Seven Steps to Effective Coaching Meetings

HRDQ-U - Public Relations

60 minutes

Have you ever run into the situation yourself, or know a manager or supervisor who talked with an employee once, twice, maybe even three times about correcting a performance issue, yet nothing changed? Or, the changes made were only temporary, and the person reverted to his/her old ways. When it happens, we often get angry or upset and wonder why the employee just doesn’t get it. However, the real problem may be that we failed to get the employee to recognize and agree that they need to improve and change.  Unfortunately, it happens all the time.

In this session, you will learn why gaining employee agreement that a performance issue exists is the most crucial step in the coaching process. You also will learn how to accomplish the step without making the situation worse by chewing out, taking to task, or threatening the person to improve their performance.

Attendees will learn

  • What coaching is – and what it is not.
  • The difference between problem-solving and performance improvement coaching.
  • A 7-step process for coaching any performance improvement meeting.
  • The importance of exploring consequences to gain employee agreement.
  • How to keep the conversation a dialogue. 

Who should attend

  • Training and HR professionals
  • Independent consultants
  • Managers delivering training 


  • [Training Resource] The Coaching Skills Inventory training assessment and workshop from Take 15% off your purchase of this training product when you use code HFY8734R8 at checkout.



Ken Phillips delivers all programs and workshops in his signature style: professional, engaging, and approachable.

Ken is the founder and CEO of Phillips Associates and the creator and chief architect of the Predictive Learning Analytics™ (PLA) learning evaluation methodology. He has more than 30-years’ experience designing learning instruments and assessments and has authored more than a dozen published learning instruments. Ken also regularly speaks to Association for Talent Development (ATD) groups, university classes, and corporate L&D groups. Since 2008, he has presented at the ATD International Conference and since 2013 at the annual Training Conference and Expo on topics related to measurement and evaluation of learning.

Before pursuing a Ph.D. in the combined fields of organization behavior and educational administration at Northwestern University, Ken held management positions with two colleges and two national corporations. Also, he has written articles that have appeared in td magazine, Training Industry Magazine and Training Today, and is a contributing author to five books in the L&D field.

Ken earned the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP now CPTD) credential from ATD in 2006 as a pilot pioneer and recertified in 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018. Connect with Ken on LinkedIn.


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Seven Steps to Effective Coaching Meetings


Hi, everyone, and welcome to today’s webinar, Seven Steps to Effective Coaching Meetings, Hosted by HRDQ-U, and presented by Ken Phillips.


My name is Sarah, and I will moderate today’s webinar. The webinar will last around one hour. If you have any questions, please type them into the question area on your Go to Webinar control panel, and we’ll answer as many as we can during today’s session.


Today’s webinar is sponsored by HRDQ Assessment Center.


The Assessment Center consists of 38 online assessments that deliver soft skills training to transform your workforce.


HRDQ Assessments are informative and powerful learning tools for employees at all organizational levels, with the ability to complete assessments from any location on any device at any time.


Learn more at


Today’s session is based on the workshop and team assassinate coaching skills inventory available at


The Coaching Skills Inventory is your first step to effective coaching, and it’s designed to assess leader’s ability to use the skills needed for conducting effective coaching meetings. Contact HRDQ for more information.


I’m excited to introduce our presenter today, Ken Philips.


Ken delivers all programs and workshops and his signature style, professional, engaging, and approachable.


Ken is the Founder and CEO of Philips Associates.


And as the creator and Chief Architect, that predicted learning, learning analytics, Learning Evaluation methodology.


He has more than 30 years’ experience designing learning instruments and assessments and has authored more than 12 published learning instruments.


Can also regularly speaks to Association for Talent Development Groups, University classes, and corporate L&D groups.


Since 2008, he has presented at the ATD International Conference. And since 2013, the annual training conference and Expo on topics related to measurement and evaluation of learning.


Thank you for joining us today, Ken.


Hey, Sarah, thank you for that kind introduction. And, you know, I choke whenever I say, predictive learning analytics as well. So you shouldn’t feel bad about. that term. So who welcome everyone to the webinar.


I’m really glad you’re here, and I’m looking forward to sharing some information with you today about how to conduct effective coaching discussions.


Just two, give you a quick overview of the agenda. and what we’re going to focus on during our time together is, I want to begin by just providing some context. Because coaching means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.


And none of them are good or bad. I mean, they’re just, it’s just as, it’s a term that’s taken on a lot of different meetings in the last, you know, 25 years or so.


So I want to do just a little bit of positioning around coaching and in particular, focusing on what we’re talking about here in our session in terms of what we mean by coaching versus some of the other meanings that people have for coaching.


Then, we’re going to introduce you to A seven step coaching meeting process.


And we’re going to walk through the steps quickly. You just give you an overview of what the process looks like, and the steps involved. And I’ll say a few words about that.


But where we’re going to focus most of our time is going to be on step three of the coaching meeting process, or the coaching meeting model. And that’s all-around getting agreement to the performance issue. And we’re going to talk about later. It’s the step that is most often missed or done incorrectly, or not done thoroughly, by managers.


conducting coaching discussions with employees or team leaders, conducting coaching discussions with team members. So, is, we’re going to talk about, It’s the, in my mind, it’s the most critical step in the entire coaching process.


if you’re going to actually positively influence people’s performance or behavior on the job.


So, that’s where we’re going to focus our effort, then, the item below that, about keeping the discussion. A dialog, is really all about, more about the process of getting agreement.


Because it’s, it’s not enough to just understand the, the, the theory behind, you know, the getting agreement. But it’s also being able to, and this is kind of the art of conducting a good coaching discussion.


Being able to keep that discussion, a dialog, and not let it, you revert into a monolog, whereas the team leader or the manager, you’re doing all the talking.


Because there’s lot of some interesting research that was done a few years ago that found in a effective coaching discussions that the manager or the supervisor or the team leader only talks about 65% of the time and the other, The other 35% of the time, they’re asking questions, listening, responding to things that the employee, or the team members, say, and so on.


So, that’s why we’re gonna really hone in on the importance of keeping that, that dialog and discussion.


And then the last thing is, I’m going to try to move along quickly, so that we can have a little bit of time at the end to answer questions. So that’s, that’s where we’re headed.


So let’s talk about coaching.


You know, 25 years ago, the term coaching meant one thing.


And that is, if you were a coach, you were probably an athletic coach, right?


In coach baseball, or your coach football, or swimming or tennis or golf or whatever, so coaching that term has existed for a long time, but but as I said 25 years ago, it had a single meaning and was referring to athletic coaches, but what’s happened is in the last 20, 25 years coaching has really mushroomed into an occupation that encompasses not just athletic coaches, but as you can see here on the slide. there are people who, you know, position themselves as executive coaches.


There are people who are life coaches. There are career coaches.


There are health coaches, there are business coaches.


And there are sales coaches. So, almost any aspect of your life that you want to have coaching in, you can probably find somebody that does coaching. So, so, coaching is really, as now, really means, to me, means to many people. Anyway. It’s an occupation, so that’s how they’re defining coaching is it’s an I’m a coach. That’s my occupation.


The other way that coaching has gets used a lot these days, is as a style of management.


This came about all back probably, I don’t know, 20 years ago or so when Ken Blanchard came and published his, all his research and workaround.


The is that the, I’m trying to think of the, the, the like, oh, I’m black and I’m the name.


The, his, his, his, whatever it was, his, he had a name for it. And so that part of the one of the steps of situational leadership, he published his work on situational leadership.


So, one of the one of the things that he talked about in the situational leadership model in the four quadrants was that coaching was one of the four quadrants. So there was directing, coaching, supporting, and delegating. So, for a lot of people, coaching became a style of management.


In addition to a, an occupation.


And then, coaching also, even more recently, has become and related to, or defined as a problem-solving discussion directed towards improving some aspect of an employee’s performance. So it’s something that goes on between a manager or a team leader or a supervisor and an employee or team member. And the whole focus of the discussion is trying to improve some aspect of the employee’s work performance.


So, the reason for talking about these different types of coaching is because if you’re engaged in a conversation with someone who says, well, I do coaching. You may want to peel the onion a little bit to find out exactly what they mean by the term coaching. Because nowadays, it has multiple meanings, and it implies very different things depending on what meaning you attached to the word coaching.


The way we’re going to talk about coaching, today, is going to be part, as part of the, the performance management process.


So, as you see, the model on the right, that’s a typical performance management. process model, starts at the bottom, where, around, where the performance year begins, around clarifying expectations, so, we need to get some agreement around, you know, what’s expected, at the beginning of the year, and then, during the year.


What happens is, we provide people feedback, positive feedback, to reinforce things. They’ve done well corrective feedback, to get them back on track if they’ve veered off the Bat if the feedback wasn’t successful and, and we may then escalate the discussion to a coaching meeting.


And so coaching becomes part of this process as well. There’s a couple other boxes in here that you might see included in a performance management process model as well, one would be an interim appraisal in addition to the end of the year appraisals so that would be another part of the performance management process.


And another one that is typically included with lots of in a number of organizations is that if the coaching isn’t successful, then what they do is have another box called formal discipline. So, there’s a discipline discussion, which is different from a coaching discussion, which is different from feedback. So, there’s all these different kinds of performance improvement discussions that go on between a manager and the employees or a team leader and the team members that occur during the performance year.


So, performance management coaching, the type we’re going to be talking about for the rest of the day, is an interpersonal process that goes on between a manager and employee or a team leader and a team member.


So, that’s what we’re going to be focusing on, is that kind of coaching.


So, a couple of other things to talk about in terms of distinguishing. Coaching from some of the other parts of the performance management process, and how coaching differs from feedback. Because a lot of people use those terms interchangeably, and in that performance management process, they really do suggest different kinds of activities.


So when we’re talking about performance management, coaching is different from feedback in a couple of different ways. one is, feedback tends to be event, or situation driven. You know, something happens, either something, you know, the employer or the team member did something well, or they didn’t do something well. And, so, we provide them with feedback, positive feedback to reinforce what they’ve done or corrective feedback, to get them back on track if what they’ve done wasn’t what was expected. So, it tends to be more event or situation driven. It also tends to be much more informal, so feedback can be done almost any time in any place. And so, it doesn’t require a formal meeting. It doesn’t necessarily even take a lot of time.


I’m talking about, you know, matters of minutes or less, to provide someone with feedback, but that’s different from performance management coaching, which tends to focus on patterns of behavior, and requires a formal meeting. So, patterns of behavior are things that the employee has done over and over and over again.


Now, we’ve may have provided the employee with feedback, during this time, to try to get them back on track with the, you know, with, with, their performance, but that, the feedback may have temporarily work, but they revert back to their old ways. And so, what we are looking at, is a pattern of behavior, something that occurs over time, regularly, over time. And we’ve found that feedback hasn’t been effective at correcting that.


So we’re gonna take the, take it up a level, and we’re gonna do a coaching discussion, and typically because of the amount of time involved, and so on in a coaching discussion. They’re not done anytime, anyplace, but they they’re really formal meetings where we schedule some time with the employee or the team member to sit down and actually talk about whatever the topic is.


So, that’s how performance management coaching differs from feedback. It’s also important to keep in mind that performance management coaching and the way we’re talking about here, it’s not chewing somebody out, taking somebody to task or threatening an employee.


Um, because what happens when you do that, if you think that’s coaching, what happens is the end result, Oftentimes, then, after that discussion, if you, if the employee perceived it as, you know, being taken to task, or just chewed out, or or threatening the, what happens is the results tend to be or oftentimes end up being worse than the initial reason we got the coaching discussion.


So, because what happens with a lot of employees is they end up adopting the attitude of kind of like a passive aggressive thing, where they are outwardly submissive so that they seem to be going along with things. But inwardly, they are rebellious. So, they what they do. Is they end up doing only exactly what it is? You ask them to do nothing more.


Nothing less, and in terms of, you know, employee engagement and all those kinds of things. They’re not engaged because they’re just doing the bare minimum. That was, that that’s required based on what it is that you want them to do.


So don’t confuse performance management coaching with taking somebody to task. Now, if you have a perform, if you have a performance management model that has formal discipline. So, that starts to get into this, although even in formal discipline discussions, you certainly would hope that it doesn’t end up as with the employees seeing, you know, feeling like they’ve been chewed out or taking the task, I guess, there’s, hard, it’s hard to miss the threat. Because, if you’re doing formal discipline, you’re simply saying, I mean, you’re saying the employee. Look, if this doesn’t change, or you don’t correct this, or improve this, here’s what’s going to happen to you. So, in that sense, it is really a threat.


But that’s not what we’re talking about for poor performance management coaching.


So, couple of guidelines here. So, performance management coaching, the kind we’re talking about, should only take place.


After an employee clearly understands what’s expected.


And also, has received feedback, at least once, about the performance issue.


And no, that’s, these are guidelines to keep, to help you keep, in mind when coaching is appropriate, because, before doing a coaching discussion, certainly one of the things you ought to take a second to reflect on, is just make sure, be sure that you’re certain that you have clarified what the expectations are with the particular employee. Because if, if you haven’t done that clearly.


Then, what you ought to do is, instead of doing a coaching meeting, just have a, an expectations discussion with the employee, it takes a lot less time and, you know, is a lot less involved. So why get into a coaching discussion when if you really just spend some time clarifying exactly what was expected, that, if that would solve the problem, and then also the same thing about receiving feedback. Ideally, you’d want to have provided the employee feedback at least once.


I will say, you know, there are, so a few exceptions to that. one would be, I worked with an organization.


It was a chemical manufacturing company. So, the, the, they were providing their supervisors and managers, with no coaching skills on how to conduct coaching meetings.


And so, one of the guidelines that they had in place, was around safety. And they said, any safety incidents that occurred in any of the chemical plants were automatically escalated to coaching and not dealt with, with feedback. Now, other things would be dealt.


First, with feedback, before going to coaching.


But they were so focused on avoiding accidents because of the potential no problems associated with those that they wanted to make sure that if any incident safety incident happened at all, we’re going to escalate it right to a coaching meeting and not even attempt to just use feedback first.


Make sure that you’ve, under the employee, understands what’s expected. Make sure that they’ve received feedback at least once, in most cases.


And then, performance management coaching also follows a systematic, logical, inter, inter-dependent, repeatable, step process. So that’s what we’re going to going to talk about next.


So here’s the seven step coaching meeting process that we’re talking about here.


So you can see it starts with building a relationship with mutual trust, opening the meeting, getting agreement, exploring alternatives, getting a commitment to act, handling excuses, and closing the meeting. two things I want to say about the steps here. Number one, building a relationship of mutual trust isn’t a separate step, as it’s kind of implied here with this slide, because building a relationship of mutual trust is the foundation around which the coaching meeting is, is conducted. So what we’re trying to do in a coaching meeting is improve the employee, or team members, performance, or behavior, while continuing to build mutual trust, So we’re not trying to do one at the expense of the other. So, think of the relationship of mutual trust, that’s really the foundation underneath these, these other coaching steps that are here.


And the one we’re going to focus on, as I mentioned earlier, today, is step number three, getting agreement.


Because it is the step that’s the most crucial in being able to have a positive coaching discussion and get the results that you’re trying to achieve in terms of changing or improving the employees or team members, behavior, and trying to maintain that level of mutual trust.


So, here’s a quick poll around getting agreement. So, Sarah is going to launch this, and we’ll see, this is actual item from the, The Coaching Skills Inventory.


So, which one of these do you think would be the best Response, given the situation, it’s described at the top.


So you can check, describe the facts, present the issue, present the issue, and discuss the viable solutions, specify the issue and state expectations, and so on. So, just pick one.


Yes, we’ll give everyone a few moments here to submit their answer.


OK, great, and I will share those results now, OK, thank you, Sarah.


So, we have said that they would describe the facts of the issue and suggest ways to resolve it.


56% said, Present the issue and asked the employee about their thoughts, 17% would discuss viable solutions, and 23%, 23%, would specify the issue state expectations, and asked if they agree.


OK, good, so. Yeah, so there’s not, there aren’t any incorrect answers here, there are just some answers that are better than others in terms of the coaching process and what we’re trying to accomplish, particularly with the step of getting agreement.


And in this case, the most effective response, not, not the best response, but the most effective response, in terms of moving the coaching meeting along.


And achieving what we hoped to achieve in terms of correcting, or improving someone’s behavior, would be D to specify the issue, state the expectations, and ask if the employee or team member agrees that the, these did this difference between what they’re doing, and what the expectations are.


If they agree that that’s, and an issue that needs to be resolved, or a problem that needs to be corrected.


So, I gotta get over here.


Let’s see, yep.


Yeah, kinda reflect. There you go. Perfect.


So let’s talk a little bit more about getting agreement.


So it’s the most critical step in the coaching process.


And the other thing is, that, without it, without getting the employee to agree that this is an issue, or, or something that needs to be corrected, or improve or changed, there’s little likelihood that, that the, any change or improvement in the employee, or team members behavior is going to be permanent. Because we need to, we need to get that, that agreement from the employee.


So an extreme example with of this would be, for the extreme example of the getting agreement piece would be for the Alcoholics Anonymous, for example, when they have AA meetings and, you know, people come to the AA meetings and they ask, you know, the attendees to stand up and to say their name, and to say, Yes, I’m an alcoholic.


So what they’re doing is, they’re, they’re getting the, the people that come to these AA meetings to acknowledge the fact that they understand that there’s an issue that they need to address. And that’s why they’re at the meeting.


So we’re obviously not doing, We’re not, we’re not asking the employee, or the team member to stand up, and raise, know their hand, and say, You know, Yeah, OK, I am going to, I’m an alcoholic, we’re not asking him to do that. But the concept or the methodology behind it, is, you know, is, is similar. Because we need to get the agreement. If we’re gonna get, we’re gonna get permanent change.


Now, there’s four reasons that managers fail at this step.


Typically, when, when they don’t do this step well, there for reasons that seem to summarize, you know, why they have difficulty with the step. Number one reason is that they assume they assume the employee, or the team member sees the situation the same way that they do.


In other words, if they see all the negative consequences and all the problems that this causes and so on, and that’s not necessarily a valid assumption.


So, oftentimes, and we’ll see here in a minute, we’ll talk about this, is the team member, or the employee, they’re not totally unaware of, you know, the negative consequences, and the negative things, their behavior, or performance make creator. Cause, but they see more positive reasons for continuing their behavior, then they see negative consequences associated with the act. That’s not the way we, as managers, or team leaders, however, view of these situations, we see the exact opposite. We see a lot more, we might not see any positive reasons for the behavior, but we see certainly see all the negative things. So we assume that the employee, or the team member also sees they seize these same things.


And don’t assume that they avoid, so a lot of managers, team leaders, they just, they’re, they’re uncomfortable holding these discussions and uncomfortable, you know, trying to get the employee to say, OK, yeah, I recognize this is something that needs to be changed or corrected, and so they just avoid the discussions altogether.


And, and they hope that, you know, somewhere along the line, the employee is gonna see the light, Are the team members going to see the like, and then figure out that they should be doing things differently.


Once in a while, that happens, but not often. Third, third reason that they fail to get agreement is that they simply just generalize about the performance issue.


So, instead of coming in with, with, with specific facts and information about what’s happened in, over what period of time and how often and all that, they just kinda generalize about the, about the performance issue and consequently, what happens is, the employer or a team member, when it’s when they’re just when they have that information that shouldn’t just been generalized. They may not see their performance or behavior, any as being any different from any of the other people that they work with.


And so, again, they don’t get the managers or team leaders will fail to get agreement when they just use general statements. The last 1 is 1 that is my little take on what, what, happens here. I call it the right string wrong.


Yo yo effect, and so what happens with a lot of managers, is that they, when they think when they think about trying to gain agreement around the issue, what they try to gain agreement around, are all the things that have led up to this coaching meeting. All the things that happened, that led up to the coaching meetings. So how many times the person was like to work, or how many times they turned in late reports, over how many, over what period of time, and so on. And so what they’re, what they’re emphasizing is, do you, as the employer, the team member, agree that you’ve turned in five late reports, or that you’ve been late to work, you know, five times over and during the last two weeks.


And that’s getting agreement wrong around the wrong issue, because what we want to get agreement around is that, showing up late to work, turning in late reports, whatever the issue is, that that is what’s causing performance issues, or performance problems, and has negative consequences. We don’t care whether it was, you know, five times, eight, times, six times, whatever it is. We’re not trying to focus in on the events that led up to the coaching discussion.


We want to focus in on changing the employee or the team member’s behavior and understanding what happens when, you know, turn inlaid reports show up to work late.


Spend lots of time, you know, on personal phone calls, whatever it might be.


So, to get agreement, what you want to do, two things.


one is start by taking a clear mental picture, that there’s a difference between what’s expected, and what the employee, or the team members is doing. So we want to, we’re going, going back to that performance management model. We’re going back and painting the clear picture. Here’s what we talked about at the beginning of the year. Here was, what was it, what was expected? Here’s what you’ve been doing, and can you see that there’s a difference here?


So that’s painting that clear mental picture.


And then the second thing we want to do, then, is to help the employee understand the negative consequences associated with his or her behavior.


And so those are the two parts that we’re going to focus on for the remainder here of our time, on how to do these two pieces, so that you can get agreement, but do that while continuing to maintain or build mutual trust.


So, a painting, a clear mental picture.


The employee really needs to visualize and understand that there’s a difference between what they’re doing and what’s expected, and we need to provide them with specific facts, and numbers, and, and data about their performance. So before you do a coaching discussion, you can’t just, you know, do it, just kind of off the cuff. But you really will need to take some time to collect some data so that when you go talk, when you have a discussion, you’re able to provide specific numbers, facts, and so on.


And the, then what we want to do is, I said the other part would be then explaining what was, what your expectations were, what you talked about earlier, in terms of expectations. So, they see the difference between the two, and in part of this part of painting the clear mental picture, for the last bullet point here, about what others are doing, by comparison, what I’m not suggesting you do here is you come, you compare, you know, one employee against another.


But, if you’re doing a coaching discussion around something, on that other people, other employees, or other team members occasionally do as well, for example, the case and we they turn in late reports occasionally. They show up to work late. You know, occasionally they maybe spend too much time on personal phone calls. There’s a whole bunch of things that happen out there that other people do as well. And so what we, if we were dealing with an issue like that, part of what we may want to include in painting the clear mental picture is, here’s what’s happened. Here’s what’s expected. And also, the reason we’re talking about this is because your, your performance or behavior is different from the rest of the employees or the rest of the team members. Because I recognize, and you recognize that, you know, it happens to everybody. But we’re talking about it, because it’s happening way more often with you, and it is with the other team members or other employees, that’s why it’s an issue.


So when you’re dealing with, with those kinds of things that happen occasionally happen to everybody, you may also want to include that picture about what others are doing.


Again, not Sally versus, you know, the Joe or anybody, it’s not, we’re not talking about one person versus another, we’re talking about comparing your behavior or performance against the group.


So here’s just an example of the, you know, there are a lot of different ways you can say this, but this was just a just an example of, you know, how you would do the opening discussion and talk about the painting that metal got clear mental picture.


So I’m not sure you’ve been keeping track, but here’s what’s happened over the past two months: you’re out three out of your last four reports have been late, and they’d been late from, you know, from anywhere from 1 to 3 days.


I also thought, you know, because we talked about this previously, that I’ve made it clear that my expectation is that all reports no need to be turned in on time.


And so, can you see how this isn’t problem? You don’t have to use the word problem Can you see, how this is an issue that we need? It needs to be corrected. Can you see? how this is a problem? Can you see how? this is something? We need to work on. So, however, you want to phrase that. So the wording, basically, you want to get the parts in there.


The exact words can be words you’re comfortable with, but you’ve got the three.


You got to do the, the three things, and here’s what’s happened. Here’s what, here’s what my expectations are. And can you see how this is something we need to focus on?


Now, if you’ve got a situation, for example, where you’ve gone through there, maybe you’ve done that. You’ve gone through and, and, and painted a clear mental picture. And the employee says, when you ask the question, can you see how this is something we need to correct or improve, or change, or problem? We need to solve whatever words you’ve used?


And the employee says, Yeah, OK, I guess, no, now that I think about it, now that we’ve talked about it again, I guess I can see how this is something we, that I probably need to correct. If you think that the employee then has agreed, you don’t have to go to clarifying consequences. Because what will happen is, I mean, you will find out then, you know, after the employee goes back on the job, and if, whether or not these situations, you know, come up again.


But, if, if they do, then you are, you have evidence that what’s happened is, you didn’t, regardless of what the employee had said, after you painted the clear mental picture, you didn’t get agreement. There was still something that got in the way and prevented the employee from completely agreeing.


So, here’s a little situation where we might lead to clarify and consequences that was the second part of the getting agreement. So, an employee for the past several months, it’s been turning inlay reports. You’ve given feedback to the employee and three previous occasions.


And each time, things got better, for a short time.


And then the report started arriving late again. And maybe you even had a coaching discussion and stopped with just painting the clear mental picture, because the employee appeared to agree that, yes, that this was an issue that need corrected it needed correcting.


So this time around, we’re not going to stop with just the clear mental picture.


But we want to get into the discussion of consequences to help them understand what happens every time they do this thing that you’re trying to correct. So, thinking about clarifying consequences.


Um, it’s important to understand that the employee probably is fully aware of some negative consequences associated with their behavior because, you know, you’ve given them feedback, constructive feedback. You’ve maybe done the coaching discussion. So, there’s, there are aware that, you know, there are some negative consequences associated with what they’re doing. But, when you see this kind of pattern of behavior occurring over and over and over again where maybe they, they correct the situation.


For a shorter amount of time, revert back, you can be almost certain, that the reason that that continues to happen is because they see more positive consequences associated with their behavior. Then they see negative consequences associated with the act. In other words, they see more positive reasons to continue doing what they’re doing.


Then they see negative consequences associated with it.


So, and so that, that’s almost for certain as is happening here.


So imagine, the way to imagine this and think about this, is, imagine the employee, performance problem is a balanced scale, and it’s currently tilted towards the side of positive consequences. They see more positive reasons to continue doing what they’re doing. Then they see negative consequences associated with the Act.


So what will happen is, when we run into these patterns of behavior, most people, there might be a few exceptions but most people generally do things that they perceive to be in their own best interests. So they don’t do a lot of things that they don’t perceive to be in their own best interest. That’s not, that’s not normal for most people, if they see what they’re doing is getting in the way and that, you know, not in their best interests, that are going to change.


And so when you see these patterns of behavior, you can imagine this, the Balanced scale, where it’s tilted more towards the positive consequences that they see associated with what they’re doing. And they don’t recognize all the negative consequences associated with the Act. So we need to help them understand that, so we’re going to try to tilt the scale.


So that’s what your task is here in this discussion of consequences is to tilt the scales.


So the employee sees more negatives, positives associated with the behavior, and it’s not just simply a matter of identifying more negative than positive consequences. You know, so you’re, you’re trying to keep track of how many positive things the employee sees and try to tilt the scale by, you know, coming up with at least 1 more -1.


It’s not just a matter of numbers, because what happens is that some consequences are viewed as more negative than others, and more important to know the employee or the team member than others. And so, it’s not just a matter of numbers. It’s really thinking about consequences in this life that there are, in terms of negative consequences.


That those kinds of consequences that you engage the employee where you’re gonna help to tilt. The scale most quickly, will be negative consequences that the employee views as certain to happen.


And that are also going to happen immediately after the event. So, those carry more weight, so the kinds of things that are certain and more and more eminent carry more weight than things. That are less certain. And are going to happen way down the line. For example, talking to an employee about, well, if you don’t, you know, improve your performance in this area. What’s going to happen Is, it’s probably going to, it’s going to affect your performance review, you know, when we do those at the end of the year.


Well, if I’m the employee, I’m thinking, well, you know, maybe I’m not certain That’s going to happen because I do a lot of other things in my job.


And so I’m not sure that this one particular thing is, you know, necessarily going to going to hamper my performance review in any significant way. And besides that, it’s months down the road. It’s not something that’s going to happen immediately.


So, the kinds of consequences you want to try to address and draw out and contribute are those that are certain and those that are going to happen more.


Reddit or or more immediately. And then there’s two other types of negative consequences to keep in mind during this consequence’s discussion and that’s the difference between natural re-occurring consequences and imposed consequences.


So, natural re-occurring consequences are those that happen naturally they happen every time the employer team member does this. It’s just a natural outcome. Like, turning in late reports, what happens is, as the manager or a team leader, what happens is, I’ve got to do my report and know and pass it up to my boss, And it. And, you know, by you, turning in your reports late, a natural recurring consequence, I can’t get my reply. Can’t start working on my report. Right away, because I don’t have your input and your report. And so, it delays me and being able to send up.


I know that my report to my boss. So, that’s a natural re-occurring consequence impose consequences. Are those things as the manager or team leader? You are going to impose on the employee if things don’t change or get better.


And you have to be, if you’re going to, if you’re going to suggest that there are some posed that there are some impose consequences that are likely to happen.


You’ve got to be willing to pull the trigger and implement those.


If, in fact, the employee doesn’t change his or her behavior because otherwise, that just becomes a lot of talk.


So don’t, don’t put out any imposed consequences that you’re not willing to carry out.


Because if you aren’t going to carry it out, then there’s a chance that they may call your bluff.


So, you want to get to achieve the agreement, you want to identify the natural re-occurring consequences. First. Those are the easiest ones to talk about because they happen naturally.


They also happen to tend to happen most immediately, because they, these things happen every time. You know, this behavior or performance occurs.


And then if you’re not able to get agreement around the issue by talking about natural re-occurring consequences, then what we can do is then get into the imposed area. But we want to keep the imposed consequences in your back pocket. Don’t bring those things out right from the get-go because they’re the most threatening.


And what happens, again, just like we talked about earlier, you know, what will likely happen is you get a negative reaction from the employee, they get defensive, and so now they’re gonna do the, you know, outwardly, submissive, inwardly rebellious behaviors. So you want to save those for the absolute last.


Also, you want to have this be a dialog, not a monolog, because that’s the other problem that a lot of managers have is they get in there and they spend all their time listing all the consequences. Because as a manager and team leader, yeah, I’m aware. All kinds of negative consequences, but you don’t want to do that.


Again, remember I said earlier, the effective coaching discussions, the manager or team leader, only talks about 65% of the time. So you gotta keep this a dialog, not a monolog.


And then also, because it’s not always obvious when the scale was tilted, what you want to do is periodically after you’ve talked about a couple of, and identified a couple of consequences, then ask you to say, OK. So now we’ve talked about this week.


You know, we, we, we’ve, we’ve talked about these two additional consequences here. So do you now see this as something that needs to be improved, or corrected, and so on? So what we’re doing is we’re just, again, trying to sense where the employee is.


And what we do not want to do, is to leave this discussion until we get the employee to say, yes, I’m the alcoholic without using that as extreme example.


Now also in the there’s a handout or an article that you can download.


That’s that I’ve written back a few years ago around. Getting agreement is called the Achilles heel of coaching and at the back of that, the article will go through all these things we’ve talked about here today.


But the other thing that we’ll give you in the back of the article is a sample dialog of what it looks like between a manager and an employee going through the painting the clear mental picture, and then going into the discussion of consequences. And then finally, getting to the point where we’ve got the employee to agree.


And so it’ll take you through that and you’ll see the scales start to tilt and all that.


So it’ll be it’s a, it’s a good dialog to take a look at and review to get a better idea of how you need to execute this particular step and keep it a dialog and not a monolog.


So we’re just back here to the seven steps, again. And so what I wanted to say about the about the seven steps is this is the first webinar I’m doing for HRDQ, and I’ve got another one that I’m going to do in December that is going to focus in on Steps 2, 3 and 4. And it’s small. It’s all around how to coach and coach, how to coach and get commitment, not just compliance.


So what we’ll do is, we’ll quickly review the, the getting agreement step that we’ve just gone through today. But then, we’re also going to include the exploring alternatives and getting a commitment to AAC, because it’s those three that we really need to be effective at, at, at executing, if we’re really going to get people to change their behavior permanently.


So, a quick summary: Getting agreement, most critical step in the coaching process, we’ve said that. And so, to get agreement, as a manager or team leader, you need to paint that clear mental picture.


Using specifics, if there’s a difference between what the employee or team members doing, what’s expected, and then get the employees, particularly when it’s a pattern of behavior, Get the employee to understand the negative consequences associated with the, the performance issue.


Actually, you, Sarah.


Yes, and to that, we will open it up for questions. So, if you have any questions, just type them into the question area on your control panel, and we’ll take a few minutes here to answer some of those today.


Can the first question we have come through? It’s for Charles, and Charles would like to know how to managers become more comfortable having accountability conversations?


Um, yeah, that’s a great question and I think it’s, uh, practice, practice, practice.


So, you know, if you’re doing training, you might, you know, put them through a training program to help them with that, where they have a chance to roleplay. In practice, that.


even that, depending on the managers are, if they are key managers that are responsible for, you know, critical departments in the organization, You might even just do some one-on-one coaching with them, you know, where you just get some time to sit down and practice and one-on-one. And to go through how to, how to hold those discussions, and to get comfortable with with doing it, You know, it’s, it’s, like anything: The more you do it, the better you get at it, and the more comfortable you become.


So, but, but, yeah, so those are two suggestions would be your training, one-on-one coaching.


And then I guess the other one would be after you’ve done all that.


You might also follow up, then, with a job aid that they can refer to and said, OK, if I’m going to do a coaching discussion, or have to talk to somebody about accountability, then here are the things I should know cover, so that they’ve got a reference that they can look at.


Great. And Danielle would like to know what the what’s the limit that an employee would have to cross before the issue becomes too much of a problem that the employee will have to be terminated?


Oh, that’s what, my Oh, yeah. That’s a great question. But, yeah, that’s in Some cases might be determined by the organization itself.


You know, depending on what the event is. That may be, as I said, we’re like that chemical company.


When there were any safety incidents, and that doesn’t even mean and as incidents means that just something was not done in a safe manner, doesn’t mean an accident occurred if an accident occurred. I mean, that might have been grounds for termination.


But that’s, that’s one of those things where you need to No, you need to spend some time talking. I suppose HR would be one place to go and talk to them about how they view these things or talk to the higher-level managers about it so that there’s some agreement around, OK, so how much of this stuff can we tolerate?


before we’re gonna pull the plug on this employ because what you don’t want to do, of course is end up, you know, pulling the plug on unemployed and then have them come back and be able to sue the organization and, you know, for unlawful discharge. So there’s, You know, there’s a lot of other issues, Iraq issues around that that you really need to spend some time clarifying before getting to that point.


Great. And this next question we have is, What’s the difference between coaching and managing? I thought coaching was more developmental and managing was more performance focused.


Um, yeah, that’s an interesting question.


I guess I, that might go back to when we talked about, you know, what the term coaching means and is it a, is it a style of management?


Um, or is it just something that a manager does?


Because I look at it is, you know, I’m a manager or supervisor or a team leader.


Then, part of my job is clarifying expectations, I go, because I go back to the performance management model, clarifying expectations, providing feedback, doing coaching. Doing interim reviews, performance reviews, during end of year reviews.


And so it’s all those pieces that make up that, make up that performance management process. So I, I see it.


I see coaching as part of the management process, as opposed to no coaching, being a synonym for management.


Great. Next question we have is from Pam. And Pam, I’d like to know if you have any tips for documenting and writing feedback and coaching sessions and coaching sessions as the wording and the documentation that’s important.


I’m sorry, what was the first part of it, Sarah? She would like to know if you have any tips for documenting feedback in writing.


Oh, if there’s any specific wording that a document should include.


Yeah, again, I guess it, you know, I would, I would defer you to your HR department to find out if there is specific things there. They need.


In other words, if somebody does Sue you, or soothes the company, then, you know, what kind of evidence would, what do you need to be able to present?


That would clearly show that, yes, I had this, I gave feedback on this date, here’s what we talked about, et cetera, et cetera.


So I would find out from HR what particular things they are looking for, Because, I mean, obviously, you want to keep track of the date when you talk to the person at the time, what she talked about.


So, you’ve got to have some notes around that, but there may be other things that HR will want to have you capture as well.


So, I would, I would, I would go talk to them.


Great, and this question is from Charles and Charles would like to know, how do we, as managers, figure out if the missed expectation is an ability issue or a motivation issue?


Um, yeah, that’s an interesting.


Yeah, there’s, I heard somebody else talk about, know, the wizard will or skill, you know, is it where we know will, is, you know, they could do it, if they wanted to, they’re just not skill, is they simply don’t know how to do it. That’s that.


That should come out in the discussion, like when you are doing the feedback, when you provide somebody with feedback, and maybe you don’t want to escalate the conversation into a whole coaching discussion, but just have a conversation around, you know, what’s happened and why this, why this comes up? And is it a will or a skill issue. Is that you know that you know what’s to be done, what has to be done, or what should be done. And you just simply, you know, aren’t doing it.


Or is it a skill issue where, you know, you just don’t know how to do it? And if you were given some training or information about how to do it, then you would immediately start doing it.


So, it’s, it’s really having a discussion with the employee around that to try to make that distinction of the will versus the skill.


Great. And this question is from Jeffrey, and he would like to know, is it helpful to give names of specific instances when holding the discussion for agreement?


I’m sorry, name giving names of.


Is it helpful to give names and specific instances?


No, I would avoid that.


I, if I’m understanding your question correctly, I I would talk about, I would talk about how the, the employee or the team members’ performance differs from the group.


But I wouldn’t talk about specific people.


So you could say, Here’s what you’re doing, here’s what the group has done, and that there’s a difference between the group, and, and you, and that’s why we’re talking about this. Because if you were the same, if you were doing the same thing that the rest of the people in the group were, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Because I wouldn’t be singling you out.


And whilst I was going to talk to everybody about this. So I think that’s the important thing to think about.


Great, And I think we have time here for two more questions. And this question comes from Kyle and Kyle asked, should coaching be an as needed process, or should it be mandatory?


No, I would, the way I look at coaching, I see it as an aed needed process.


Um, and because it would be driven by patterns of behavior.


So we’ve got an employee or a team member who demonstrates this pattern of behavior, which, you know, is not what we’re not, we’re not. What’s expected.


And so what we want to do is to then address that situation to try to get it corrected, and so I Wouldn’t, I Wouldn’t want to use coaching, not the way I taught, think about coaching in terms of their performance management process. I wouldn’t want to use coaching as a mandatory thing that you’ve gotta do every, Every, you know, every month or every quarter. If you’re going to, If you’re going to do something like that. I’m not saying don’t do that, but I wouldn’t call it a coaching discussion.


You know, that just, in my own mind, to separate out what those discussions are, from what I’m talking about, when we talk about coaching.


So, that’s not a bad idea to have those kinds of meetings, but I guess, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t call that coaching.


Great. And for the final question today, coming from Heather, she would like to know: What if an employee becomes highly argumentative during a coaching meeting?




I, uh, yeah, I would say, if you can’t get them beyond that, and it’s real clear, that they’re really, you know, locked into that, I would just at that point, I would, I would close the meeting and say, look, you know, we’re not getting anywhere with this discussion the way it’s going right now. So, here’s what I’m going to suggest. Why don’t we both?


No. Let’s just after the meeting. Let’s just, you know separate here, go back and think about, you know, the issue and what we’ve talked about this, up to this point. And then we’ll come back, I’ll contact you again, you know, in another day or two days, or whatever it is. I’m gonna contact you again. We’ll set up another time to talk, to continue to talk about this after we’ve had a chance to reflect on it.


So that doesn’t guarantee they’re not going to come back again argumentative but at least it gives them some time to separate from you know, the immediate situation. But what you gotta do is you gotta make sure you follow up then and scan and schedule that next meeting.


So, but yeah. But, but no sense.


If you get somebody that’s locked in and really angry, you’re, it’s hard to get through that and then try to continue to maintain mutual trust, so, and probably it’s going to hook you and get you angry as well, so I stop the meeting, reschedule it.


Great. That will conclude the Q&A for today’s session. Today’s sponsor was the Assessment Center from HRDQ, providers of informative and powerful learning tools online, anywhere, anytime. Learn more at, that is all the time that we have for today. Thank you for joining us today.


Thank you, Sarah. Thank you, everybody. I’m glad you were here.


And read the article. You’ll find some good information in there.


Yes, thank you all for participating in today’s webinar Training.

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