The Q4 Model

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LTPS Tips

Leadership

Have Your Coaching Efforts Fizzled Out?

Jun. 19th, 2017

The Situation

You are a senior executive at a chemical refining company. You helped hire Brian, a middle manager who works for you, from another company several years ago.

Brian is bright and has promise. Right now, though, his performance is just adequate. He does what his job requires, but he’s not standing out or taking the initiative on projects.

You are trying to influence Brian’s development by coaching him in a Q4 collaborative way. You monitor his work and discuss with him his commitment to his job and how he could shine.

Something Is Still Off

Brian’s performance is still lacking. Maybe it has to do with your coaching effort. Which of the following do you feel is the best tactic to adopt now to be more effective with this particular employee?

Your Choices:

A
You should talk less during the coaching session and let Brian contribute more. If coaching comes off as just a lecture, Brian may not be getting much motivation from it.
B
In coaching sessions, be more positive about Brian’s current efforts and keep emphasizing all the benefits he’ll enjoy if he performs better. Positive motivation is the key.
C
Solicit and agree upon more specific goals at Brian’s coaching sessions, then review those goals at timely intervals as a basis for tracking continued improvement.

Actually, each of the three choices is one element of the formula. Since you’ve already tried coaching but not had a lot of success, the refinement that is most needed right away is C. Here’s why.

Choice A

As a fundamental, if coaching doesn’t seem to be working, check to be sure you are not simply doing all the talking. Brian will be much more motivated if his coaching is a form of self-discovery — that is, if you give Brian the opportunity to express what he thinks is missing and his ideas for doing better. Even if it’s close to your own ideas, it means so much more to the employee if he generates his own strategy for improvement. See C for how to round this out.

Choice B

It’s important to be positive about motivation in a coaching session. For instance, using implied or stated threats to someone’s future is not likely to help to bring energy and resourcefulness about improving. However, positivity alone is not enough to make coaching effective. You need the other two elements to round out effective coaching.

Choice C

This is the best of three effective suggestions because it incorporates Brian’s participation in goal-setting (Choice A), but it also adds measurable, trackable performance objectives that can be revisited in a timely way. Of course, you can modify and refine the plan together, but let it originate with him. Subsequent coaching sessions should review Brian’s tangible progress (or lack thereof). Help him keep his eyes on the prize by minimizing your own talking — and motivating positively when you do talk.