Fixing Performance Management: Coaching


You get the best effort from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within.

-- Bob Nelson

We’re learning how to get work done differently than before, but still uncertain what the future will bring. I’ve written about how these new circumstances REQUIRE the need to embrace uncertainty, set clear, agile goals and create a culture of frequent conversations (view the whole series HERE). 

There should be two different conversations between you and your associates. Conversations should be about 1. How the individual is doing and separately 2. The work.

Combining the two into one conversation muddies the work conversation and results in a lack of clarity about what needs to be done.

As a leader you have two jobs:

Being a manager and being a coach. To be successful today you must do both jobs well. The role of a manager is more directive and transactional compared to the role of a coach. Managers oversee the work of their employees.
According to SHRM the hallmarks of good coaching are that it is personalized and customized, typically done one-on-one over a period of time, and with a specific business objective in mind. 

Coaches focus on asking questions to help the employee uncover the root of a problem and come up with an action plan themselves, rather than telling the employee the plan to follow. They encourage the employee to determine the problem and the solution. 

When you encourage others, you in the process are being encouraged because you’re making a commitment to that person’s life. Encouragement really does make a difference.

                  -- Zig Ziglar, Author


Coaching is not counseling; it is a process of guiding the person being coached from one level of competency to another. It’s about teaching critical-thinking skills that lead to self-reliance. Coaching relies on open communication between the leader and associate, in both directions. 

Effective coaching includes:

  • Understanding the issue at hand
  • Listening
  • Asking open-ended questions
  • Understanding their perspective
  • Discussing next steps

Good coaching is good teaching and nothing else.

                  -- Pat Conroy, My Losing Season

It’s impossible today to avoid uncertainty but we can become a lot better prepared by setting clear, agile goals; following up with frequent, honest feedback; backed by solid coaching to improve skills.

I love a spirited discussion, so let me know your thoughts. 

Stay safe. 

Gene Pease Founder & CEO, Mighty You

About Mighty You

Mighty You is an employee goals and feedback SaaS company founded by Gene Pease along with a team of world-class data scientists and engineers. Mr. Pease is a pioneer in the field of people analytics and performance, having sold his most recent workforce analytics company, Vestrics, to Ultimate Software in 2016.

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