Managers, Do You Recognize When Coaching is Necessary? Here Are Eight Opportunities For Coaching

Managers, Do You Recognize When Coaching is Necessary? Here Are Eight Opportunities For Coaching
By Deborah Laurel
Despite the fact that the primary purposes of coaching are training, developing, and/or problem solving, many managers only tend to think about coaching when two occasions arise. Some managers will coach for development, when an employee must learn new skills in order to perform a new job responsibility.
More managers are likely to coach for improvement, when an employee must learn how to improve poor performance. However, there are many other situations in which coaching can be of value.

Coaching for skill development may be useful in any of the following situations, when training, developing and/or problem solving are needed:

1. Work Delegation. The manager needs to delegate a work responsibility to an employee in order to be able to assume other duties. For example, the manager may want an employee to learn how to take over creating the weekly work schedule.

2. Developmental Request. An employee makes a developmental request to learn a new job function in order to become more promotable. For example, the employee may want to become more proficient at making sales presentations to potential clients.

3. Perceived Potential. The manager sees developmental potential in an employee. For example, the manager may see that a senior employee has the potential to be a team leader or a staff trainer.

4. Customer Need. A new customer need presents itself that will require employees to take on new responsibilities. For example, customers may want to be able to get immediate information from the company website. To meet this need, an employee may have to learn how to research and generate a list of frequently asked questions to post on the site.

5. Reorganization. A reorganization in the company creates new programs or tasks. For example, centralization of functions may necessitate the creation of a call center. Employees may need to learn how to research potential call center set ups to determine the most appropriate approach for the company.

6. Systems Improvement. Organizational systems require continuous improvement. For example, glitches in a major software program may require an employee to learn either how to fix or how to work around the problem.

7. Communications Improvement. There is always a need to improve organizational communications. For example, the company may need an employee to propose a faster way to communicate with employees who are off-site.

8. New Technology. New technology is introduced or anticipated. For example, a new client registration program may be instituted, for which the company will need trainers to help other employees learn how to use the program.

Coaching for improved performance may be useful in any of the following situations, again when training, developing and/or problem solving are needed:

1. Performance Problem. An employee’s job performance is not meeting established performance standards. For example, a sales associate may not be achieving sales goals because of an inability to close sales.

2. Poor Productivity. Production quality, quantity, or timeliness may be below accepted levels. For example, employees may need to learn how to conduct a systems analysis to determine the underlying cause of the problem.

3. Behavioral Issues. Some aspect of employee behavior is detrimental to the company. For example, employees may need to learn how to stay calm in stressful situations, so that they can handle difficult customers in a more respectful and constructive manner.

These are just a few of the situations that may call for coaching. Please note that almost all of the situations listed above require some degree of skill development and problem solving. Managers are ultimately responsible for setting their employees up for success. They are much more likely to accomplish this if they recognize when there is a need for training, developing and/or problem solving, and coach their employees.

Deborah Spring Laurel has been a trainer and a consultant in the areas of workplace learning and performance improvement for over thirty years. She has twenty years of experience as the President of Laurel and Associates, Ltd,, an international human resource development training and consulting firm that specializes in enhancing interpersonal dynamics within organizations.

Make sure that you know when to coach and when not to coach. Please go to our website for a white paper titled How to Decide if Coaching is Appropriate.

For information about Deborah’s workshops and consulting services, please visit her website at or contact Deborah directly at (608) 255-2010 or [email protected]

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