How to Coach Problem Employees
Coaching employees is an important step in boosting morale and improving productivity. It helps to create a partnership between management and the employee and fosters a mutual understanding of the organization’s goals and the employee’s role in achieving them. While most employees respond positively to coaching, there are inevitably going to be exceptions a few exceptions. Learning how to coach these employees will benefit both the company and the individual in the long run.
Traits of an Uncoachable Employee
Uncoachable employees display traits that run counter to your practice’s strategies and beliefs. They tend to oppose management and authority, lack accountability, display laziness, fail to take direction well, show extreme sensitivity, feel they are in the wrong job, and have little or no interest in advancing their career. Many have a history of failed coaching attempts. While resorting to disciplinary action – including potentially firing a problem employee – is always an option, it should be a last resort. After all, you’ve already invested time and money in your employee, and ultimately you wish to see them succeed. Before throwing in the towel, try a different approach.
Successful Coaching Techniques
Letting your employees know you care about their success is an important first step in a successful coaching approach. Let them know you are acting in their best interest and you’ll go a long way toward earning their trust – a key factor in opening a dialogue that can be used to address performance issues. Honesty is always the best policy.
Focus on managing the behavior, not the employee. Your attention should focus on correcting poor work behaviors rather than attempting to change an individual’s personality – that never works! Identify negative behaviors and work together to find ways to improve performance.
Develop a plan of action geared toward success. It’s human nature to fear and resist change, so when you’re looking to modify an individual’s behavior, hand the reins over to them. Putting the employee in control of his or her own success through a measurable action plan with clearly defined goals shows you trust them and takes away some of the uncertainty associated with change.
If all else fails, consider a new role for the employee. Sometimes despite your best attempts, coaching just doesn’t work. Rather than part ways with the employee, look at their strengths and move them into a position that is better suited for their skills. Sometimes new job duties are an excellent motivator. If all else fails, remember this: coaching isn’t always successful. Don’t take it personally if your best efforts fall short; sometimes, moving on is simply best for both parties.