“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is a popular adage, often found in advice columns.  When it comes to workplace coaching, however, such advice is misplaced. To help ensure ongoing solid work performance, supervisors should coach employees on a regular basis. 

Coaching is a frequently used term, but what exactly does it mean?  Basically, it comprises informal, day-to-day guidance, and ongoing feedback and direction from supervisors to the employees they manage.  Coaching also encompasses collaborative goal setting, feedback sessions, ongoing training and employee recognition. 

Many managers overlook coaching because they equate it with counseling.  But the two differ significantly.  Counseling involves focused guidance to correct problem performance.  Supervisors who equate the two terms often assume that if there is no marked performance problem, then there is no need for regular, interactive feedback beyond annual performance reviews. 

Annual reviews are insufficient.  Meeting once a year to evaluate objectives is not especially helpful for employees.  Instead, managers should meet with employees regularly to create a performance plan, review it periodically throughout the year, and adjust it as appropriate. Furthermore, a good leader will provide insight into the ways in which employees can attain performance objectives.

In many cases, training is the key to attaining objectives.  It is a supervisor’s responsibility to determine with employees what kind of training is relevant.  Through honing job skills and developing new ones, employees improve their performance and accelerate their career growth. 

Coaching also contributes to morale building by sending a message that the company and supervisor care about an employee’s future.  This is especially important during times of uncertainty, when businesses may be unable to provide tangible incentives and rewards such as pay raises and bonuses. 

Positive feedback and recognition are additional components of morale building.  Effective managers do not just resolve problems; they also praise employees when praise is merited.  Even a simple thank you can make an employee feel appreciated and valued.

If supervisors have to cope with problem employees who require counseling, it is easy to overlook the needs of top performers whom coaching can benefit.  Even the best employees need regular feedback. Without it they may become complacent, unmotivated or face stalled career growth.

Coaching is not something extra for supervisors to do if and when they have the luxury of time; it should be a day-to-day responsibility.  By prioritizing coaching, managers can support improvement in employee performance – even if that performance is already at a high level – and, in doing so, raise employee morale that contributes to the success of the business.


About the Guest Blogger:

Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 27 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance. Insperity®Business Performance Advisors offer the most comprehensive suite of products and services available in the marketplace.  Insperity delivers administrative relief, better benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity through its premier Workforce OptimizationTM solution.  Additional company offerings include Human Capital Management, Payroll Services, Time and Attendance, Performance Management, Organizational Planning, Recruiting Services, Employment Screening, Financial Services, Expense Management, Retirement Services and Insurance Services.  Insperity business performance solutions support more than 100,000 businesses with over 2 million employees.  With 2012 revenues of $2.2 billion, Insperity operates in 57 offices throughout the United States.  For more information, call 800-465-3800 or visit www.insperity.com.