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Nine Rules for Coaching Your Employees

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Many employees work independently in self-directed teams. Managers not only have the responsibility to direct their activities, but they must work with each to assure maximum performance. This means they must actively work with each member, observing, providing feedback and instructing him or her how to correct negative behaviors and strengthen weak skills.

The manager who solely directs and manages his or her team fails to get maximum results from them. Effective managers are motivators focused on assisting each employee to achieve maximum performance and results. This is achieved through the use of effective coaching techniques.

This is important to the manager because as a coach, he or she will recognize negative behaviors that hinder personal performance. The responsibility of effective coaches is not to admonish, but to improve the individual employee. In this manner, these behaviors are corrected and performance is enhanced.

There are specific coaching rules that managers must employ to become effective coaches. These rules are:

Provide a Good Example

Before managers can be effective coaches, they must set a good example for the employees they are supervising. Nothing undermines effective coaching faster than instructing subordinates on how to improve themselves when the coach fails to follow his or her own advice. This only destroys any credibility they may have established.

Be Persistent

Coaches have to be persistent in their efforts to change a negative behavior or to strengthen a weak skill area in an employee. In education it takes over 25 repetitions of proper behavior to overcome one response to a simple negative habit or behavior. Therefore, coaches must have the patience and persistence to work with an employee to correct and reinforce proper behaviors and skills.

Avoid Judgments

When coaches are judgmental of negative or weak behaviors, they put the coached employee on the defensive. This defeats the purpose of coaching as the employee will immediately be resistant to any efforts to correct or polish his or her skills out of fear of being criticized, undermined or intimidated.

Do Not Patronize

Patronizing an employee is a demeaning form of condescension. Employees should be treated as professionals and then they will perform and achieve as such. They are responsible for producing results, and they should be held accountable for their personal performance.

Elicit Advice and Ideas

Managers as coaches are providing feedback focused on altering a behavior or improving a skill. They need to clearly explain what they have observed and state their concerns. Once this has occurred, the employee should be encouraged to express how they feel about the feedback. This should be a discussion where advice and ideas are mutually exchanged.


Managers must understand that an employee’s performance and behaviors are a reflection of their life and experiences. Other outside influences can impact their performance. When coaching, managers must ask questions and listen for specific answers. They should encourage the employee to talk about all things that may concern them.


Conversations and messages can be easily misunderstood. Managers should paraphrase what they hear to ensure they clearly understand what the employee is saying. Paraphrasing prevents miscommunication, clears up misconceptions and creates a more comfortable atmosphere of respect and concern.

Be Accessible

Managers must always be accessible to their employees. Managers can alleviate an employee’s fears and anxieties by being available to listen, empathize, and provide support.

Develop Rapport

When managers are approachable, they openly share their experiences and empathize with their subordinates to understand their thoughts and ideas. Then they unite their goals and vision with them. This accessibility invites rapport that deepens the workplace relationship. When this occurs the stage is set to transition from active coaching into mentoring.

Excerpt: Coaching: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) $ 18.95 USD


Feedback is the Foundation of Effective Coaching

Supporting Employees’ Need to Achieve Maximum Results

Should Accountability Be a Primary Priority?

Assessing Employee Growth and Development

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2013 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

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