The coaching role has four essential activities:

  • Providing direction.
  • Improving performance.
  • Opening up possibilities.
  • Resource for removing obstacles.

Coaching range

The coaching range components are:

  • Educate
    •  For people learning a new skill or knowledge.
  • Encourage
    • For people learning a new skill or knowledge.
    • For people responding to a setback.
  • Sponsor
    • For people already excelling and in danger of being bored.
  • Counsel
    • For people with poor performance or poor behaviour.
    • How are we going to solve our problem?
  • Confront
    • For chronic poor performance or behaviour or acute poor behaviour.
    • What are you going to do to solve your problem?


Coaching set up

When coaching in the range from educate to sponsor, follow these guidelines:

  • Preferably coach on the job with the exception of setting up a sponsoring opportunity.
  • Advise employee that you are making a coaching opportunity.
  • Observe.
  • Coach when the employee has completed the activity.


Coaching technique

Use a technique to coach. Do not just “wing it”. For example, a simple technique is the sandwich technique:

  • Observe.
  • Describe what was good.
  • Describe what could have been done better.
  • Demonstrate how to do it better.
  • Practice doing it better.
  • Describe what was done well again .
    • and encourage to continue to practice the new skill.


Counselling and confronting set ups

  • Select private area.
  • Make appointment.
  • Alert employee that they are to be counselled.
  • Check with HR re: processes, previous counselling record, action to be taken if counselling is unsuccessful.
  • Check standards of operation have been communicated to employee.
  • Verify what is fact and opinion about what you have heard.


Counselling process

Use the following process to counsel:

1. Define the nature of the problem

The first step is the most critical, because it sets the tone of the meeting and explains what is going on.

This is often the most difficult step for both Managers and the receiving employee.

The aims of this step are to define the problem or issue by being very specific and clear in your communication. Back it up with data, your observations, or, if based on hearsay explain that it is an allegation that needs to be investigated. Review any written standards to be sure that they are clear.

Explain the impact of the problem or issue to both the company and the individual.

Let the person know the consequences of the problem or issue continuing.

Explain what you want to achieve from this meeting. This may be as simple as hearing their comments and doing some further investigation to agreeing on a plan to fix up the problem.

An example:
Jill, I have asked you to come and see me today about your continued late attendance. Over the past week, I have observed that you have been up to 15 minutes late for work on five out of six days. By you turning up late to work, the opening procedures are delayed, and the impact is that your team mates have to make up for what you are not completing. If this behaviour continues, you are in jeopardy of being dismissed, so to avoid that I would like to spend this session coming up with a plan on how we can get you to work on time.


2. Ask for reasons

In this step you are trying to find out the reason for the issue or problem, and accordingly should give the employee every opportunity to respond.

Were there reasons why it occurred or has something been happening outside of work that you are unaware of that may be influencing why the problem occurred?

During this section you should take detailed notes about what is being said. The reason for this is that if this goes any further, you have detailed notes of what was said.

Make sure that you allow the employee enough time to respond to the issue.

Ask open questions so that you receive as much information as possible, and use active listening skills to ensure that you accurately understand what is being said.

If the situation is serious enough the employee may need to be suspended from work until an investigation is completed – if this is the case then discuss your issue with the Human Resources Manager prior to taking any action.

At the completion of this section you need to both reach agreement on what the problem or issue is, and what the reasons for the problem are.

An example:
Jill, given that you are aware that your start time is 8.30am each day, what are the reasons for your late attendance?

OK, so we both agree that you have been late for work and you are saying that the reason for your late attendance is that you are finding it difficult to get your family up and out of the house in time for you to get to work. Is that right?


3. Determine Action Required

On gaining all the facts from the employee, sometimes you may need to break the meeting so that you can consider options, or investigate further.

If you have enough of the facts you can begin discussing appropriate actions with the employee.

In this section, you should reiterate what the problem is and why it is considered serious, the expected standards that you are asking the employee to achieve, and the consequences of not meeting those standards.

If you are going to terminate the employee’s employment, then this should be stated when you discuss the consequences of inaction.


4. Agreed Improvement Plan

In this section you are assisting the employee to come up with an agreed plan of action to help them achieve the expected standards.

As with your coaching, you should discuss and select options that best fit with the employees learning style.

During this section you should begin to rebuild the employee’s self esteem by encouraging and demonstrating support.


5. Closing the session

On agreeing the actions that need to be made, you need to discuss how achievement of the target will be assessed and work out follow-up dates and times.

To assist the employee to rebuild their self esteem, acknowledge their commitment and co-operation in the problem. Show your support.

An example:
Jill, I’m sure that the plan that we’ve put in place will be able to rectify the problem. We will review the plan together in a week to see how you are progressing and if you still have any issues. I am confident that we will be able to put this behind and move on, so if you need, or want to chat, or if you think of any other ways that we can work towards the solution, then please come and see me.