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One of the more important aspects of a coaching session is to identify the behaviors that positively or negatively impact the employee’s key performance indicators or metrics.  As an example, for a basketball player, the behavior that directly impacts the Free Throws KPI would be releasing the ball too quickly, slowly, or the way the player snaps their wrist.  So what are the behaviors that directly align to your metrics? Have you identified your key performance indicators?  Have you written them down? Communicated them?

In a performance based management approach, you have to do your due diligence in establishing the performance monitoring metrics that will drive your bottom line as a first critical step. The next step is to align the employee behaviors with these key performance indicators.  Let’s bucket these behaviors into two groups.

Focus Your Performance Based Management Coaching Sessions

  • Coach-able Behaviors – using techniques that close the sale, asking for the payment in a collections phone call, de-escalating a customer service situation, making clothes recommendations to customers in retail, or ringing up the customer correctly at a store.  These behaviors have a direct impact on the bottom line of the company and are behaviors that can be trained and coached. 
  • Minimum Expectations for continued employment – Minimum expectations are similar to coach-able behaviors as they will have a direct impact on the company bottom line.  The difference, and it is a big difference, is that these behaviors are not skill related but are simply will related.  Examples of minimum requirements are attendance, being on time, being at your post for your entire schedule, not being rude to customers, or not hanging up on a customer. So, how do we use these identified behaviors to improve metrics in order to drive results at the employee level? Let’s coach.

Performance Monitoring – What to Gather for the Coaching Session? 

So how do you prepare for the coaching session?  There are many resources you as the manager will use during the measurement period and at the end of the measurement period to prepare to coach the employee. Examples of these performance monitoring resources are:

  1. Employee level reports:  Includes key performance metrics, attendance, and other performance management dashboard tools
  2. Voice of the Customer:  Customer level feedback and data specific to the employee
  3. Internal Quality Audits:  Quality of work data gathered by  your review or review of a third party
  4. Other data accumulated by you while Managing By Walking Around 

By having employee level performance monitoring reports and the behaviors that align with the performance metrics already identified, you can easily review the reports and know what behaviors to look at for improvement.  There are also times that you will see behaviors that then spur you to review reports and see the impact they are having.  It is important as a manager to review reports and know what to look for from a behavioral perspective so you can address issues in real time as well as during coaching sessions.

You will next want to combine all of the performance monitoring data into a usable format to be analyzed by you, and then communicated to the employee. Many organizations use a Performance Management Dashboard to provide consistent visibility to the key performance indicators.  Using this data, you’ll also want to categorize it in a format of What Went Well and What Could go Better.  In this format you can clearly identify the behaviors you want repeated, as they positively impact metrics and help drive results.  You can also very clearly identify the behaviors that need to be either coached or simply changed because they negatively impact the metrics that drive results.  This is a particularly key step in a performance based management approach. 

Performance Based Management – Conducting the Coaching Session

In our basketball example above we identified the behaviors that had a direct impact on Free Throws.  They were releasing the ball too quickly, slowly, or missing the snap of the wrist.  In the coaching session the basketball coach would review tapes with the player, show him the examples where his behavior gleaned positive or negative results, and then would have the player practice the correct way to garner improved results. You want to take a similar approach in your coaching session.  Have the team member arrive with two lists of behaviors, one, of things that went well during the measurement period and behaviors that could have gone better.  Ask the employee to tell you what went well and also identify what metrics were impacted by their positive behaviors.  As the coach, then add your insights as you likely have additional data points to cover.  Move on to the behaviors that could have gone better and identify the metrics negatively impacted and as the coach add your insights as well. Be sure that you cover the coach-able behaviors in this session as well as the minimum expectations since all behaviors align to metrics and drive results.

Once you have reviewed all data with the employee and addressed the minimum expectations and coach-able behaviors it’s time to have the employee write a Development Action Plan to address the coach-able behaviors.  The objective is to improve the skill set/behaviors so the key performance indicators are moved in a positive direction thus improving the employee’s results. Remember, if the behavior that needs to change is a minimum expectation; do not add that to the action plan.  Minimum expectations should be addressed as immediate changes in behavior.  Set the expectation and then counsel the employee accordingly; hold the employee accountable to an immediate change in behavior.

The last step in the session is to set the goal for the next measurement period.  Things to consider when goal setting with your team member in a performance based approach are:

1.     Team Result versus Goal

2.     Metric, Goal, and Result for each employee for the prior performance period

3.     Development Action Plan / Performance Improvement Plan expectations

4.     Quality Performance Opportunity Coaching Model Data

Use your best goal settings skills to gain employee buy-in in to the goal.  Your focus in Performance Based Management should be to walk out of the coaching session with an employee fully committed to the behaviors needed to drive their metrics and with an awareness of how this will impacts their results.