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Coaching for improved performance - part I

posted Nov 6, 2010, 6:14 AM by Francois Tricot   [ updated Feb 21, 2011, 8:36 AM ]

If you want to increase your team performance, you have several options. One is to shout louder, to promote good doers as new managers and ask them to shout loud as well. After a couple of performance cycles, you have more shouters than doers.

Another option is to try to increase team members performance using Coaching techniques.

I've never been convinced by external coaching, as I think that it's just not enough and may solve only behavior problems. But I'm a strong supporter of coaching as a skill of a manager, used to increase one's performance at work.

Your team member can "grow" when:

  • He has got new assignments, with new context
  • He receives training
  • He receives coaching

Coaching allows a continuous improvement. Some consultancy firms sell coaching mainly for high level managers.

This article is about giving you the clues to apply coaching. If you are a manager, an expert, a skilled and experienced professional, you would benefit from applying simple coaching methods. As soon as your team will improve its skills, its autonomy, you will save time. Your team will be motivated and the results will be better. You will then easily find someone able to take your job and you will be able to take the position you've dream of so many times :-)

Step #1

Generally, the coach initiates a coaching session. You may face an issue: a project is delayed, one has unwanted behaviour, quality is not good enough... Or you think one could do more. He does not seem to deliver enough compared to other team members... Or one came and asked for help...

Generally, you think that the best way to solve the issue is to become the one accountable for it. You "enter" into the project and do it yourself. Bad option. Generally.

In such a case, you may start by giving some feedback, following the tips I've mentioned in this blog post. Knowing how to give feedback is very important. You may break the relationship by giving a strong negatiuve feedback instead of a constructive one.

A prepared and professional feedback gives a lot of benefits. Indeed, your team member perhaps didn't realise his behaviour. Listening to him can provide you new useful information that will change your mind. Listen. You may discover that the only impact of a given behaviour is that you don't like it as you would do differently but people in your team can't be your clones.

It also may be the best moment to schedule a meeting for coaching session.

Assess coaching need

Coaching aims at helping people to be successful in their work. Firstly, it is important to know what are your possibilities as a coach by asking yourself about the coachee :

  • his willing to do: does the coachee want to do the job or does he need motivation?
  • his ability to do: is the coachee skilled enough to do the job? Does he need any form of training?
  • the empowerment and authority to make things happen: has the coachee the right position enabling him to make things that are not in his scope change?

The coaching strategy is completely different according to the answer to these questions.

The Wish/Will matrix is a good tool to guide you to find the right approach.

As an example this is one I found on the net.


The way you can use it is pretty simple.

  • Assess the team member Skill to perform the task : Low / High.
  • Assess the team member Willing to perform the task : Low / High.
  • When Skill and Will are high, then delegate the task and eventually empower the team member by giving him access to your network
  • When Skill is high but Will is Low, then Motivate
  • When Skill is low but Will is High, then advise, train, guide
  • When Skill and Will are low, then Direct : tell him exactly what to do

In a future blog post, we will se what is the required preparation for a coaching session, and the steps of a structured coaching session

To be continued...