Coaching for performance and productivity

Due to the changing demographics of the business world, organizations are discovering that traditional management tactics are no longer enough to remain competitive. Coaching is becoming recognized and practiced as an effective tool to increase morale, performance and the bottom line through the success of each individual associate.

For example, studies have shown that about 90 percent of employees who received coaching in their jobs say that it improved their job performance and professional success. In organizations where coaching is effectively practiced as a management style, the bottom-line performance is two to three times better than the traditional command-and-control type of organizations.

Furthermore, it has been proven that employee commitment increases when there is a strong, positive relationship between the manager and his/her employees. These relationships are developed best as a result of effective coaching.

Effective relationship-oriented coaching creates more knowledgeable and competent employees, reduces errors and rework, and greatly assists in bringing new changes to the culture. Both effective and ineffective managers tend to know what makes a good coach — the difference lies in being able to translate knowledge into successful actions to increase employees’ performance and success.

So what is coaching? Simply stated, coaching is about developing a trusting relationship with your employees so you can jointly clarify expectations and departmental goals, thereby leading to specific action plans for achievement. There are many situations where coaching skills are very effective.

  • Reinforcing good performance
  • Motivating employees to new heights and peak performance levels
  • Orienting a new employee into the department or organization
  • Teaching individuals about changes and tactics
  • Training for a new skill
  • Following up on competencies passed on during training
  • Explaining standards and how they can be achieved
  • Setting priorities for effective time management
  • Inculcating someone into the cliques and groups
  • Clarifying expectations and correcting poor performance
  • Increasing the self-confidence of an employee about a task or new responsibilities and challenges
  • Conducting a performance review

Effective coaching is the process of letting people know that what they do matters to you and to the organization. Furthermore, it is about letting them know that you are there to help them be the best they can be. The following list summarizes some of the main elements involved in coaching.

  • Before beginning the coaching session, be sure to plan exactly what you want to achieve and the potential benefits for the other person.
  • Start on a positive note and establish a common ground by having a supportive environment.
  • Communicate clearly, listen effectively, show that you care and do not beat around the bush.
  • Be respectful of the other person’s feelings, honor and dignity.
  • Be culturally sensitive by getting to know the other person’s background and values.
  • Avoid value judgments, stereotyping and labeling the behavior of others.
  • Use empathic listening skills to clarify your understanding and the other person’s perspective.
  • Stay with the point and do not get sidetracked with other issues. Restate the purpose of the session and ask what specific things can be done to increase or improve performance. You can offer assistance but avoid providing solutions — let the individual come up with the solutions.
  • Document and clarify the specific plan suggested by the employee, the expected level of performance and how the plan will improve performance. Seek agreement and summarize the conversation.
  • End on a positive note and thank the person for coming up with the specific plan.

Bahaudin Mujtaba, DBA., is an associate professor for Nova Southeastern University at the School of Business. He is a former senior training specialist and manager of Publix Super Markets. Bahaudin recently authored a book about “The Art of Mentoring Diverse Professionals” by Aglob Publishing. Reach him at (954) 262-5045 or [email protected].

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