What Is Performance Coaching and Examples You Should See

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Performance coaching is a remarkably useful practice that helps improve an employee’s performance and promotes professional development. It’s an opportunity for both employees and leadership to take their skills and performance to the next level.

The premise is simple: set aside time to analyze performance management to see what people are missing. It encourages improvement, changes, and connections.

With this technique, leaders focus more on others, managers connect with workers’ issues, and employees find continuous improvement that sustains effectiveness. The coaching process is completely changed, yet still effective.

But how does one start an effective employee performance coaching program? This article is here to help. Keep reading to learn what is performance coaching, examples of it in action, and tips for operating a performance coaching program.

What Is Performance Coaching?

The performance coaching process is characterized by helping individual employees find their strengths, weaknesses, and finding ways to improve.

Usually, in business contexts, performance coaching is a one-on-one process involving an experienced teacher coaching a manager or executive. This often includes sessions regarding wide issues such as motivation, values, and decision-making.

During a session, supervisors use their coaching skills to evaluate and address employees’ weak points and find ways to strengthen them. This is usually done by exposing the employee to diverse experiences to gain the necessary skills.

Employees and supervisors often work collaboratively when planning to create a more personalized performance coaching experience.

Although this form of coaching is usually done individually, it could include using other people within the company. For example, if you would like to encourage leadership development, you could plan a meeting with a leader in your company.

Performance coaches aim to take their students from competence to mastery. This is why often these coaches are called high-performance coaches. It’s more than just getting the job done; it’s about being great at it.

‍How Is Performance Coaching Different from Life or Business Coaching?

Performance coaching and life coaching are different, even though there are some similarities. In the end, it’s all still coaching.

Performance coaching and life coaching are both focused on one goal, helping you. The main difference is that life coaching is a more holistic discipline, with psychological or spiritual issues being the main problem in one’s life. Life coaches will often focus on things in your career, relationships, and day-to-day life.

There are also many similarities between performance coaching and business coaching. Both of these practices improve business performance through coaching sessions, although they do differ in purpose and focus.

Business coaches focus on entire business growth, taking small start-up businesses to corporation levels. They focus on helping business owners develop a vision of their company and start working towards that goal.

Performance coaches, on the other hand, focus on the individual. They help clients with personal performance goals and help them overcome hardships to reach those goals.

The Benefits of Performance Coaching

Performance coaching gives clients a competitive edge and helps improve their performance by developing abilities. But that’s not all, The following are some of the other benefits of this coaching program.

It Provides Support to Employees

Performance coaching allows managers to better support their employees by providing resources to reach their goals. It also encourages communication between managers and employees with questions and concerns.

Delivery is Flexible

A coaching culture facilitates flexibility because coaching can be delivered in several different ways. The perfect environment can be created for the individual needs of employees.

Coaching could be delivered during the flow of work, which lets employees continue work as they learn. Usually, with this form of teaching, coaches will provide real-time support and feedback during specific tasks or projects. This helps employees apply what they learn immediately, instead of weeks after they learn it.

On the other hand, coaching can also be delivered in dedicated sessions. Employees can step away from work and focus on the ongoing process of development. This can be a great option for areas of expertise that require more time to learn.

It’s Honest

A performance coach needs to give honest feedback and constructive criticism. Without guidance regarding how something is done wrong, how would employees know when they did something right? Critique is not meant to simply harm. It’s good!

Performance coaches (or any effective manager for that matter) should assure employees that criticism is only given when there is a good reason. Using constructive feedback will help create an honest environment. This will eventually give employees opportunities to be honest with, which will help them become better leaders.

It Increases Employee Self-Esteem

Performance coaching creates environments where employees feel respected and needed. Even though the performance coach is likely a manager, they work alongside employees to further improve performance.

Instead of training employees and leaving them to figure the rest out (or worse, never receive training), employees are continually guided by the coach. This is either done by working together or through consistent check-ins.

Coaching helps employees to feel valued. They will in turn be more willing to share responsibility, adapt well to change, and confront challenges.

It Provides Personal, Tailored Advice

Performance coaching enables employees to identify their needs and creates a personally tailored development plan to address them. This individual attention is one of the greatest strengths of coaching over other development methods like webinars and workshops.

Although they may be more condensed, webinars and workshops often provide general information that is rarely relevant to the individual. Coaching, on the other hand, is very personal and will often include entirely relevant material.

It’s Not Just for “Problem” Employees

Performance coaching helps everyone, not just those scraping by. Often during coaching programs, much of the experience is tailored toward those struggling, and it often leaves out effective contributors who want to improve. Done well, performance coaching helps all employees improve continuously.

Whatever time managers spend helping their best employees is time well spent. Coaching them will have great results for the entire business.

It Increases Engagement and Strengthens Retention Rates

Performance coaching increases employee engagement by continuously providing feedback and help.

This helps employees stay interested and present. When employees are engaged in the coaching process, they are more likely to be productive and produce higher-quality work.

It Builds Relationships Between Managers and Employees

Performance coaching is all about relationships. It is based on managers learning more about individual employees through one-on-one meetings.

Personal meetings build trust between employees and managers because it creates transparent communication channels.

 

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What Does Performance Coaching Improve?

Performance coaching helps employees develop a wide range of skills. From productivity to management to mindset, performance coaching can help.

The following are some examples of what performance coaching can help with.

Self-Knowledge

Self-awareness is crucial for career success, and performance coaches can help drive that self-awareness through continuous feedback. It also helps employees better understand their goals.

This knowledge is further improved through intrapersonal communication (the ability to communicate with yourself using thoughts).

Intrapersonal communication creates a self-image and often helps during times of adversity. Whether it’s giving yourself a pep-talk or just getting through a difficult day, you need to be able to rely on yourself, not only others.

Navigating Career Change Points

We all go through career changes at some point in our lives, and we often need to adapt to fit those roles. When people are promoted to manager they are not necessarily seen as a leader. Coaching can help employees navigate through these changes successfully.

Addressing Negative Emotions or Behaviors

Performance coaching challenges employees, which prevents them from being overly comfortable in their positions. The right challenge makes a positive difference in their performance and encourages employees to be better contributors.

Coaching can help eliminate roadblocks such as

  • Fear
  • Feelings of inferiority
  • Hesitancy
  • Guilt

And it can be a much-needed reality check on adverse traits and behaviors like

  • Idleness
  • Narcissism
  • Boorishness
  • Inability to listen to others
  • Continuous Improvement

This is where performance consultants shine. Performance coaching is all about maximizing employees’ potentials, instead of teaching them one particular skill.

Creativity

Although coming up with innovative ideas may seem like a genetic skill, it actually can be taught.

Any leaders that need a more inventive mindset can use coaches to open up their minds to new ideas. They do this by finding new ways to combine, disassemble, reconstruct, and extrapolate old ideas to find room for new ones.

People Management

Managers often receive coaching to learn more about leadership. There are many topics that they can learn about, such as how to give feedback or develop ideas.

Coaches do this by asking the right questions to encourage managers to think about the end goal of managing people.

They can also help them define their leadership style, which can help them have a greater presence in the organization.

Public Speaking

Many people fear public speaking more than death, but that can be solved.

Many people face this fear by receiving coaching regarding the matter, often focusing on overcoming stage fright or learning to create a compelling story.

Tips for Performance Coaches

Now that you have learned what performance coaching is, and what benefits it includes, you need to learn how to be a performance coach. Here are some important tips.

Remember, coaching is about asking, not telling. At each stage, try to resist the urge to tell your employees what to do. Instead, try to focus on asking the right questions, listening to their answers, and challenging them to be better.

Demonstrate Your Belief in Your Employee’s Ability to Improve

Make sure that you demonstrate your confidence in an employee’s abilities to solve a problem. You may think it unnecessary, but often untold confidence goes unnoticed.

Instead, try inviting the employee to work with you on a project, and show your confidence during this project. By implementing this strategy you will improve the employee’s contributions and engagement in future projects.

Agree on a Written Action Plan

Often to acquire buy-ins and commitment, supervisors and employees need to work together to create an action plan. This plan should include important topics like performance goals and ways to reach those goals.

Find Employee Motivations

Employees need to have motivations to succeed and learning what motivates employees is part of your job.

You can do this by asking open-ended questions and using visualization exercises. Before immediately fixing or changing things, gain insight into your employees. Your employees will need proper motivation before committing to compliance.

Build a Coaching Culture

One of the most important elements of a successful coaching program is a strong coaching culture within an organization.

This means you have to create an environment where employees want to learn and help others. You can do this by promoting progressive learning. Progressive learning will give employees the motivation to learn and improve even when it isn’t necessary.

Describe the Problem to the Employee.

The coach’s main job is to find out what is lowering productivity by understanding employees better.

Then, when you have discovered the problem or behavior causing problems, explain it to the employee. You can do this by using descriptions of the behavior with examples so that both you and the employee understand the problem well.

Develop Trust

In coaching, trust is key. Without trust, a supervisor will not believe an employee’s stories, and employees won’t want to share their struggles. This is why a mutual interest for the success of both parties is critical. You can also start building trust through open, two-way feedback and respect.

Ask Guiding Questions

Guiding questions are a series of questions that lead individuals to explore different solutions using their problem-solving skills. Guiding questions can also help you teach, especially when you are leading an employee to an important point.

Collect 360 Feedback

Feedback is a great way of identifying where you can improve as a coach. You can ask for feedback from your employees during your meetings, or you could use surveys.

Either way, the feedback will give you new ideas to improve your coaching processes, refine your work relationships, and communicate performance results.

Monitor Performance Regularly

Last of all, try to monitor employees’ performance regularly to discern the impact of your coaching. Try to measure progress against each employees’ specific goals. Each employee is different; therefore, each will have different ways of measuring their success.

Remember, performance management is an ongoing process. This means that you will need to continue to nurture dialogue between yourself and your employees. You also can inspire your employees to manage their performance by regularly conducting deep self-appraisals. This can greatly help motivation and will likely be a skill they will use throughout their careers.

How Will You Use Performance Coaching?

Performance coaching helps everyone. It helps underperforming employees, effective employees, and even managers. It’s a powerful tool, but just like all tools, it needs an effective wielder.

Remember, the goal of performance coaching is not to make someone feel bad, nor is it to showcase the knowledge of a manager or HR professional. The goal of performance coaching is to help employees improve their work and solve their performance problems.

Employees that respond to coaching well will not only improve their performance but will also become valued contributors. What could be more rewarding than that?

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Marija Angeli
Marija Angeli

Full Stack Developer