Blueprint for a Coaching Session with Employees

January 29, 2013

–Adapted from AMA Business Boot Camp–a compendium of some of the American Management Association's best advice.

Coaching employees one-on-one is an incredibly powerful way to improve productivity and employee engagement.

Good coaches know a lot about their teams and what those players are up against before they ever open their mouths. Take time to plan for a coaching meeting and don’t underestimate the preparation you need to do for it. You make your direct reports feel valued and motivated when you come into a coaching session with clarity about what needs to happen.

Take advantage of the coaching process to develop a strategy for a course of action. This isn’t the occasion for brainstorming.

The first consideration is logistical, so handle these to-do items up front, not on the run:

  • Set up a timewith your direct report that is convenient for both of you. It is important that each of you be able to pay attention to the conversation. If other work or personal issues distract you or the other person, then it will be difficult to listen to each another.
  • Find a locationthat is appropriate for the coaching you will be doing. If the purpose is to correct a performance problem, then hold the session in a private room.
  • Identify the desired results of the coaching meeting with your direct reports. Determine what you intend the outcomes to be—not just in the long-term sense, but also in the immediate sense. What ideas, directions, or game plan do you hope the employee will be able to utilize because of the session?

In addition to planning your coaching meeting, use effective communication techniques while you conduct the meeting.

As a manager, you have the responsibility to be certain that all of your direct reports contribute to their fullest potential. You ensure that will happen through coaching. Coach your staff members regularly, whether they are performing at an exceptional level or need to improve their skills or behaviors.

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About The Author

Edward T. Reilly is President and CEO of the American Management Association (AMA). AMA is the world’s leading not-for-profit, membership-based management development, research and publishing organization. Each year, AMA directly interacts with over 100,000 managers and executives in the United States and around the world, through its renowned management education seminar programs and conferences. It publishes many newsletters, research papers and a quarterly management journal. Through its publishing arm, AMACOM, it publishes over 80 books per year.

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