Improving Team performance

Coaching and Performance Management

Magella. Sergerie, M.ed, asked:

/>When Performance Management replaced Performance Evaluation in Organizations, it was going to give leadership a different definition and much more credibility and accountability to all members of a team. Instead of having little control over personal development within the organization, leaders and team members could begin to create relationships that would develop a workforce with skills needed to compete in a globalizing world. Because this approach looks towards the future rather than the past as the Performance Evaluation does, team members and leaders began to receive constant feedback from relationships, giving everyone a maximum amount of control over their own performance.

The major component of the Performance Management Process is “Coaching.” There are three important steps to this process and each step seeks to answer just a few critical questions. By using coaching at every step, the team becomes more aligned with the goals of the organization.

The first step begins at the Organization’s Fiscal Year where objectives are established. The basic questions to answer are:

What are we going to do? What are our goals for the next fiscal year? What needs to be developed?

During the year, team members and leaders will have follow-up discussion(s) to provide feedback on their ongoing performance and answer the following questions:

How are we doing? Are we accomplishing our goals? What are the areas for improvement? What else needs to be developed to meet our goals?

These follow-up discussions (The second step of the Performance Management Process) are aimed at improving performances in order to achieve objectives. During these discussions, the leader will coach the team members to help team members develop in areas identified at the beginning of the year (during the first step of the process) or during the actual follow-up discussions.

The third step of the process is a final discussion between the team member and the leader that will be put into writing in answering the questions:

How did we do? Did we accomplish our goals – where did we come up short? What should we concentrate on next year? The success of this approach is dependent on two conditions: the way the leader handles the coaching discussions and the commitment of both the team member and leader to improve and develop skills to meet objectives.

Effective coaching relationships between team members and leaders can improve the performance of human resources within the organization. The outcome is better performing employees producing better results.

So what do the “coaches” consider to be an effective coach? What was their definition of coaching? The one thing we knew for sure (based on years of taking surveys) is that employees need and want effective coaching on a regular basis. This was true in the past and is still the same as we gain a better understanding of coaching in the workplace for Performance Management.

Coaching is a “process” used in developing partnering relationships. I am not debating the fact that shareholders need results, I am simply suggesting that the results achieved as an outcome of an effective coaching relationship is long lasting and much more appealing to team members in today’s organizations. It may even be an important strategy for the challenge in regards to keeping and attracting employees.

Based on the last two decades spent with thousands of leaders at all levels in different organizations, I have often heard the following sentence from team members: “Walk the talk” and “I will commit to doing everything I possibly can to improve my performance.”

Still, many leaders experience difficulties with the Coaching approach when this program is first implemented. Their difficulties are often the result of:

Misunderstanding of the coaching approach. Too many leaders and team members still believed that Performance Management was just another name for what had been done in the past (Performance Evaluation). They were convinced this was simply a different stationary form. Therefore, discussions were still done in a top-down method i.e.: Here is what you are not doing well and here is what you will do to improve it. Now, go to it! Not very useful for helping team members and developing partnering relationships…!

Misuse because leaders using coaching concentrated on the end result rather than the process to use to obtain this result. There was little or no relationship development between team members and leaders. Talks often sounded like the ineffective coach in professional sports i.e.: A basketball coach demands to see a higher score on the scoreboard in order to win. When a player asks for feedback on how to do that, the answer is: I don’t care how you do it, just do it! This results in the team members feeling manipulated. They will start to do as little as needed to keep their job. So when a new leader joins this team, the new leader is convinced that the team members were not committed. This brings to mind the term “self serving biases.”

Misleading because the word “coaching” has been used in so many ways, many team members believe that it is just another way to get all the juice out of them in order to satisfy the shareholder regardless of the impact it has on human beings and ultimately the organization. Unfortunately, coaching is used to describe many different things, it was hard to be clear about it. Often, the word “coach” and “mentor” are interchanged. Some advocate that coaching is a skill needed by the boss, and others seemed to believe that coaching is a process that should be done by someone else other than the boss. coaching is a process delivered to a group of employees informally rather than individually. “Coach” is the new title for a leader.

Yet, when leaders regularly use coaching discussions effectively, it becomes very easy to determine what should be going onto the final document for the year. It is also easy to determine what the answers to the questions of the first step for the following year will be. That is true Performance Management!

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