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Great Managers are Great Coaches

by David Pinto

People who work for your company should meet with their managers on a regular basis for one-on-one talks about their work feelings & performance. But does this make employees more excited about their jobs and their performance as a result?

In order to improve the effectiveness of employee assessments and performance management; it's not as simple as having more contact between managers and their employees. In order for that contact to be meaningful and help employees, it must come from managers, not just be another thing to check off a list.

Deloitte asked business leaders to rank the top three things that make it hard to improve performance management, and the most common answers were:

1. Managers' ability to have meaningful, long-term coaching talks

2. Managers' ability to give employees relevant feedback (both bad and good)

3. Performance meetings tend to be a yearly affair and are thus pushed aside.

"Coaching is a set of behaviours that must be learned and reinforced through proactive training."

What is good employee coaching?

Meeting with employees isn't going to help if all managers do is talk at rather than interact with their employees. Trust and open communication must be at the heart of every interaction.

Here are some research-based coaching skills that help employees do well at work and that managers should be taught:

- Two-way dialogue is essential. Employees should be able to share their thoughts, ask questions, and bring problems to their manager in order for coaching to be effective.

- State expectations. People who don't know what their job is are less happy at work. Clarity makes human beings less anxious and gives us a sense of purpose.

- Reduce bureaucracy. Managers build trust by getting to know their employees on a daily basis and getting rid of unnecessary rules, meetings, or procedures that make it hard for employees to feel actively involved and purposeful in their jobs, which is why they do this.

- Help employees deal with emotions. Managers need to show their employees that they care about their well-being in order to get them to work hard and build trust with them. Managers should ask for ideas, respond to concerns, and think carefully about how top-down decisions affect their employees.

- Focus on the future. Great managers take their coaching to the next level by paying attention, listening, and anticipating topics that will be useful to their employees in the future.

- Employees should be in charge. Managers should try to give employees control over meetings, both in terms of scheduling and content; this makes them feel like they have a say in what they do and how they do it.

- Stay flexible. The world changes, and people change, don’t focus on what was.

- Most importantly, keep an eye out for a negative trend of sentiment in the company: ELEFense is a system that uses AI to pinpoint cases of company toxicity. Such as cyber abuse, and aggression, in order to simultaneously protect employees & the company. If something bad happens internally, you, as a manager, need to be on the ball and ensure the problem is dealt with before it becomes problematic.

The system can mitigate any negative feelings on the employees’ teams and departments completely anonymously and can give management an indication if it needs to adapt the compliance policy & training.

Sounds too good to be true? Book a demo and come see.

A lot of things change and improve at the same time.

Trying to improve performance management will be a company-wide project. It's going to be up to leaders and managers to convince employees that these changes will be good for them.

Leaving a bad performance management process in place is like not taking care of a toothache. It will eat away at employee engagement and slow down business growth. It's not enough to just stop the pain; you'll also need to treat your company at the root of the problem.

TLDR: Focus your efforts on making performance evaluations more effective by having frequent, supportive talks between managers and employees, and use tools like ELEFense to ensure the trend stays positive.


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