Performance Management ~ Leader as Coach: When to use a Coach Approach

Coaching and performance management don’t go together.  There, I’ve said it.  Why not?

Because, your employees may not trust you enough to tell you their real desires and needs, or share their vulnerabilities with you, if they think that this might be held against them in the performance management process.

Ask Before You Tell

Using a coach approach to performance management however, now that’s a different matter.  Using a coach approach means asking first, rather than telling:

  • What’s your analysis of your performance?
  • What did you do well?
  • What would you do differently if you had your time again?
  • Where do you see room for improvement?

Think about it…when someone tells you something constructive about your performance that you already know, you probably do some version of bristling.  It’s not great to hear something you already know.  Strange, but true.  So better to have them tell you so that you can simply agree – or disagree – with the feedback that they are giving to themselves.

I’ve used something like this simple diagram in the past to help them to get prepared.  They might complete one of these for each project that they are working on.  You could also use it in your more frequent check-in conversations to see how tasks are progressing.  After all, we shouldn’t be leaving performance management to the end of the year.  This kind of conversation needs to happen frequently so there are no surprises come the end of the year.

So bite your tongue next time you are in a performance management conversation, and ask before you tell.

Here are links to a couple of my other blogs in the Leader as Coach series which you might like to look at…

Leader as Coach: When to use a Coach Approach ~ Career Change

Leader as Coach: When to use a Coach Approach ~ Leaving an Organisation