Coaching for Improved Work Performance 3 By: Ferdinand FourniesFournies, Ferdinand F. (2000). Coaching for Improved Work Performance. NewYork: McGraw Hill.In Coaching for Improved Work Performance Ferdinand Fournies describes a behavioralapproach to obtaining results from employees. He tells managers that training inpsychological methods will not help them improve performance because the training doesnot tell them how to do it. It simply explains concepts that take years for professionalPsychologists to learn and apply. Instead, he believes that focusing on the employees’behavior is the key to correcting and improving performance.Fournies starts by explaining why managers usually fail at managing employees. First,companies usually measure a manager’s success by the results that he obtains for thecompany (ie sales or revenue), as well as, his leadership skills, and his willingness to act.The reality is that it is the manager’s employees who obtain the results. The manager’s
success is really about choosing to help his employees succeed. Fournies clearly states that“you need them more than they need you”. Also, once a manager has failed it is usuallyblamed on something he should have done. The problem is that no one ever told themanager how to do it. It is assumed that there is a character flaw within the manager that 4has caused the failure, but certainly there could be a lack of training that caused the failure.Fournies’ method tells manager to look at this concept with their own employees and dowhat is necessary to make an employee successful, rather than just considering that afailure is a character flaw.In order to be a good manager Fournies states that one must believe that when anemployee fails the manager has failed. If a manager is determined to believe that aperformance issue is based on an unchangeable factor then the manager eliminates allother options to fix the problem. One cannot read an employee’s mind and should notattempt to conclude what the problem is. Only the employee knows what is wrong and themanager can only know by asking the employee. Fournies also encourages managers tolook at employees as business resources. If a manager bought an expensive piece ofequipment for the office and found out after six months that it was completely worthless tothe company, he would not go to the boss and say that this was a waste of money and itneeds to be disposed of. The manager would try to make the piece of equipment work.However, it is acceptable for managers to go to the boss six months after hiring anemployee and say that he is not right for the company. If managers take full responsibilityfor their human resources as they do their nonhuman resources they will be able to see theworth of the resource, as well as, the cost of the resource. Many companies do not calculatethe cost of replacing an employee, but if they calculate the cost of posting ads, paying aperson or persons to interview candidates, training new employees, the loss of productivitywhile the employee is in training, and the cost of the other employees or the supervisorcovering the position while the company is looking for a replacement, the cost can oftenadd up to the annual salary of the position. It appears that it would be cheaper for themanager and the company to coach and train the current employee than it would be toreplace him or her. Fournies’ main point in his theory is that as a manager you are not
buying the person’s soul when you hire an employee, rather you are renting theirbehaviors. Specific behaviors are what it takes to get a job done and if the manager focuseson those behaviors rather than the personal traits of the employee, he or she will be moresuccessful at coaching and obtaining results from employees. 5Many theories of motivation show up in training for managers. Moslow’s hierarchy ofneeds theory states that people have specific needs and they will focus on that need until itis met. After that there is another need that must be met. He believes that people focus ontheir own needs. For a manager this would mean that he would have to know what needeach employee is focusing on while they are at work, which for the most part would be animpossible task. Next, McGregor has two theories of motivation. The X theory states thatpeople dislike work, have little desire for responsibility, and are not ambitious. If amanager believes this theory he will have to motivate the employees with money andthreats of punishment. McGregor’s other theory is the Y theory which says that people arenot naturally lazy and irresponsible, but rather they can direct their own efforts and becreative if motivated properly. In this case a manager would give employees moreresponsibility and explain to employees why certain tasks must be done. The manager mayalso ask for the employees’ opinions on things and will assume that the employees have awillingness to be successful. Finally, Herzberg believes that the things that satisfy anemployee are different from the things that dissatisfy an employee. He calls the things thatdissatisfy employees the hygiene factors. These factors include things like pay, workingconditions, and supervision. The things that satisfy an employee are things likerecognition, responsibility, and the actual work itself. His theory implies that even if amanager takes away a hygiene factor it will not satisfy the employee. It simply makes hislist of things that dissatisfy him shorter. Fournies mentions these theories because they arecommon in manager training, and after training, managers often go back to the officethinking that they can apply these theories to their employees. What happens is that themanager starts to believe certain things about the employees based on these theories andthen acts on them. This can lead to wrongful perceptions of employees that can havedevastating results.
Instead of theories that are not easily used, Fournies believes in usable concepts. One ofthese concepts comes from George Kelly who discovered the law of the excluded middlewhich “implies that once you give a name to something the only two alternatives available 6are it is or it isn’t what you have named it.” Managers must remember that just becausethey call someone something does not make that person what they called them andultimately calling someone something takes away from problem solving. Moreover, peopleoften act based on the alternatives that they see are available to them. If they are notexperienced at certain things they may believe that their alternatives are limited. If that isthe case a more experienced person such as a manager may be able to offer morealternatives to the person thereby expanding the alternatives the person can choose from.Training can do just that. Fournies reminds managers that they should not see anemployee’s situation from the alternatives that they see but by the alternatives that theemployee sees. Once a manager has determined what the employee feels are hisalternatives, he can help the employee expand them.Fournies makes a point to reiterate that a manager cannot read an employee’s mind. Hesays “if you believe you are able to read minds when talking to other people you are reallytalking to yourself.” Managers often blame poor performance on an employee’s attitudeand they often state that they know the employee has an attitude because “they can justtell”. Fournies understands that over time a person may get to know another person’sbehaviors when they are feeling certain ways but very often their theories of how theperson is feeling are not verified. They are simply guessing. Each person perceives thingsdifferently, so though one sees a certain behavior to mean something to him, it may notmean the same to another person. Fournies points out that a person’s perception is basedon the thought that he is normal. One often compares others to himself which does notalways result in the right action. Along with this, one may assume that an employee workslike him and does not need a lot of supervision just because he does not need a lot ofsupervision. By believing these things a manager is not helping his employees succeed.
Fournies believes that the best psychological theory a manager can use is the behavioraltheory which states that all behaviors are a function of their consequences, meaning thatpeople do things as a result of the consequences of doing it. If a behavior has a positiveconsequence then it is likely to repeat. An example may be a salesperson receiving an 7award for having the highest sales in the company. If the salesperson sees this as a positiveconsequence, then he will likely work to obtain the highest sales again next year. On theother hand, if a behavior has a negative consequence then the behavior will decrease infrequency. If a manager asks his employees for ideas on how to improve sales for thecompany and then makes a person with an idea stand in front of the whole department toexplain the idea, the employee may see this public display as a negative consequence andwill likely stop recommending ideas to the manager. In dealing with negativeconsequences managers may see a punishment they think is negative but the reality is thatthe employee has to see it as a punishment in order for the behavior to stop. Since negativeconsequences have also been shown to cause apprehension and aggressiveness, Fourniessuggests that the best thing to do is focus on the behavior you want and reinforce that,rather than focusing on punishing the behavior you do not want.Communication plays a major role in employee performance. Many times when a manageris explaining something to an employee the employee may be thinking of something else.The manager believes he told the employee what to do but when the employee does notexhibit the right behavior the manager blames the employee. Fournies, however, explainsthat telling someone something is not enough. The mind is reactive and thinks six timesfaster than a person speaks. Therefore, thought transmission is required in order for aperson to truly get the message of what another person is saying. That means that a personmust say and do something that will make the other person receive the thoughttransmission. Asking a person questions causes his mind to react to what the other personis saying and therefore helps to complete a thought transmission. Fournies states that “ifyou make the sounds come out of their mouths then you know the thought had to be intheir heads.” This transmission is essential to the manager/employee relationship. Only
after a manager is sure that an employee heard him correctly can a manager blame theemployee for not doing what was asked.Fournies surveyed 25,000 supervisors and managers about why they think employees do 8not do what they are supposed to do. He found sixteen reasons: 1. They do not know what they are supposed to do. 2. They do not know how to do it. 3. They do not know why they should do it. 4. They think they are doing it (lack of feedback). 5. There are obstacles beyond their control. 6. They think it will not work. 7. They think their way is better. 8. They think something is more important (priorities). 9. There is no positive consequence to them for doing it. 10. There is a negative consequence to them for doing it. 11. There is a positive consequence to them for not doing it. 12. There is no negative consequence to them for not doing it. 13. Personal limits (incapacity). 14. Personal problems. 15. Fear (they anticipate future negative consequences). 16. No one could do it.Fournies points out that most of these result from a lack of direction and lack of feedbackfrom the manager. This leads him to his “coaching analysis” that helps a manager deal witheach of the reasons why an employee does not do what he is supposed to do. Below is thedecision tree that Fournies uses to help walk managers through the coaching process:
9Identify behavior discrepancy ▼Is it worth your time and No ► Dont waste your time oneffort? it. ▼ YesDo they know performance is No ► Give them Feedback.unsatisfactory? ▼ YesDo they know what theyre No ► Tell them.supposed to do? ▼ YesDo they know how to do it? No ► Train them or give them practice. ▼ YesDo they know why they should No ► Tell them.do it? ▼ YesAre there obstacles beyond Yes ► Remove obstacles.
their control? ▼ YesDo they think your way will not Yes ► Convince them.work? ▼ Yes 10Do they think their way is Yes ► Convince them.better? ▼ YesDo they think something else is Yes ► Explain priorities.more important? ▼ YesAre there positive No ► Give positiveconsequences to them for reinforcement.performing appropriately? ▼ YesAre there negative Yes ► Remove negativeconsequences to them for consequences or balanceperforming appropriately? with positive consequences. ▼ YesDo they anticipate future Yes ► Correct theirnegative consequences for understanding.performing appropriately? ▼ YesAre there positive Yes ► Change consequences.consequences to them forperforming inappropriately? ▼ YesAre they performing Yes ► Deliver negativeinappropriately without consequences.receiving negativeconsequences? ▼ Yes
Are personal problems Yes ► Accommodate the probleminterfering? or get employee to solve your problem. ▼ YesCould they do it if they choose No ► Transfer, demote, or 11to do it? terminate. ▼ YesUse the coaching discussion tochange their behavior choices.Fournies believes that it is important to go through every step of the tree in order to makethe right decision on how to handle a performance issue. If the manager does not haveenough information to complete all of the steps it is important to gather the information heneeds either from someone else who knows about the situation or from the employee.However, while the manager is collecting this information he should not discipline theemployee. Until all of the steps have been completed the manager may believe theperformance or lack of performance is due to one reason, when the investigation may findanother reason.The first step in the coaching analysis is to identify the problem behavior. It is important toknow what the employee is specifically doing wrong not just a general idea. Fournies givesthe example of an employee who is away from his desk more often than other employees.Usually the manager cannot give an exact number of times the person is away from hisdesk or give an exact number of times other employees are away from their desks. Untilthe manager finds this out he cannot give the employee a specific example of the situation.By doing a work sample, however, the manager can determine how often all of hisemployees are away from their desks and actually find for certain that the employee inquestion is in fact away from his desk more than others. He suggests walking through thework area several times a day, every hour if possible, and recording on a sheet of paperhow many times the employee is away from his desk, as well as, how many times eachother employee is away from their desks. At the end of the sampling period the manager
will have concrete information about the specific behavior. If the specific behavior is notclearly defined it can cause problems when talking to the employee in the future.Next, Fournies asks the important question of “Is it worth your time?” Since a manager’s 12time is usually very limited it is important for the manager to focus on the things that areactually a problem for the company. If for example an employee is five minutes late towork everyday but the employee gets all of his work done and is willing to stay late ifnecessary to complete an assignment, is it really worth the manager’s time to confront theemployee about this behavior? The manager must make this decision about every problembehavior that occurs and if it is not detrimental to the company then it may be best just tolet it go.The next question Fournies asks is “Does the employee know the performance isunsatisfactory?” If the answer is no then the manager should let the employee know. Theycan do this by giving neutral feedback, such as “How would you describe goodperformance?” From these types of questions the manager can determine if the employeeactually knows that what he is doing is wrong. It is important to look at the feedback thatyou give to employees and when you give it to them. If you wait until the end of the day tocorrect unsatisfactory work it will not be as effective as correcting for each assignmentdone during the day.“Does the employee know what is supposed to be done?” This question can be broken intofour parts because the employee may not know what specifically they are supposed to do,when to start it, when to finish it, or “what finished is supposed to look like”. The last partis the most common. An employee may finish a report and think that it is exactly what themanager is looking for, but the manager wanted the report to include something else. If themanager never tells the employee that what is missing is necessary for the manager thenthe employee will never know what the finished report is supposed to look like. In thiscase it is important for the manager to address the issue and let the employee know exactly
what he is looking for in the report. By doing so it may very well resolve the problemperformance.Next, does the employee know how to do what the manager is asking him to do? In this 13section Fournies brings up many reasons why training can often fail an employee. Hisresearch has shown that most of the people who train employees in corporations werenever taught how to teach. If the trainer does not know how to teach effectively then onemay assume that not all of the employees will be able to learn what they need to know inorder to perform their jobs. In this same way, a manager may choose the best employee totrain a new employee on a task, but how does the manager know that the employee knowshow to train another? Along with this, companies usually do not test to see if the trainingwas effective. They simply send the employees to the training and assume that they havelearned what they indented for them to learn. It is important to know that the trainingperson knows how to train employees properly, as well as, testing to make sure thatemployees are actually learning something. If the company or manager does not do thisthey cannot be sure that the employee has been properly trained. Also, the poorperformance may be caused by a lack of practice rather than the training itself. In this caseit would be easy for a manager to allow the employee to practice the skill more often sothat his performance will improve.Next, it is important for an employee to know why they should be doing a particular task. Ifthe employee cannot determine the value of the work being done then he may think that itis worthless for him to do it. A manager should be able to tell the employee why it isvaluable to the company. He can do this by showing how it affects others, the bottom line,or other work that is involved. If a manager cannot tell an employee why they should bedoing something then perhaps it is not that important to the company and is not necessaryto do.Some obstacles in the workplace are not under the employee’s control and simply need tobe removed in order for an employee to complete the work the manager wants him to do.
If a report is due to a manager at a specific time but the employee has to rely on someoneelse to get the information, the employee may not be able to meet the deadline. If the otherperson does not do their part the manager cannot blame the employee who tried to get thereport to him. By identifying the obstacles that prevent employees from performing and 14trying to remove them the manager can easily solve a performance issue of this nature.If an employee thinks that the manager’s way of doing something will not work, theemployee may be reluctant to try it. In this case Fournies tells the manager to explain tothe employee why his way will work. If the manager has done this procedure in otherareas and it has worked, he should give detailed information to the employee about howand why it worked. If the employee is still reluctant the manager should tell them to try itand see what happens. Hopefully, after doing it the manager’s way the employee willunderstand why he wanted the employee to do it that way. Along with this, if an employeethinks that his way is better, the manager needs to discuss this with the employee. Themanager may ask “Does anyone think they have a better way?” If an employee says yesthen the manager should take the time hear what the employee has to say. The employee’sway may be better and if it is not then the manager should explain why it is not a betterway. By doing this before a project begins a manager can save time by resolving theproblem before mistakes are made.Priorities can often be hard for an employee to manage. Employees are often asked to domany things at once and often by many people. If this is the case the employee may beworking on something that he thinks is a priority when in reality something else is moreimportant. Managers usually have a formula in their heads as to what is most important todo for the company. If an employee does not see the manager’s way of prioritizing thingsthen it is important for the manager to explain it to the employee. Once the employeeknows what is most important to you and the company his performance should change.“Are there positive consequences to the employee for performing appropriately?” If anemployee does not get recognition for doing a job or is not internally motivated to do the
work then the employee may not feel the need to do the work properly. In order to correctthis, a manager needs to develop ways to provide positive feedback to the employee. Hecan do this by creating performance goals and contests. By creating performance goals themanager has an opportunity to give positive feedback when every goal is met. It is 15important to keep these goals short term so that the employees are rewarded frequently. Itis also important not to continually reward the same person for every contest that is held.The rewards should be small and something that the employees will appreciate.The opposite of positive feedback is negative feedback. If the employee is receivingnegative feedback for performing properly then the employee will eventually stopperforming. An example may be that an employee who does the work that everyone hatesperfectly, then the tendency is to give that employee all the work that others hate. At thispoint the employee is doing all the hated work and is continuing to have more work to do.The employee will likely see this as an unfair consequence and will stop doing the hatedwork so well. It is important for a manager to recognize this and put an end to it by evenlydistributing the dreadful work among all of the employees. If the negative consequencecannot be removed then adding positive consequences to the situation may balance thenegative consequences.Fear can often make an employee anticipate a future negative consequence. When thisoccurs it is important for a manager to address the employee’s concern and explain whythe concern is likely not to happen. If it is possible that the negative consequence willoccur then it is important to point out the positive consequences of performing the act andconvince the employee that the positive influences outweigh the negative. Unfortunately, ifan employee’s fear is incapacitating then there is not much that the manager can do for theemployee.An example of a positive consequence following nonperformance is if an employee makes amistake on a project and is never given the project to do again. By not giving the employeethe project to correct and just simply giving it to someone else, the employee learns that he
can do this for many projects. If he continues to make mistakes on every project, he may beable to skate by doing very little work for the company. In order to resolve this, a managermust stop the positive consequence. The employee should correct the mistake and have todo the project in the future. Along with this, if an employee is not being punished for not 16doing work, he is learning to do just what is necessary in order to receive a paycheck. Ifthis is the case the manager should give the employee a negative consequence for notperforming. These can be in the form of a written reprimand, loss of privileges, orassignment of less satisfying work. The manager owes it to the other employees who doperform properly to punish a nonperforming employee.If personal problems are causing a problem for an employee at work it is helpful toaccommodate the employee in their time of need. A manager can do this by giving themtime off, and allowing them to arrive late to work, or leave early to take care of personalmatters. However, if the problem is affecting the employees work then it is important toaddress the issue with the employee by explaining that there are two problems involved:the personal problem and a work problem. The manager should explain to the employeethat he understands the situation and is willing to accommodate him anyway he can butwork still needs to be done.Finally, Fournies asks “Could the employee do it if he or she chose to do it?” This sectiondeals with the employee’s capacity to perform the job. He states that “people’s capacity is afunction of the innate characteristics they were born with and how they may have beendamaged along the way.” If an employee is incapable of performing the job but he will notdo it even after a discussion then the manager may have no choice but to transfer orterminate the employee. It is important to make sure, however, that any person is capableof doing what the manager is asking. If no one could do it then he cannot blame theemployee for not performing. If an employee could do the job that he chose to, thenFournies suggests using his final approach to resolving behavioral problems beforeterminating or transferring the employee – the face-to-face discussion.
“The purpose of the face-to-face process, called the coaching discussion, is to redirect anemployee’s behavior to solve a performance problem: to get the employee to stop doingwhat he or she shouldn’t be doing or to start doing what he or she should be doing.” If themanager has not completed the coaching analysis section he should not be having a 17coaching discussion with his employee because the discussion only works if the otherreasons for nonperformance have been ruled out. Fournies gives the following guidelinesto use when preparing for the face-to-face discussion: “1. Hold it in some private place so the conversation cannot be overheard. 2. Do not have a third party present if at all possible. If a third party must be present, talk only to the employee. 3. Take steps ahead of time to insure there are no interruptions, phone calls, and so on. 4. Do not hold it in a restaurant. No matter how good it feels, there are too many distractions to be successful. For the same reason, don’t hold it in a car while one of you is driving. 5. Allow as much time as it will take so you don’t have to end the discussion before you have completed it. 6. Do not start the coaching meeting until you are able to control your emotions. 7. Have a specific description of the behavior discrepancy that is going to be discussed. If you are going to talk about tardiness, you should have accurate information, such as the specific incidences of lateness and the amount of time late, as related to scheduled work days as well as to the norm for other employees. 8. Be prepared to substantiate logically the importance of the desirable performance, as well as the consequences of nonperformance. You are pursuing the coaching process, obviously, because you believe the nonperformance is important. 9. Determine in advance that it is the employee’s behavior that will affect the desired change in performance. Obviously, if the employee’s performance doesn’t affect the change, why would you talk to the employee about the problem?
10. Decide ahead of time what minimum action you will accept as a result of this meeting, what the possible alternative solutions are, and when you expect performance to improve.” 18After this preparation, the manager can start on the first and most important step in theface-to-face discussion – getting an agreement that a problem exists. If the employee doesnot agree that his nonperformance is a problem then the rest of the discussion will make nodifference to the performance. Many times employees know that they are doing somethingwrong but they are not aware that it is a problem. It is not enough to tell the employee thatthere is a problem. A manager must use the thought transmission process to make surethat the employee knows that his nonperformance is a problem. There are two reasonsthat an employee may agree that his nonperformance is a problem: 1. if he is able tounderstand the results of his behavior is having on the company or 2. if he understands theconsequences to himself if the behavior does not change. This can be accomplished byasking the employee a series of questions that the manager will think about and writedown before the discussion. Fournies provides a worksheet to help managers prepare forthe discussion which includes a place to describe the specific behavior and its frequency,the results of the behavior (who gets hurt), the consequences if the employee does not stopthe behavior, and finally what the manager wants the performance to look like if it is doneproperly. During the discussion the manager should ask questions that pertain to thenonperformance and what happens when the employee does not do what he is asked to do.It is important for the manager not to answer his own questions during the discussion andif there is a period of silence the manager should not feel that he should have to fill the void.The manager should wait a few minutes and if the employee does not respond then heshould simply ask if the employee needs the question repeated. Fournies believes thatninety-five percent of employees will eventually agree that there is a problem and ninety-five percent of the five percent of employees who do not believe there is a problem willagree once they know the consequences to their actions. If no agreement is made, Fourniesbelieves it is because the manager is not dealing with a behavior, the problem is not reallyimportant, the manager has not identified all of the consequences, the manager is not using
the thought transmission process, there are positive consequences for the employee if he isfired, the manager’s past relationship with employee has shown that the managerthreatens a lot but does not follow through, or the employee is mentally ill. 19Once the employee has agreed that there is a problem, the next step is to discuss solutionsto the problem. In this step the manager asks the employee what he will do differently inorder to get the results that are necessary. It is important in this step to simply list thepossible solutions to the problem and allow the employee to complete his thoughts aboutall the possible solutions. If the manager argues with the employee about the merits of hisideas it will waste time and could be negatively reinforcing the idea-giving behavior. Also ifthe manager chooses ideas to resolve the problem as they are given the employee may notwant to act on that particular solution and will therefore not improve his performance.Step three involves agreeing on the action that will be taken to resolve the problem. In thisstep the manager wants to identify what will happen and when it will occur. Again it isimportant for the manager to use the thought transmission process when deciding on asolution. If the solution comes from the employee’s mind then he is more likely to act on it.The manager should also ask when the employee intends to start changing the behavior.Once a solution has been chosen and a time has been given the manager should thank theemployee for agreeing to solve the problem and set up a follow-up meeting with theemployee.The next step is to follow-up with the employee and make sure that action has been takento solve the problem. Very often managers complete the first three steps of the process butdo not follow up with the employee. An employee may change his behavior initially but ifthe manager does not follow-up he will not know that it has happened. Another reason amanager should follow-up with an employee is to see if the employee is not taking action tochange his behavior. In this case the manager should see if there is anything he can do tohelp the employee by removing obstacles, working around personal problems, or lettingthem know about priorities. If none of this helps, the next step is to deliver a negative
consequence for the poor performance which was discussed in the face-to-face meetingwith the employee.The final step in the process is to reinforce any achievement. If an employee has improved 20his performance even eighty percent the manager should praise the employee by sayingsomething like “your work today is the best I have ever seen it. You have made a bigimprovement by going from seventy to eighty percent. If you keep it up, pretty soon youwill be reaching our departmental standard.” This shows the employee that you recognizehis effort and appropriate him for doing it. It may also encourage the employee to meet thedepartment standard. The sooner the praise is given to the employee after the change inbehavior the better. Also the frequency of giving positive reinforcement is important. Ifthe praise is given too frequently it may not mean as much to the employee after a period oftime. A good rule to follow is once the desired change becomes a part of the employeesroutine then the reinforcement should decrease. Another way to reinforce an employee isto provide a contingent reinforcement meaning a manager promises something to theemployee if his behavior changes. It is important with this type of reinforcement that themanager keep his promise when the time comes and that the employee agrees on how andwhen the change will be recognized.Finally, Fournies addresses the concerns of managers who believe that this process will notwork. If the process did not work he suggests that the manager have another face-to-facediscussion with the employee but this time focus not on the original behavior, but insteadfocus on the employee not doing what he said he would do. The manager should gothrough all the steps again to deal with this new issue. If during a follow-up a managerfinds a reason for nonperformance from an employee that can be changed by anotheralternative the manager should have a discussion with the employee but start the processat step two, listing the solutions to the problem. Also, if the process does not work, it ispossible that the process was not followed correctly, so the manager will need to startagain at the first step with the employee. Fournies reminds managers that just becausethey follow the discussion process does not mean that they will never have to fire an
employee. It is possible to have an employee that is not satisfied with the companyregardless of what the manager does.In Coaching for Improved Work Performance Fournies gives a detailed description of a 21coaching process that will help managers improve the behaviors of their employees. Hebelieves that if a manager lets his people know what they are suppose to do on the job,follows up with employees after work has begun to maintain proper performance, creates afeedback system, and increases the amount of verbal reinforcement that he gives, amanager should be successful at increasing the productivity of this workers. If a managerbelieves that he is there to do everything he can to help his employees succeed then amanager will succeed at obtaining the results he deserves.
22 Coaching for Performance: GROWing People, Performance and Purpose By: John Whitmore Coaching for Performance GROWing People, Performance and Purpose By John WhitmoreIn Whitmore’s Coaching for Performance, he emphasizes that coaching is a skill that allpeople who teach or manage others should acquire. He feels that the need for betterpeople skills is growing and will continue to grow in the future in business as well as inother industries. He defines coaching as a tool that managers can use in a variety ofdifferent situations like planning, delegating, and/or problem solving. Coaching gives themanager a different perspective of people, a more optimistic way than most areaccustomed to. Not all managers can be a great coach right from the start. Like any newskill, it takes practice and time before it flows naturally. Coaching seems to be easier forsome managers than others, but eventually with practice, the manager will find his own
method to succeed as a coach to his staff. There is not one right way to coach. As the bookunfolds, Whitmore reveals the necessary ingredients to succeed in the coaching arena. Heconcludes by stating that “the best people skills are going to be at a premium and thatcoaching is one of the most business friendly skills for human growth. Coaching is a nicer 23way to do better business.”Whitmore expresses that coaching is a skill or maybe even an art that requires a depth ofunderstanding and plenty of practice to illustrate its full potential. He mentions unlike inthe One Minute Manager, there are no quick fixes to business coaching. Time and practiceare essential at success in coaching. So what is coaching? Coaching may be defined as totutor, train, or give hints so that it will deliver results in large measures through thesupportive relationship between the coach and coachee by the means and styles ofcommunication used. Another definition of coaching by Timothy Gallwey is defined as“unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is to help themlearn rather than to teach them.” Gallwey also states that human potential is like an acorn.An acorn contains all the potential to be a magnificent oak tree and with the propernourishment and encouragement one day it will become that magnificent oak tree becausethe oaktreeness is already within! So Whitmore takes this analogy one step further byencouraging early investment of personnel to allow for deeper and faster growth of theirpotential.In his book, Whitmore stresses different elements of coaching and what each entails. Thisreport will summarize Whitmore’s main topics with details on each. The topics thatWhitmore covers are: • Manager as a coach. • Change, why start coaching? • Awareness and responsibility. • Effective questioning and sequence of questioning. • Goal setting.
• Motivation. • Feedback, barriers, and benefits. • GROW. 24First, let’s look at a manager as being a coach. Often, the manager finds himself fighting,struggling to get a job done. Many businesses favor saving time over quality and learning.Thus it makes it hard for managers to find time to coach, so it makes him feel that it may beeasier to dictate. But dictating falls into the four traditional management styles, which as acoach, one wants to avoid.There are different traditional management styles that managers pursue which makes itdifficult for a manager to be a good coach. The styles include dictation, persuasion,debating, and abdication. When a manager dictates, he is in control and there is not muchchoice for the performer. Persuasion has the performer wondering if he has a choice. In adebating style of management, both the manager and the performer feel that they areinvolved, but it may be at a slow pace. Then abdication makes the performer feel obliged orfeels like he is being dumped on. Most managers position themselves in one of theseextremes, but coaching is in a different plane all together. It combines the benefits from allstyles and risks from none. When managers coach, subordinates become aware of everyaspect of the task and the actions necessary which enables him to imagine the success andso chooses to take responsibility. In turn, the manager listens to himself and understandwhat is going on, thus he would understand the action plan and be supportive instead ofthreatening to a subordinate. Coaching does not subject the manager into total control nordoes it require the performer to take total responsibility, instead it raises awareness andresponsibility among the two.
25Whitmore mentions that in order for coaching to work, a manager must be experienced asa support, and not as a threat to his employees. It should be a partnership of endeavor,trust, safety and minimal pressure on both ends. So is it possible for a manager to be acoach? Yes, it takes practice and patience, because not all managers can start coachingright away. He describes the demands of being a coach “as to having the highest qualities ofempathy, integrity, and detachment, as well as willingness to adopt fundamentally differentapproaches to the staff”. Further discussions of how a manager becomes a coach will beapparent.Why change the style of staff management we may ask? There are many reasons includingglobal competition, technological, demographical, and culture changes are forcing for moreefficient, flexible response of managers and businesses. To keep up with the culture changeis to keep up with competition and will deliver higher levels of performance. It use to bewhen the manager could tell people what he wants done and it will get done, but nowpeople are wanting and demanding to be treated differently. Whitmore reveals that when amanager is able to treat his staff differently and give them what they want, then there is
promise of higher performance. He continues by showing the reader how a manager canstrive for higher performance of his staff.A manager must have awareness and raise responsibility among his people. 26“Responsibility demands choice. Choice implies freedom.” A good manager will capitalizeon it, give people responsibility and in turn they will give it their best.Whitmore states in chapter 4 that the first key element to coaching is AWARENESS. Hedefines awareness as the product of focused attention, concentration, and clarity. And it isnot just seeing and hearing in the workplace, but it also encompasses the gathering and theclear perception of the relevant facts and information, and the ability to determine what isrelevant. The ability includes an understanding of systems, of dynamics, of relationshipsbetween things and people, and some understanding of psychology too. The skill of thecoach is to raise awareness to the appropriate level and in other areas as required. Beingaware also means to have self-awareness. Whitmore wants the coach to be aware of hisself before he can shift his awareness to his coachee and the situation at hand. He then canrealize his accomplishment through feedback he gets from the coachee.RESPONSIBILITY is the other key concept in coaching mentioned by Whitmore. “When onetakes responsibility for their thoughts or actions, then his commitment will rise as well ashis performance”. A coach will not want to give advice, especially unsolicited advice. Whena coach gives advice and the action fails, then blame is issued by the coachee. But if thecoachee has a choice, then the tables are turned; the coachee will feel the responsibility ofmaking the action occur because he made the decision to take the responsibility.An example given by Whitmore involves a group of construction workers. The supervisorasks Fred to go and get a ladder in the shed. Fred goes to the shed to get the ladder, butdoes not find one. Fred returns and says there is no ladder there. But if the supervisorasked the question differently, a different response arises. Instead the supervisor states,“We need a ladder, and there’s one in the shed. Who is willing to go get it?” Fred replies, “I
will.” But when he gets to the shed, he finds no ladder; he then looks elsewhere to find theladder, because he feels responsible. He wants to succeed, for his own sake, for his esteem.If coaching is used correctly, it will stimulate this type of action towards performance. 27To raise awareness and responsibility, a manager needs to know what kind of questions toask. Effective questions are the key answer. Effective questions are defined as questionsthat are open and cause the performer to think for themselves so they feel as though theyare not being coached. Managers should avoid telling or asking closed questions that savespeople from having to think. Instead the manager should focus on more effective openended questions. Qualities of effective questions include: - convincing the performer to be aware - focus on higher orders - be descriptive and not judgmental - act as feedback loop for the coachQuestions should be asked to find out whether the coachee has all the necessaryinformation. Often, open questions require descriptive answers to promote awareness,whereas closed questions are too absolute for accuracy. “Yes” and “No” answers close thedoor on exploring any further. Effective questions to raise awareness and responsibilityoften begin with words that seek to quantify and gather facts, words like What, When, Who,How much and How many. Why is discouraged because it often implies criticism andstimulate defensiveness. Questions should begin broad and then eventually focusing ondetail. The coach needs to probe deeper or for more detail to keep the coachee involved.Avoid leading questions. It’s better for the coach to tell the coachee that he has a suggestionrather than attempt to manipulate him in that direction. Some examples of good questionsare: - What else? Allows coachee to think more and may evoke more.
- If you knew the answer what would it be? Allows the coachee to look beyond the boundaries. - What is the hardest and most challenging part of this for you? - Where do you want to go with this? 28 - If someone said or did that to you, what would you feel like, what would you do?When a manager begins to ask these questions, he must keep in mind to be attentive aswell as to have an attentive voice. Trust will be lost if attention is not there. The coach maynot know the answer to the next question if he is not attentive during questioning. A coachmust listen and follow the interest of the coachee to avoid any disruption during a coachingsession. Whitmore writes, “Perhaps the hardest thing a coach has to learn to do is to shutup!” Tone of voice is also important in coaching situations, whether it is the coach or thecoachee’s voice. A monotone voice may indicate a repetition of old thoughts and should beavoided. A more animated voice may show new ideas or interest and is highly encouragedfor a coach to have. The coachee’s voice also plays an important part here. When a coacheeuses a negative tone during a session, the coach may need to facilitate the discussion in amore positive direction.How and when does one ask these effective questions? Whitmore recommends coachingsessions to be one on one between peers, a manager and subordinate, coach and aperformer, or teacher and student. There is a certain sequence that he recommends asbeing highly effective. The sequences of questioning follows four distinct headings in theform of a mnemonic GROW. - G: GOAL - R: Reality - O: Options - W: What
The GOAL of the coaching session should always be set. This includes the setting and whatthe session is to accomplish in the short-term or long-term. After setting a goal, a REALITYcheck must be placed. The manager must explore the current situation and keep in mindwhat all is going on. Next, OPTIONS are brought up as well as alternative strategies for the 29course of action. Finally, an action plan should be outlined with WHAT is to be done,WHEN, by WHOM it WILL be done. Often, the sequence will work well for new coachingsessions; however, it can also be used to examine the progress of a task that has beendiscussed before. In such cases, coaching can begin or end with any of the four sequencesin questioning.Whitmore feels that goal setting is highly important in the coaching process. A highlyeffective goal can provide a means of progress and motivation to a coachee. ThusWhitmore wants to begin each coaching session by determining a goal for the session itself.Goals can be such as: - “What would you like to get out of this session? - I have half an hour for this, where would you like to have gotten by then? - What would be the most helpful thing for you to take away from this session?”These questions will elicit answers, but are they the answers wanted? To get the answerswanted Whitmore further distinguish between two types of goals that yield differentresults. The two types of goals belong to specific issues. First there is an end goal, it relatesto a final objective, such as winning a gold medal or being appointed sales director. Thenthere is a performance goal, it identifies the performance level that provides for a verygood chance of achieving the end goal. Performance goals are largely under your controland generally provide a means for measuring progress. Thus, performance goals arecrucial in reaching end goals!Ownership of goals is also important. When the coach passes on a goal to his performer, heis denying the subordinate ownership of the goal. Wise coaches always find way to have
the coachee come up with his own goals. This helps the coachee own up to the goal and thechoice is up to the coachee of how the job is done responsibility.The coach can do more than encourage the coachee to come up with goals; he can help 30them develop quality goals. Whitmore emphasize that goals should be SMART, PURE, andCLEAR. SMART Goals PURE Goals CLEAR Goals Specific Positively stated Challenging Measurable Understood Legal Agreed Relevant Environmentally Sound Realistic Ethical Appropriate Time phased RecordedWhen looking at these SMART, PURE, CLEAR goals, a few things come to mind. A goal mustbe realistic or there is no hope. It also has to be challenging or there is no motivation.Goals must be positive to focus on achievement. Goals must be agreed so that performancedoes not suffer because the boss was not aware of the goal. Goals must be understood sothat inaccurate assumptions are avoided.Reality is also very significant in coaching situations. Coaches must know the currentsituation and be objective, so he can set a direction for the discussion. Once reality isknown, then the goals become sharper and more apparent.A good coach maximizes the choices his coachee has in an effort to grow the coachee into abetter performer. In order to do this, he needs to create an environment in which
participants will feel safe enough to express their thoughts and ideas without fearingjudgment from the coach or others. Thus help the coachee avoiding negative assumptionsby assisting in any way possible. Examples of negative assumptions include statementslike: 31 - It can’t be done. - It can’t be done like that. - They would never agree to that. - It’s bound to cost too much. - We can’t afford the time.Avoid the above statements and sort through positive options that are available. Whitmorementions to list benefits and cost on a sheet of paper and select the best of the bunch. Thecoach may help with selecting the best options. Options should also be mapped out todetermine the maximum potential.Everything that has been mentioned thus far points towards one main idea, performance.Whitmore stresses that performance is raised when coaching occurs and effectivequestions are asked and goals are set so that everyone involved is aware and responsiblefor an action plan developed through the GROW process. Whitmore states thatperformance as an expression of one’s potential and going beyond what is expected. “It issetting one’s own highest standards, invariably that surpass what others demand orexpect.” He goes on to describe coaching as an essential management style or tool foroptimizing people’s potential and performance. Commanding, demanding, instructing, andpersuading may get the job done, but it causes threats and sustains optimum performance.Motivation and using it correctly would give a better effect on performance.Whitmore uses Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to explain motivation in coaching. The modelsuggests that basic human needs are food and water. Once food and water are obtained,concern is for shelter and safety. Then after attaining shelter and safety humans seek to
belong to social groups like clubs and associations. Maslow goes on to describe howhumans satisfy their desire for esteem of others and then esteem towards them self. Thefinal stage for human needs is self-actualization. This emerges when the person satisfiestheir esteem needs and no longer feels the need to prove themselves to anyone. 32How does Maslow’s theory relate to motivation? Well people tend to seek to engage only inactivities that help meet their needs. Whitmore relates Maslow’s theory by showing thatpeople’s basic needs are to have money so they can it use for fundamental needs in life suchas food and clothing. Once that is accomplished then, people will want housing,community, and prestige. Subsequently if people meet all the lower level needs then that iswhen they are more receptive to coaching. Coaching then empowers one’s self esteem andthey can move to self-actualization when coaching motivators such as values and meaningare introduced to them.The last idea that Whitmore expresses deals with feedback in coaching. Whitmore statesthat the worst feedback is personal and judgmental while effective ones are those that aresubjective and descriptive. Coaches that give detailed, nonjudgmental description ofreports will accelerate learning and improve performance of their staff. Feedback from amanager needs to engage his performer’s brain and make him feel involved. It sets thestage for awareness and helps him learn how to evaluate his work and thereby becomingmore self-reliant. This makes him own his performance and thus become responsible.Optimizing awareness and responsibility will encourage learning and when a coacheelearns he performs better. He also mentions to use descriptive terminology as oppose tojudgmental terms. It helps to avoid defensiveness. Feedback is extremely important to thelearning and performance improvement process, because poor feedback can lead to erraticbehavior and poor performance.There are some employees who will avoid feedback and remain defensive throughcoaching sessions. The reason for this is that they have set up barriers of defense to avoid achange. When these feelings arise, Whitmore says it should be up to the manager to coach
the employee towards acceptance of coaching. Some reminders for employees entailenhancing performance, learning and enjoyment, more choices, greater sense ofresponsibility, enhancing self belief, and possible promotions. Also, the coachee can learnhow to self-coach and coach others in and out of the work place. 33Then there are some managers who avoid change as well. Some feel that their greatestbarrier is difficult people. This is mainly due to anticipation, but if coaching is approachedwith sensitivity, it is often accepted without difficulty and even welcomed. Whitmorecontinues to describe external as well as internal barriers managers use to avoid changingtheir management style towards coaching. Some examples of internal barriers includemanagers stating: “it’s nothing new – I’ve done it for years, I’m afraid it won’t do well, I’llget stuck – I won’t know what questions to ask, I won’t get the results I get with my oldstyle, What I did worked before, why change, I don’t believe in these new softly, softlyapproaches, or the only thing that motivates people is money”. These managers are oftenstuck in a vicious cycle and are not aware of possibilities of coaching. Other barriersmentioned are external barriers which include issues like, “the company culture is againstthis kind of approach or people are cynical of new approaches”. Some managers may feel,“they won’t understand what I am doing and won’t trust me or they know I’ve beenthrough the course and give me a few weeks to get back to ‘normal’”. Other externalbarriers are listed: - “They think it’s just a new management gimmick. - It takes too long. - They expect to be told. - They want to be told – they don’t want responsibility. - They think I’ve gone nuts. - I’ll lose my authority. - I’m an expert and they respect and expect my knowledgeable input. - I already use a coaching style – I don’t need to change anything.”
But when managers and employees let go of the barriers, both internal and external, therewill be benefits both professionally and personally. Managers who practice the coachingprocess will experience improved performance and productivity. They will also developtheir staff by improving learning, relationships, and maybe even quality of life for 34individuals involved. The manager may find more time to work with more creative ideasand learn to better use of people, skills, and resources. Staff will then be more motivatedand a culture change may occur as a new life skill is learned by the coach and coachee.Whitmore says, “You can make a man run, but you can’t make him run fast!”
Whitmore summarizes his thoughts on management by coaching via the diagram below. Management by Coaching generates 35 Awareness Responsibilityquality & quantity of input personal choice & controlQ&Q recall interest uniqueness self-esteem ownershipof output Enjoyment Potential Learning ConfidencePerformance Self-motivation Higher productivity Improved communication Better working relationships Quality of life in the workplace Greater recognition More customer care
StrengthsCoaching for Performance: GROWing People, Performance and Purpose and Coaching for 37Improved Work Performance, both express the need for coaching in the business world.These authors agree that the power to change performance lies within the person who isperforming the task. Coaching for Performance: GROWing People, Performance, andPurpose deals with coaching an individual on a task from start to finish. The employee andmanager set a goal and decide together how to accomplish that goal. Whitmore lays out aplan to help managers attain the goals that are set forth while giving the employee theconfidence to complete the tasks. On the other hand, Coaching for Improved WorkPerformance gives a detailed account of how to deal with an employee once his or herperformance has gone south. Ferdinand helps managers identify the specific performanceissue and then details a plan to help the employee resolve the problem on his or her own.Both plans have helpful elements for creating a better workplace.WeaknessesThe major weaknesses for both books are that the plans for coaching can be timeconsuming and since the ideas are new to some managers they will likely not implementthe changes. Both books require managers to sit with their employees for at least thirtyminutes to an hour to help the employees set goals and realize any performance issues.Managers may not have this can of time to spend with each employee – though it would benice if they could. Also, as Whitmore states managers do not like change and feel theirapproach to performance is the right one because it has worked for them in the past. Ittakes time and practice to learn a new skill and it can be difficult to break out of oldroutines.Similarities
There are many similarities between the two books. Both authors review why managersfail to resolve performance issues and offer help on how to fix it. They both believe that themanager should empower the employee to resolve his or her own issue with the help of themanager. Also, they both provide models for managers to use and practice coaching. 38Finally, they are both interested in motivating employees to perform at their best. After all,if employees are motivated to work, then the manager will have fewer problems on the job.DifferencesWhitmore and Ferdinand differ mainly in their approaches to coaching. Whitmore believesin setting goals and using coaching to complete these goals. However, Ferdinand’sapproach to coaching starts once a problem in performance as already occurred. WhileFerdinand deals with the employee who is already in trouble with the boss, Whitmore triesto keep the employee from ever having a performance problem.Writing StyleBoth books are easy to read and quite motivating. They speak directly to the manager thatis in need of help. Also, both books provide useful charts and graphs to help managers seeand understand concepts more clearly.Appropriate AudienceBoth books are tailored to managers. They speak to the managers with real life examplesto explain concepts and try to help them understand how coaching can improve employeeperformance, as well as, the environment in the workplace.
Usefulness and ApplicabilityCoaching for Performance: GROWing People, Performance and Purpose and Coaching forImproved Work Performance can be quite useful to managers who have the time and 39patience to try something new. The concepts appear to be quite helpful and logical formany situations. The books both detail what managers do wrong and surely mostmanagers will see themselves in these stories. Hopefully by seeing what they are doingwrong when dealing with employees, managers will want to change, or at least trysomething new to see if it works. Both books provide ways of implementing a coachingprogram in the workplace, and even if a manager takes away only a few new ideas on howto deal with something or someone, the employees, managers, and business will benefitfrom it.Depth and BreadthBoth books gave in depth detail about coaching to improve performance in employees.They included examples of scenarios that could occur as a result of a coaching session andhow to fix what may go wrong. They go into detail about what managers are not doing fortheir employees and they explain why taking care of employees is so crucial to being asuccessful manager. These books should be recommended to all new managers.
Academic Research 41Annotated Bibliography 1) “Coaching for success”, Isley, Karen M. Strategic Communication Management, Feb/Mar2001, Vol. 5 Issue 2, p8 2) “Dont miss the mark MOTIVATION that WORKS”, OHerron, Jennifer. Call Center Magazine, Jun2005, Vol. 18 Issue 6, p32-41 3) “Improving employee performance: Major supervisory responsibility”, Weiss, W.H.. Supervision, Oct98, Vol. 59 Issue 10, p6 4) “Workplace Coaching”, http://www.workplacecoaching.com/ 5) “Performance Coaching Now and For the Future”, Lucas, Robert William; HR Focus, Jan94, Vol. 71 Issue 1, p13 6) “How Am I Doing?”, St. Meyer, Robert; Bank Marketing, May2002, Vol. 34 Issue 4, p18 7) Katie Davis and Patrick Malone. Coaching: The Key to Performance Improvement. www.work911.com/cgi-bin/links/jump.cgi?ID=3705 8) Long, Jennifer. “Performance Coaching: The Missing Link to Level 3 Impact.” Chief Learning Office 3:2 (February 2004): 20-25. 9) Mackintosh, Allan. Removing the Barriers to Performance. www.performance-am.com/PDF/RemovingthebarrierstoPerformance.pdf 10)Mackintosh, Allan. Uncovering the Secrets to Effective Performance Management. www.performance- am.com/PDF/Effective%20Performance%20Management.pdf 11)Nitschke, Robin. Coaching for Improved Performance. http://humanresources.about.com/library/weekly/uc031903a.htm 12) Clemmer, Jim. A Coach’s Playbook for Leaders. http://www.clemmer.net/excerpts/coachs_playbook.shtml
“Coaching for success”, Isley, Karen M.; Strategic Communication ManagementFeb/Mar2001, Vol. 5 Issue 2, p8In Coaching for Success, Isley looks at how managers can improve their communication and 42impact individual employees by considering their motivation technique. A studyconducted by Walker Information found that only 28% of employees are willing to workharder to make their companies succeed. Thus sparked Isley to conduct a one yearresearch which revealed the following: • Sustained coaching and motivation, tailored to each person’s needs can drive greater success than a start-and-stop, one sized fits all approach that focuses more on penalties for failure and less on coaching for success.The results: • Effective managers know the employees they are trying to motivate – Instead of implementing a single program, begin by asking opinions of employees through a survey or research on what the employee prefers. This gives the organization opportunity to have more options available based on concerns of employees. • Negative reinforcement should be handled with care – Deal with any negativeness on a one-on-one basis. This helps the manager get to know the employee better as well as not create a hostile environment in front of others. • Strong organizations focus on helping people succeed – Offer individualized attention and guidance such as mentoring programs or guided counseling. • Incentives alone are not effective – Incentives do nothing for those who cannot perform the requested task. The individual must be capable of achieving the goal before an incentive is set up. • The more options you give, the more opportunities you have to motivate – A company cannot be totally individualized, so the more coaching and guidance available, the number of motivated employees will increase.
The impact of employee motivation is rarely disputed. Isley states that it takes four timesthe departing person’s salary to replace just one employee, therefore organizations shouldconsider motivation options closely to help retain employees. 43
“Dont miss the mark MOTIVATION that WORKS”, OHerron, Jennifer; Call CenterMagazine, Jun2005, Vol. 18 Issue 6, p32-41David Mussa joined Wyndham International Call Center as vice president and started 44experiencing and annual turnover of 150%. He found that the call center was conductingbetween 20 to 25 training classes per year to keep up with the new hires. His goal was toreduce the turnover to a minimum.The first step Mussa took was to conduct formal and informal focus groups to find outdirectly from the employees what they liked about working at the call center as well aswhat they disliked. He then was able to construct a motivation and incentives strategy. Hisprogram was successful in that it reduced the turnover rate down to 35% withoutincreasing handling time. How did he do this? He addressed the underlining causes of theagent’s dissatisfaction. The agents were actually de-motivated by the manager’s lack ofattention. One of the consultants on the case advised to Mussa that there were three mainareas of the agent’s needs: • Physical needs – Are the agents working in a clean and safe environment? Are the chairs and headsets in good condition? • Mental needs – Do agents receive enough training and coaching to do their task with confidence? • Emotional needs – Do agents have sense of belonging and experience positive relationships at work?All the money in the world for incentives will not create an environment that fulfills theseemployee needs. O’Herron outlines a plan to fulfill these employee needs. The planconsists of issues such as: • Avoiding ‘flavor of the month’. • Communication between supervisors and agent is key through coaching.
• Be clear to agents about what your expectations are and how you’ll be measuring their performance. • Spend time with agents to learn of their goals and expectations for the future. • Be enthusiastic about what you are doing. 45To make this work it is advised to use focus groups to listen to employees and find outwhat really motivates them. The focus group should include employees from differentareas of the organization. Organizations can also do surveys, but it is advised to keep thesurveys anonymous.Employees want to be developed. A motivated employee feels that the company isinvesting in them, whether it is for career and growth or training to help polish skills,employees want development.Some tips to motivating include: • Verbalize and act with an inspiring vision and mission. • Project a courageous spirit. • Behave with enthusiasm.Once the fundamental issues affecting motivation and morale are addressed, incentives likepizza parties and attendance contests become more effective.
“Improving employee performance: Major supervisory responsibility”, Weiss, W.H.;Supervision Oct98, Vol. 59 Issue 10, p6Weiss mentions that when subordinates are more involved in decision making, superiors 46have a greater influence in how decisions are carried out. But most supervisors believethat they themselves have earned the privilege of making their own decisions because ofthe years of hard work, training and sacrifices they have put in. Those managers don’trealize that management is not a privilege but a responsibility. Subordinates shouldparticipate in decisions concerning their work. To improve employee performance Weissstates the supervisor should allow participation, develop quality job habits of theemployee, and raise their skill level.When employees participate in the decision making process both the company and theemployee gains. Participation often serves to prevent worthless ideas from being adoptedand poorly conceived changes from being made, such that: • The procedure helps to increase employee’s confidence in management intentions. • When employees are asked to expressed their opinion, the feel important and “in” on things. • Participation helps to develop a better understanding of change. • Because of participation, people become more committed to the decision in which they took part. • When subordinates participate, their capabilities are developed and expanded. • Participation helps employees broaden their outlook.Some ways that Weiss mentions to develop quality job habits and improve performanceinclude: 1. Start new employees off right by setting high performance standards for them. 2. Get to know your department employees.
3. Don’t accept less than best from an employee. 4. Encourage creativity and innovation. 5. Focus on good workmanship and attention to the job. 6. Promote quality performance of employees with top-notch leadership. 47One f the most effective way to improve employees’ performance is to raise their skill levelthrough training. Continuous education programs should be part of an organization’sperformance improvement process. But if you see that the employee is a slow learner,coaching is an appropriate course to follow. When using coaching, the situation can bediscussed with the employee and personal instructions can be implemented. Some positivesteps to take when coaching are: 1. Be honest with the employee. 2. Recognize coaching a slow learner involves criticism and thus must use the criticisms sparingly and carefully. 3. Don’t say, “Why is it taking you so long?” Ask the employee any suggestions for possible answers. Focus on the problem, not the person. 4. Make sure the employee accepts the training objectives. 5. Follow up on what the employee has agreed to do. This includes setting deadlines that the employee agreed upon.
Workplace Coaching; http://www.workplacecoaching.com/The article starts with how managers have a lot of pressure to get results from their teamsby upper management. But often these managers are promoted through job specific 48expertise. They know how to get the job done, but they may not have the people andmanagement skills to match. Managers that have effective coaching skills producesignificantly better results. People who work for these managers do better work andcontribute to the organization in many more ways. It mentions that “companies that havebrought in a coaching culture report significantly reduced staff turnover, increasedproductivity, greater happiness and satisfaction at work”. Coaching is also mentioned asbeing about getting the best possible return on investment from the most valuable assettoday – the employees. Other benefits of developing coaching culture in the workplaceinclude: • “A focus on solutions not problems. • People are inspired to achieve their best. • Communication channels opening up. • Reduced conflict between staff / increased staff retention. • Better results delivered with less effort”.The article continues to by emphasizing results coaching and the underlying principlesinvolved such as: • Self directed learning – Here, coaching supports his coachee to come up with his own answers instead of than directing or advising the coachee. The coach uses a questioning approach to help the person find their own answers. • Solutions focus – Coaching should focus on solutions - where are you now, where do you want to be and how can you get there. Focusing on the solutions gives a very different result to taking apart the problem.
• Positive feedback – Coaching is a way of delivering encouragement and belief in the coachee so that it moves them forward. • Systematic approach to delivering behavioral change -- Coaching is effective because it provides a step by step and systematic approach that slowly produces 49 real change.The coach is best if he can bring out the best in people by putting them through this processto become an effective performer. • Setting goals • Developing strategies • Getting in action • Maintaining momentum • Providing accountability • Keeping the focus on the big picture • Building on strengths and reducing weaknesses • Delivering honest feedbackTherefore, the answer to why results’ coaching is that with this process, coaches can helpexecutives, managers, professionals and business owners every year to be more effective intheir career, and their lives.
“Performance Coaching Now and For the Future”, Lucas, Robert William; HR Focus,Jan94, Vol. 71 Issue 1, p13Lucas offers suggestions to managers on how to make an effective evaluation of employee 50performance. He lays out eight phases and states that success will depend on the ability ofmanagers to recognize the need for effective performance feedback. He states that theeight-phase coaching process model can make coaching efforts easier. The stages follow:Phase 1 - Establish goals: Success usually depends on the goals. Lucas states thatmanagers need to work with employees to establish reasonable and attainable goals. Somefactors that he feels need to be considered are the employees abilities, knowledge, skills,and motivation to succeed. Other factors consist of the measure for progress or successlike time, money, quantity or quality. These goals should also portray exactly whatemployees are expected to accomplish and a completion dates.Phase 2 – Collect performance date: Performance data includes any on-the-job behaviorthat can adequately evaluate an employee’s performance. Lucas listed some methods ofgathering performance data which ranges from gathering customer surveys, personalobservations, interviews with employees, their peers or other supervisors, to performanceappraisals, reports, and self-assessment questionnaires.Phase 3 – Analyze performance: Once data has been collected on performance, managersmust evaluate each area with fairness and accuracy to determine areas which employeesare deficient, meeting goals, and/or exceeding expectations.Phase 4 – Review and modify goals: In phase 4, deficits between actual and desiredperformance goals are identified and addressed in meetings with employees. Feedback onperformance will be provided, and then goals can be revised to allow later success.
Phase 5 – Identify developmental resources: In this phase, the manager evaluates thedeficiencies and identify resources to help employees improve their performance.Phase 6 – Develop an action plan: When developing an action plan, Lucas wants the 51manager to keep in mind the following: - What are employees doing right? What needs to be improved? - What specific knowledge, skills or attitudes need to be addressed? - What resources, strategies and actions will improve performance? - When will managers and employees get together to review progress? - When must tasks be completed?Phase 7 – Implement strategies: Once action plans are recognized, the manager shouldfollow up with the employee to make certain that the employee is achieving those goals.The employee’s success really depends on the manager’s ability to follow up with theemployee’s goals. Some things that the manager can do to ensure that the employee isworking on their goal are to get feedback from the employee, watch the employee perform,or provide positive feedback to employees when necessary.Phase 8 – Evaluate performance: Lastly, the manager must complete performancemeasures through standards establish and identify if success is or is not completelyachieved. Then discussions with employees should be held to determine the reason for nonsuccess. Positive feedback should be provided when employees achieve their goal(s). Thenrenew the process to continue to strengthen the employees abilities.
“How Am I Doing?”, St. Meyer, Robert; Bank Marketing, May2002, Vol. 34 Issue 4, p18St. Meyer starts the article by mentioning that the key to improving return on sales trainingis to teach your managers the value of performance coaching. When a financial institutionfalls short of sales performance, what do they do? Training the sales people is the answer, 52but not any training will do. St. Meyers states that the right coaching should be used or it’slike throwing money away.The article outlines three basic types of coaching: - Scoreboard coaching - focuses on the numbers. - Stat sheet coaching - looks at activities, such as the number of sales calls made. - Performance coaching - targets roles, behaviors, and employees proficiency at carrying out their critical tasks.Coaching is not about getting high numbers or scoring in statistical ranges, it is aboutbehaviors that must be well executed to fulfill an organizations value proposition. A valueproposition is a promise to customers. Employees must have the tools to satisfy customers,the tools include knowing the behaviors at which they must become proficient. Mosttraining fails to connect the value and propositions, thus making sales coaching even morechallenging.Role definition is the first key step in establishing a performance coaching process. Beginby reviewing your organizations value proposition. Then determine what your employeesneed to do to fulfill that promise. After that, list all of the accountabilities and routines thesales associate must perform, things that would surface on a detailed list of duties. Next,specify the skills, or competencies, needed to perform each routine. Finally, identify thebehaviors needed to perform each competency.For example, sales managers must ensure that their team can uncover prospects needs andoffer solutions. Routines that sales managers perform include conducting pipeline
meetings, joint calls and coaching. Coaching competencies include preparation, executionand follow-up. Behaviors needed to conduct preparation include asking the right questionsand listening, among others. 53St. Meyers states that in order to building a coaching program the following steps should betaken: 1. Measure proficiency of the employee. 2. Prioritize and present list of performance deficiencies that need analyzing. 3. Isolate and discriminate fear. 4. Plan for improvement action. 5. Customize your coaching per employee.Lastly St. Meyers talks about how coaching should work from the top down. "Executivemanagement sets the tone, so its important for them to understand the coaching process,"says Andrew Beverley, senior vice president of Central Bancompany. Coaching also takeseffort for success to happen. And coaches will know this when personnel become proficientquickly, deliver on value propositions.
Katie Davis and Patrick Malone. Coaching: The Key to Performance Improvement.www.work911.com/cgi-bin/links/jump.cgi?ID=3705In this article Davis and Malone define the role of a coach and explain the steps that a coach 54needs to take in order to be effective. They define a coach as a person who wants to “helpother people improve their proficiency and competence at performing a specific task.” Acoach can come in the form a driving instructor teaching a student to drive a car well or aboss trying to improve the performance of an employee. Either way, coaching is a skill thatneeds to be practiced in order for the coach to be proficient, and Davis and Malone give thefollowing rules to guide that practice: 1. Set expectations. Tell the employee what is specifically expected of them. 2. Observe performance. By observing the employee a coach can determine if there are any areas where the employee needs help such as in knowing what to do, specific skills, confidence level, and obstacles to performance. 3. Coach. Add improvement methods to any areas of concern by advising the employee, improving the employee’s skill level, giving tools to help facilitate the performance or removing obstacles that may prevent the employee from completing the task. 4. Measure and evaluate the result. Compare the results and behaviors and measure the employee’s current competency level. If the employee is above or below the target level then the goal for the employee can be changed.Repeating this process encourages performance improves in employees. By stating theresults that are needed, recognizing successes, suggesting solutions and ending eachcoaching session with a “win”, a coach can improve not only an employee’s performancebut also his self confidence. By focusing on positive things the employee is more likely tobuy into the coaching method and will continue to improve in future sessions.
Coaches should observe the employees and determine the best way to be an affective coachfor each employee. Everyone is different so not every way of coaching will work for eachperson. It is important that the person and the coaching style connect. 55Other ways a coach can help an employee are by overlooking small or unimportantproblems, asking if he can help the employee, adjusting goals if it looks like the employeemay fail at the task, celebrating successes, stopping unproductive behaviors, and exploringalternatives.If a coach is effective he will likely be remembered, but it is important for all coaches topractice their coaching skills so that they will be just as successful as the employees theyare coaching.
Long, Jennifer. “Performance Coaching: The Missing Link to Level 3 Impact.” ChiefLearning Office 3:2 (February 2004): 20-25.In this article Jennifer Long describes how coaching can improve upon the Level 3 Impact 56discussed in Donald Kirkpatrick’s four level model to evaluate a training program. Level 3Impact deals with behavior changes, and Long suggests that coaching can lead to thesuccess of training programs by ensuring that material taught in training is achieved in theworkplace.Long believes that the performance infrastructure, “external factors that influence aperson’s ability to actually apply and integrate training on the job”, is the main reason whytraining fails. If a manager does not allow an employee to use a skill taught in training onthe job then teaching the skill was worthless. Long believes that by adding coaching to themix, these external factors will become minimal and the training program will besuccessful.Long defines coaching as “a practice through which an individual supports the learning orperformance improvement of another individual through interactive questioning and othermeans of active input and support.” A coach facilitates change in the environment,identifies performance gaps, and achieves a commitment to learning. Research states thatmost managers are engaged in part of the coaching process by getting employees to seewhat they are doing wrong, helping them find solutions and creating an action plan tochange the behavior. However, this is not enough to make a long term change occur.Kirkpatrick gives four conditions that are necessary to effect change: 1. The person must have the desire to change. Coaching can help direct the employees focus to the desired change and encourage them to make it happen. 2. The person must know what to do and how to do it. Training provides the initial knowledge for this step but coaching furthers it by allowing the employee to
practice and improve the new skill. Immediate change will occur simply by the employee using the new skill. Overtime, the skill level will improve. 3. The person must work in the right climate. If the employee is required to use the new skill in the workplace then the training will have more weight for the 57 employee. Coaching can provide this climate. 4. The person must be rewarded for changing. A coach can provide the recognition of change by giving feedback at every coaching session. By rewarding the change employees are more likely to build self confidence and have greater job satisfaction.Long believes that once coaching is implemented into a company it will become a part of itsculture. There is not much written about how to implement a coaching program though, soLong suggests that before a manager becomes a coach he should be coached himself. It isimportant to see a successful coach in action to become one. In this way the manager willbe able to realize his own capabilities and have a coach to model his behaviors after. Thenhe can move on to improving his own coaching abilities.Long also believes that coaching must include practice. A discussion with an employee isnot enough to effect change. Coaching should allow an employee to try a new skill in a safeand supportive environment because it is likely that he will not do it right the first time. Byallowing the employee to practice in this environment he will be more confident doing theskill in the real world.In order for training programs to be effective it is important that there is a behavior changein the trainee. Coaching is one way to ensure that those changes occur. It allows theindividual to practice the skill and get support so that he can improve. Without the practicethe new skills learned by employees in training are basically worthless.
Mackintosh, Allan. Removing the Barriers to Performance.www.performance-am.com/PDF/RemovingthebarrierstoPerformance.pdfIn this article Allen Mackintosh discusses the reasons why employees have performance 58issues. He believes that everyone has had a lack of motivation at some time in their life andit can cause problems in performance at work. If this occurs and a manager puts morepressure on an unmotivated employee then the employee will become even moreunmotivated which can cause serious problems for the employee and the company.To often managers jump to conclusions about why an employee is not performing on thejob. They think it is because the person is lazy or unequipped to perform the job andbecause of these thoughts the manager takes action against the employee. Mackintoshbelieves one of the reasons managers do this is because they do not understand theiremployees. They do not spend enough time with them so they are unable to understandwhat their motivators are and they do not know their employees enough to make properjudgments about them.Also, managers often make false judgments about their employees because they do notknow how to properly identify a performance issue. In order to help managers with thisaspect Mackintosh has developed a model for managers to use. The model is calledCARERS: C - Clarity & focus A - Ability R - Relationships E - Environment R - Reward & Recognition S - Support