for employment to continue and to work directly with the employee to create an improvement or turnaround plan that the employee owns.
- Once this plan is in place be sure to monitor the employee’s performance on a daily basis providing ongoing feedback and documenting the employees actual contribution. This ongoing performance tracking is critical to create accountability and the spot progress the lack thereof.
Remember that as a coach you can have a powerful and positive effect on the performance of the people around you if you’re committed to their success, but for this to work you need to be prepared. You need first to have the necessary skills and information, the right attitude, clear objectives, a coaching process and strong metrics. Everything else is easy.