Coaching Employees: 5 Steps to Making It More Effective

The key to having self-motivated employees is effective coaching. Initially, it will take extra time – the whole “teach a man to fish” process versus just “catch a man a fish.” But the results are worth the investment.

Follow these five steps to make your coaching and feedback process more effective.

1. Decide what you want to accomplish

Before you go to your employees with a new project, you need to be clear in your own mind about what you want them to accomplish. Focus on what the end result should look like more than how you think they should get there. Think about the big picture. How will it affect your overall company objectives? How will it affect your employees’ role in the long run? If you can explain this to your employees, you’re more likely to get buy-in.

2. Set a goal with your employees

Then, it’s time to talk to your employees and set goals together. Discuss what you want to accomplish and be clear about your expectations. Consider giving your employees a model of what their end goal looks like or set specific criteria for what the output should include. Has this ever been done before? If so, is there someone else within the company or team who might provide some first-hand advice? Set your employees up for success by being crystal clear about your expectations.

3. Make a roadmap for reaching the goal with milestones along the way

In the same conversation, discuss a project timeline with your employees. Set milestones that build toward the end goal. Set up “check-in meetings” that allow you to get together along the way in order to evaluate how things are going. Talk about a deadline and indicate how important the timing may (or may not) be to the success of the project.

4. Give feedback

As your employees work toward accomplishing the goal you set together, be sure to attend your check-in meetings at the agreed upon times. Let them ask questions. Give praise for what’s going right with the project and make suggestions if you feel they need more direction.

Also ensure your employees have access to all resources necessary to meet the goal. Are there any tools or aids you can provide to make the process smoother? Continue checking in and giving feedback until your employees have met the criteria you set in step two.

5. Debrief

Meet a final time with your employees to take a look back on the project as a whole. Discuss what worked, what didn’t, and what might be better if done differently next time. But be sure to make time to celebrate success and reward their accomplishments as well. This positive reinforcement helps make the extra effort feel worth it to your employees and encourages them to keep moving forward.

But that’s not all. Here are a few more crucial components to creating a successful coaching culture within your organization.

Make sure your coaching is aligned with your company’s core values

Coaching is the key to achieving company goals. Therefore, your coaching should be based on your organization’s core values. They become the “why” behind your advice and encouragement. This way, your coaching becomes less about what you think and reinforces the culture that you want in your organization. And when you and your employees are looking at the bigger picture together, it should help them be more receptive to you, too.

Understand what motivates your employees

To have successful coaching relationships with your employees, you really need to get to know them on at least some personal level. A big part of this is knowing what gets them excited. It can prove very helpful when you’re persuading them to change or grow. It enables you to frame the advice you give in a way that can be most effective.

It’s okay to ask them flat-out, in a one-on-one meeting, what makes them feel motivated. Or you could distribute a questionnaire to all your employees at once. And when you’re having casual conversations, find out what they do on the weekend and what their hobbies are. They’re more likely to put in a little extra effort for a leader who genuinely cares about their well-being.

Keep it collaborative

No matter the situation, coaching conversations should flow both ways with ample opportunity for mutual feedback and discussion. This way, you’re not removing your employees’ responsibility in the matter or doing the work for them. Collaboration in coaching emphasizes the relationship and teaches you how to become sounding boards for each other.

When you establish great coaching relationships with your employees, it can improve every interaction you have with them and makes management far easier. Effective coaching can build more trust on both sides and keep the door to improvement open at all times.

Learn more about aligning your employees’ roles with business objectives to cultivate a successful workforce. Download our free e-book, How to Develop a Top-notch Workforce That Will Accelerate Your Business.