Defining the Performance Problem in Business Coaching and Mentoring Sessions

Frustrated business managers often need solutions to improve the performance of employees

When a manager decides that there is a requirement for business coaching or mentoring sessions for their employees, it will usually be because one or more issues have developed which a manager has been unable to solve through more informal methods such as having a quiet word. Either the problem could not be rectified at all, or things improved but the employee has soon slipped back into old habits; either working to a standard which is not at the level required or conducting themselves in an unacceptable manner such as frequently turning up to work late.

The Initial Reaction to Criticism and Coaching May be Confrontational

When the employee is told that they are to begin receiving business coaching, they can initially be affronted, particularly if the employee is not aware that there is an issue with the quality of their work for instance. If a manager begins to put forward their point of view in a generalised manner without specific details, it can soon descend into an argument where little, if anything, is achieved.

To avoid this happening, both when the individual is informed of the upcoming coaching and mentoring sessions and during the first meeting, the problems need to be clearly defined with recorded examples. For instance, instead of just telling an employee that their punctuality is poor, which is likely to put them on the defensive, there should be documented evidence of the exact dates of when the individual was late and what time they arrived.

Harmonious Discussions are Much More Likely to be Productive

By taking away the ambiguity and generalised statements, there will be much less scope for the employee to argue, meaning that they will be more willing to accept the situation and listen to what is being said. This will depend greatly upon how the manager and coach spell out the problem(s). Rather than offering opinions or suggestions for improvements straight away, the problem should be put forward in a clear and objective manner in which the specific observations are stated.

Harmonious business discussions are much more likely to be productive

It is likely that the employee will soon begin to put forward their side of things and reasons as to why they have been late for work at those times. It is important that the manager and coach listen to their reasons attentively. Not only will this prevent the session quickly turning into an argument, but hearing their perspective on things may shed new light onto the situation. Discovering the causes may mean that these can be worked out amicably between the company and the employee, thereby solving the problem. It may be the case that the employee has personal issues which they have hidden and concealed from managers either out of embarrassment or feeling that it could cause trouble in some way. Addressing these and seeing if there are steps which can be taken to alleviate the concerns can help to quickly improve performance at work.

Avoiding arguments and shouting matches will allow for a calm and constructive business coaching discussion to ensue, where both sides can learn and understand the perspective and point of view of the other. If both understand where each other are coming from, solutions to the issues are much more likely to be forthcoming.