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9 Steps to Effective Employee Coaching

April 22, 2015

By: Terri Williams

Employees are more likely to leave an organization when they don’t feel engaged and they’re not comfortable performing their job. That’s understandable because disengaged workers don’t feel like a part of the organization. And if they find their job difficult to perform, they won’t be confident in their abilities, and will likely be fearful that they could be disciplined, demoted, or even fired for poor job performance issues.

However, when managers provide effective  employee mentoring, training and coaching, employees become inspired, motivated, and confident. It’s an obvious win-win!

According to the Harvard Business Review, coaching helps employees and companies achieve the following: Overcome performance problems, Strengthen employee skills, Boost productivity levels, Develop talent, Make better use of resources, and Improve retention


Let’s take a look at the benefits of each one:


Overcome performance problems – By identifying areas that need improvement and providing training (which usually includes demonstrations), managers can help employees improve job performance.

Strengthen employee skills – Coaching provides an opportunity for employees to learn valuable skills that will make them more comfortable performing their jobs.

Boost productivity levels - Once employees become more efficient and proficient in performing tasks, they can assume more responsibilities, which increases their value to the organization.

Develop talent – Creating a pool of competent employees makes them more confident to seek leadership positions within the company.

Make better use of resources – Informal coaching is less expensive than formal training sessions.

Improve retention – Employees are more confident and feel more engaged. They’ve developed skills that can be used in career advancement, feel that their manager and the company support them, and experience pride and satisfaction in being competent to perform their job. As a result, they are more likely to be loyal to the company.

However, for coaching to be effective, it should be a well-thought-out process instead of something that is haphazardly conducted.

According to Scott Williams of the Raj Soin College of Business at Wright State University, there are several steps included in effective coaching:

1.  Put the employee at ease. This is a vital first step in the coaching session, especially if the coaching is a result of poor performance.

2.  Discover what the employee already knows. Once determined, this can serve as a foundation for new information, and also helps to correct any erroneous data that the employee may have.

3.  Present information or demonstrate work methods.

4.  Repeat the presentation of information or demonstrate the work methods again. Repetition increases the chances of understanding and retaining the information.

5.  Evaluate learning. Test the employee to determine if they understand the information that has been presented or if they can perform the skill as demonstrated.

6.  Provide feedback. Let the employee know if they have successfully learned what was presented. If not, go over what still needs some work.

7.  Correct. Provide or demonstrate the correct answers or procedure again.

8.  Evaluate job performance. Periodically check to see if they are correctly implementing the knowledge or methods. Smith recommends gradually increasing the time frame for checking on the employee, with the eventual goal for the employee to be able to monitor their own performance.

9.  Reward. The employee should be praised or given some other type of reward for mastering the area that required coaching.

Coaching vs. Counseling

Coaching is not the same as counseling. Wright says that “can’t do” problems require coaching, while “won’t do” problems require counseling. Won’t do problems refer to such issues as the employee’s attitude, or fears that may be preventing them from performing their task. In this case, counseling is the first step that must be taken to resolve the won’t do issues first before attempting to provide coaching to the employee.


Terri Williams

Terri Williams began writing professionally in 1997, working with a large nonprofit organization. Her business, education, and lifestyle articles have appeared in various online publications including Yahoo, USA Today, The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News & World Report University Directory, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago. Williams has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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