Managers: Don’t Have Another Coaching Conversation Until You Read This
These days, a lot of people are talking about how coaching is an important skill for managers.
We absolutely believe that to be true at Ziksana. However, coaching as general term can be a
bit of a misnomer. It’s a soft skill, a people skill, which can lead managers to think, “I have to
spend more time talking to my team about what they care about- which I don’t have time for.”
“Coaching” is a catchall term, encouraging managers to learn how to have more effective
conversations with their employees. At Ziksana, we believe that there are actually two kinds of coaching: performance coaching and development coaching.
Performance coaching is about current productivity. In most cases, performance coaching is
used to address a small but important problem that is occurring in a performance aspect. For
example, an employee may have missed the mark on a deadline or a detail on a project.
Sometimes informal feedback on its own is enough to fix the problem. When it’s not, a more
formal sit-down conversation can be helpful. Coaching allows you to highlight those feedback
points as evidence of the problem and then explore alternative ways to address it in the short
term – because improving performance matters in the short term. Engaging an employee in a
performance-coaching conversation can help them to develop a problem-solving skill-set and
meet expectations to improve their productivity.
Our tip: Have performance coaching conversations when needed and at least once every review cycle (preferably two times per year).
Development coaching is about finding out what people care about, what motivates them, and
what they see as the long-term outlook for their career. Development coaching conversations
are about how the manager can help guide an employee to make short-term decisions to grow
and practice new skills or take on new challenges to move towards that end career goal.
Development coaching provides managers with a way to keep employees engaged and invested in their role.
Our tip: Have development conversations after a review conversation so that
motivation is high during the next review period.
Performance coaching requires a problem-solving mindset and a willingness to improve from
the employee. Development coaching requires the employee to have a growth mindset, and for
the manager to identify specific boundaries for failure and learning. We recommend that
managers don’t mix having a performance and a development coaching conversation at the
same time. Combining them can be confusing to the employee because they don’t know
whether the manager is addressing a short term or long term problem. The energy and mindset
that people have is different in each coaching type, and so managers need to separate the two
in order to have the best intended outcome from that conversation.
To learn more about what motivates your employees, download our Free Personal Motivation Diagnostic here.