How do you handle a low performer? In every business, industry or department, there are always those who struggle to meet goals. They’re not just underperforming compared to their most successful peers; these folks are at the bottom of the performance spectrum. They stand out for consistently failing to achieve benchmarks. Before you give up on a low-performing employee, consider your role as coach. A good coach has the power to transform a low-to-medium performer into a successful, contributing team member.
The coaching process starts with understanding what makes a particular employee tick. Behavioral assessment tools, such as ProScan®, can uncover the hidden potential of an employee by identifying the individual’s personal strengths and motivators, as well as responses to workplace stressors.
While a low-performing employee may be better suited for a different position within the organization, many medium performers can be coached to develop character traits which will help them be more successful in their current positions. They likely possess most of the behaviors needed to perform the job well but would benefit from training in a particular area.
For example, a medium sales performer could be coached in the area of dominance, the “take charge” trait, to learn how to be more assertive in asking for the sale. Dominance likely comes naturally to top sales performers, but it may need to be further developed in those with spotty sales records. This is where individualized coaching plays a critical role in corporate success.
How do Individualized Development Plans Work?
Effective coaching is not formulaic. It must be individualized. Good coaches will use information from behavioral assessments to customize a development plan personal enough to promote change for a specific employee. This written Individualized Development Plan (IDP) must factor in the employee’s motivators, personal values, fears and frustrations. Laying out goals for the employee isn’t good enough.
A good IDP should include both short and long-term career goals, as well as an action plan to achieve them. It is not a one-time performance evaluation; rather the IDP is a partnership between the employee and supervisor for continuous improvement. This will require a commitment of time and a coach who is willing to provide feedback. The IDP should include a range of learning opportunities and scheduled meetings to review progress. As goals are achieved, identify other competencies to develop for continued personal and professional growth.
Who Needs a Coach?
It’s important to remember coaching isn’t just for low performing employees. Every person in your organization can benefit from personal development. Even those at the top need coaching.
Executives are under a considerable amount of pressure. They can benefit from a coach who knows the business and understands its politics but also understands the psychology behind personal success. Executives often seek coaching in the areas of problem solving, decision making, time management, conflict resolution, leadership, effective communication, public speaking and delegation of responsibilities.
A successful coach will determine the relationship between personal behavior, organizational culture and industry demands. As the market changes, old strategies and tactics become obsolete, requiring leaders to continually develop new skills. Relying on familiar patterns of behavior often leads to “blind spots” in judgement which may be corrected through candid feedback. Coaching redirects the executive toward tactics and behaviors which drive effectiveness.
How Can Coaching Improve My Bottom Line?
Coaching in the workplace has many proven benefits:
The power of coaching is manifested when both managers and employees are committed to the development process. Continuous coaching in your workplace will benefit your bottom line.