The 12 Minute Coaching Conversation

by Tim Hagen on Fri,Apr 14,2017 @ 11:04 AM

To be blunt, the elephant in the room is always the manager's perception of they don't have time to coach. We hear that at every client site when we start. I always laugh at this because I think if somebody leaves me and I have no time to coach them how when do I have time to even interview somebody to replace them? On the other hand, I think we're asking managers to do more and more than we ever have before; therefore, we must acknowledge time is scarce. So, knowing this conundrum, what do we do?

I think the biggest challenge we have when we coach employees are a number of things. First, what should we be coaching the employee on? Second, what is the frequency in which we should meet with employees? Last, how do we maintain a focus that maximizes time for both parties? The answers quite frankly very simple. We encourage our clients to focus on one area performance in 90 day increments meeting with the employee once a week. The frequency allows you to have visibility to what's going on in the real world. We also teach a four-step process that allows us to do a couple of things that are vital to any employees development:

  1. Learning Project
  2. Discussion
  3. Activity
  4. Learning Project

We deploy and elements of accountability using something called learning projects. We have a discussion phase where we use in-depth coaching questions to provide visibility and clarity to what the employee is actually going through and what we need to do to assist them to improve. We have an activity stage with the manager must facilitate practice or simulation that fosters performance improvement. Last, we finish every coaching session with the learning project which is due at the next coaching session. This bestows accountability to the rightful owner, the employee.

Managers often will go from one topic to the next at a high rate of frequency. It's much like a golfer. A good golf coach focuses on one thing, not 12 things, in each coaching session. It's just too much to assimilate and apply what is being taught to the real world. It is been our contention if we focus on one thing in 90-day increments, and the employee improves, we actually see an improvement that will carry over to other performance areas.

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This post was written by Tim Hagen

Tim Hagen founded Sales Progress, a Training Reinforcement Partner Company, in 1997. His entrepreneurial career began in college leading to positions in sales, sales management, and sales training for small and large corporations, and eventually ownership of several training companies. He possesses a unique combination of hands-on experience, academics, and innovative insight to solve the industry’s most common challenges. Tim holds a bachelor’s degree in Adult Education and Training from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.