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Employee coaching

Employee coaching for performance happens when a manager helps an employee achieve his or her performance objectives. The manager can help set or stretch the performance goals, but the goals must be accepted by the employee.

Once the goals are clear, the starting point for coaching is a shared understanding of the employee’s strengths and weaknesses and how they can contribute to or detract from future success.

Then, working together, the manager and employee create a plan that develops a set of skills for the task, including its challenges and performance expectations.

The employee commits to the actions. The manager coaches the employee to the commitments he or she has made. The time of the manager is valuable, so the employee earns that time by keeping his or her commitments.

The process includes observation, questioning and adjustments as well as taking time to celebrate successes and learn from setbacks. Open, two-way communication is critical.

More about employee coaching

Mentoring is different from coaching in that it is not focused on developing a unique set of skills for a task. Instead, it is about guiding someone who is stepping into a new role to avoid pitfalls and to share the knowledge and experience of the mentor. It is a transfer of life experience to guide development of an employee’s skills. It plays an important role when people are being groomed for succession. In small businesses, both coaching and mentoring can come from the same person.

Useful resources


Employee performance management: Use the SMART approach

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Employee evaluations: 9 tips for more effective performance evaluations

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