A lot has been written about why managers
should coach employees. A lot also has been written on how to
coach employees. You can find many articles on the Pygmalion
Effect and the Galatea Effect, which explain how employee
coaching works. Very few articles help you know when to coach
employees. That's what this article does.
Before Coaching Employees
Most of the time, a manager should not
coach their employees. To understand that statement, it helps to
know what employee coaching is and what employee coaching is
not. Giving employees the knowledge and skills they need to
perform their job tasks is not employee coaching; that is
employee training. On the other hand, employee coaching is
an on-going process of helping employee identify and overcome
the hurdles that prevent them from excelling at their jobs.
Note that employee coaching involves
helping employees identify solutions to their performance
You are not coaching your employees when you
tell them what to do.
When Not To Coach Employees
Before you can effectively coach employees you
must know that they are properly trained and that they know what
is expected of them. These are the times to NOT coach employees:
- Their training is not complete
When an employee has not been completely trained it is a
waste of your time and theirs to try to coach them in those
aspects of their job. If they have been properly trained in
part of their job, you can coach them in that part, but not
in the areas where they have not yet been trained. Do the
training first. Then do the employee coaching.
- They do not know what is expected of them
It is pointless to coach employees who don't know what is
expected of them and know how that is measured. Remember
that employee coaching is designed to help them overcome
performance barriers. If they don't know what performance is
expected of them they won't know how to get there. Set clear
objectives for your employees. Then do the employee
- When you are in a hurry
Employee coaching takes time. When you are in a hurry, you
will not do a good job. You will not take the time to
help them identify solutions, but will be more likely to
just tell them what to do. Make time to do it right.
Then do the employee coaching.
- When you are angry or upset
When you are upset, you won't exhibit the enthusiasm and
friendliness you need to be effective as an employee coach.
You may not be fair or equitable. You may give even subtle
signals to the employee that could undermine the coaching
you have been doing up to this point. Get your emotions in
check. Then do the employee coaching.