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4 Tips for Training Managers to Provide Coaching

Posted by Jeff Welch on 12/30/13 3:00 AM
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I once read that the most rewarding, yet most challenging, part of a manager’s job is managing people.

Managers play a vital role in employee development. Most managers take great pride in helping their employees grow and develop into productive members of the team. However, no employee is perfect. Inevitably there will come a time when a manager has to address some type of performance problem.


As a training manager, it’s likely that you’re managing multiple individuals in multiple roles ranging from instructional designers to facilitators. These individuals are usually managing multiple projects. Given these circumstances, a performance problem is bound to rear its ugly little head sooner or later.

Research shows that most employee performance problems are usually related to either productivity (e.g. failure to meet deadlines), attendance (e.g. tardiness), and/or conduct (e.g. failure to meet behavioral standards).

According to the book, The New Manager’s Tool Kit by Don and Sheryl Grimme, Performance Problem Coaching is typically used when:

  • An employee’s quality or productivity does not meet expectations.
  • An employee’s behavior interferes with his or her performance.
  • An employee’s behavior interferes with the performance of others.
  • An employee violates a policy or procedure.

The purpose of performance problem coaching is to help the employee meet the organization’s standards and expectations.

Here are four tips for training managers to provide coaching for performance problems:

1. Address Problems Early

Early intervention is crucial. It prevents a performance problem from becoming a pattern of behavior. Whether you observe the performance problem yourself or it’s brought to your attention, handling it in the early stages usually stops a small problem from becoming a big one.

2. Be a Problem-Solving Ally

It’s human nature; people move toward and with their allies, but fight or flee from their adversaries. defines an ally as a supporter who associates or cooperates with another. When a manager uses words and exhibits actions that show support (as opposed to judgment or blame), the employee is more likely to listen, be open-minded, and commit to correcting the problem.

3. Involve the Employee

Involve the employee in the solution to the performance problem. After all, it’s the individual’s job or career that is on the line. Solicit their opinions and perspective on both the performance problem and the eventual actions of resolving it. When the employee is involved in the situation, it’s a great way to get his/her buy-in. I learned long ago that people don’t argue with their own ideas and data.

4. Determine an Action Plan

Agree on action steps to address the performance problem. The action steps should be measurable, achievable, and have target dates. A majority of the action steps should be based on the employee’s ideas you solicited from them earlier. Also, when discussing the action planning, pledge to offer encouragement and support. Your ongoing support further indicates your commitment to being an ally, not an adversary.

What success stories can you share with our blog readers about the way you’ve used performance problem coaching to handle employee performance issues?

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Jeff has been a course leader with Langevin since 2000. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Speech Communications and Broadcasting from Western Kentucky University. Before pursuing his passion for training, Jeff worked as a television reporter, flight attendant, fitness instructor, and tour guide. Jeff started his career in training at the daily newspaper in Atlanta. Training seemed to be a natural fit for him since he’s always been a bit of a performer. When at home, you’ll catch Jeff watching a cooking show, recreating a dish he’s eaten abroad, or exploring one of the many great restaurants in the Chicago area. During the summer months, he hits the road to follow the talented drum corps of Drum Corp International—something he’s done since high school!

Topics: coaching, training manager

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