Category: Coaching Employees

Three Preparations You Should Make Before Talking to Your Employee About a Problem

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One of the things I’m working on for 2019 is giving you tools to help you coach your employees and hold them accountable so that they are positioned to deliver the best possible customer experience.

The way YOU do that is, you go into discussions with your employees with a plan, and with confidence. I’m going to give you a 3-step method for how to talk to your employees about a problem, be that problem attitude, attendance, the way they interact with customers, anything.

Use what I call KFD

KFD stands for: Know, Feel, Do

Before going into a meeting with an employee, identify, and write down, what you want them to Know, Feel, and Do.

Let’s say you’re going to talk to an employee about her tone or attitude with customers. Your KFD could look something like this:

What I Wish Everyone Knew About Addressing Unacceptable Performance

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Talking to employees about problem performance, and getting them to change is hard – unless you do four things very well. Here’s what I wish everyone knew about addressing unacceptable employee performance.

  1. You have to have a plan; otherwise, you’ll get off track, and your employees won’t make changes.
  2. Coach like a coach. Don’t try to be friends with employees. Your job is to bring out their best.
  3. Get agreement. You can’t fix a problem that doesn’t exist in the mind of your employee. Help employees see the impact of their performance.
  4. Don’t accept excuses. Whining, blaming, and justifying are common defense mechanisms. Don’t let excuses fly.

I’m walking you through these 4 points so you can nip unacceptable performance in the bud.

4 Facts That Nobody Told You About Coaching Employees

Middle age blonde business woman over isolated background depressed and worry for distress, crying angry and afraid. Sad expression.

We coach employees to make them better, and to correct unacceptable performance. In both cases, there are four things you, as a “coach” must do to make coaching bring out behavioral change.

The Four Things Coaching Must Be

Immediate – You can’t put off coaching discussions.

Foreseeable – Your expectations must be clear, so no one is surprised. Ever.

Consistent – You can’t give corrective feedback sometimes, and then other times turn a blind eye.

Impersonal – You can’t talk to some employees about poor performance, but sit back and let some employees make the same mistakes. Doing this makes you seem unfair, and this spells big problems.

You Get What You Tolerate (From Employees)

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You get the behavior you tolerate. So, if your employees aren’t friendly, helpful, and showing empathy, you have to ask yourself, Have I been tolerating poor performance? Are you having conversations with your people about unacceptable performance? Are you coaching and holding employees accountable? If you want to see change, you have to set expectations, have coaching conversations, and be willing to deal out consequences.

Putting An End To Unacceptable Performance

Nipping unacceptable behavior or performance in the bud comes down to you doing four things. 1) You have to set clear expectations. 2) Then you must commit to addressing all issues that don’t meet your expectations. 3) You have to prepare in advance for coaching conversations, so you’re focused and confident. 4) And finally, you’re going to have to be willing to launch disciplinary actions for people who continue not to meet performance expectations.

1. Setting Clear Expectations

How to Talk to Your Employees About the Way They Talk to Customers

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My husband helping our son with homework a couple of nights ago

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Maintain employees’ esteem when giving constructive feedback, so you protect the relationship and get behavior change

I’m sitting on my patio, with my feet up. It’s cloudy, and there’s a light breeze. Such a contrast to the oppressively hot and humid summer we’ve had

Sitting here on my patio I made a list of 50 things that I’m happy about right now. I do this exercise from time to time, whenever my mood needs lifting. Some of the things on my list are:

  • I got all of the wood polished.
  • Though Warren’s team lost, his spirit remains high.
  • ClearCorrect trusted me to train their team for the second time, and I’m fully prepared for the big day!
  • We had a fantastic getaway to Dallas, and I’m so glad Dad was able to join us.
  • My homemade lunch, Portobello Mushroom Burgers, and Sweet Potato Fries were amazing!
  • Michelle’s Dad’s cancer is gone! God is good!
  • My lunch yesterday with Toneille at the Vault was fantastic! The vegan food was fabulous, and I loved catching up with Toneille. 

My husband is one of the coaches on our son’s football team. We got beat 43 – 0 on Saturday. The loss felt as bad as it sounds. Right now my husband is sitting in front of the computer with my son watching game film. He was pointing out everything my son did wrong.

My son’s body language and tone told me my husband was bringing him down. That’s why I’m on the patio. I had to get out of the house.

4 Things Every Supervisor Should Be Doing to Address Unacceptable Employee Performance

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Story highlights:

Setting clear expectations, getting employees to agree on performance gaps, explaining consequences of not meeting expectations and follow-through are key in managing employee performance 

I had to take my daughter’s phone from her last week. I don’t like that I had to do that, but I had a responsibility to take her phone. We have a rule in our house. Having a smartphone is a privilege and certain actions can result in a phone being taken away. One of those actions is a grade of a C or lower. My daughter’s Pre-AP Algebra 2 grade dropped to a 77%.

From the day we bought her first phone, my daughter has always known that any grade less than a B will result in loss of phone privileges. My daughter can see her grades daily online, as can her father and I. The expectations are set and clear. She has every possible opportunity to keep her phone, simply by maintaining excellent grades.

Yield

So, I don’t have to feel guilty about taking her phone away. There’s no benefit to her for me to go soft and let her slide. For what would I be teaching her if I let her slide? I’d be teaching her that she can slack and get away with it. She’d learn that my word is not solid. The focus and determination in academics my husband and I are trying to instill in her would be harder for us to teach. So, the consequences stick and it is indeed for her best.

As a supervisor or manager, can you easily set expectations and deliver consequences?

If you are a parent, you likely can easily set expectations for your child, issue consequences and not feel guilty about it. You know what you’re doing is best for your child. But, can you behave the same way at work?

Can you follow through on consequences, knowing employees were clear on your expectations? Can you discipline your employees without feeling guilty?

4 Pain Points of Coaching Employees and How to Handle Them

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We coach employees to make them better, and to correct unacceptable performance. In both cases, there are four things you, as a “coach” must do to make coaching bring out behavioral change.

The Four Things Coaching Must Be

Immediate – You can’t put off coaching discussions.

Foreseeable – Your expectations must be clear, so no one is surprised. Ever.

Consistent – You can’t give corrective feedback sometimes, and then other times turn a blind eye.

Impersonal – You can’t talk to some employees about poor performance, but sit back and let some employees make the same mistakes. Doing this makes you seem unfair, and this spells big problems.