Top 5 Tips to Coach for Performance

For many professionals, the end of the year means performance review season. It’s also the perfect time for coaching – when a leader facilitates the development of an employee.

We asked our coaching expert, Rob Sotlar, to provide his thoughts on the topic. Rob first reminded us that coaching is about collaboration, working together to find a solution, and increasing awareness. It’s not about giving advice or telling an employee how to solve a problem. A coach should be considered a “guide on the side.”

Here are Rob’s Top 5 Tips on Coaching for Performance:

1. Be a good listener. Effective listening is critical for a successful coaching engagement. Listen to identify and then facilitate self-discovery. Do not listen to respond. Remember, you’re a guide on the side.

2. Assist with analysis. This is a biggie. It’s important in the goal creation phase of coaching and during each coaching session. Facilitate a conversation that enables your employee to identify their area(s) of focus. A personal SWOT Analysis is a great tool.

3. Ask questions (a lot of ‘em). Ask the right questions and help your employee realize what they need to do, without telling them. When your employee comes to their own solution, they are more like to take accountability and own the outcome. The GROW Model is a wonderful tool to use here.

4. Hold them accountable. This is a simple, yet crucial conversation to have with your employee. Did they achieve their goal, and why or why not? What part did they play in achieving (or not achieving) the goal? Facilitate the employee stepping through the process to identify successes and opportunities.

5. Provide real feedback. This may be tough for some, but it is essential for a successful coaching engagement. When providing feedback, be specific and focus on facts (the things you can hear and see). Real feedback is often not comfortable for the receiver, but it’s a tool that will enable serious growth.