It happens as it always does. You identify an area for improvement of a valuable team member. You effectively explain the expectation and where they need to improve. The discussion goes really well, you and the employee are excited about the potential performance improvements this change will make. You both leave the room smiling and laughing.
Fast forward 3 months and you identify the same area for improvement with the same person. Scratching your head you wonder curiously why aren’t they getting it. Your boss is breathing down your neck asking why they are still occupying a seat on your team.
Failure to follow-up is the number one reason your coaching is failing. Avoid wasting time and sacrificing a potentially great asset to your team by following these tips to avoid follow-up failure in the coaching process.
Write things down. My favorite quote is “the biggest lie I tell myself is I don’t need to write that down I will remember”. Write down the current situation, the ideal state, what they need to do and what you will do to support them. Don’t forget to put timelines and metrics and schedule your follow-up meeting prior to leaving the coaching session.
Review the written agreement. Review the coaching plan weekly to see where in the plan they are compared to where they should be. Review your area of responsibility in the plan as well to make sure you are providing the support that is required in the plan.
Observe the growth. Without observing you cannot provide meaningful feedback. Take written notes of your observations because you won’t remember them all for your next meeting. Prioritize your observations to the kinds of interactions or tasks that are in the coaching plan.
Check-in. Even though you scheduled your follow-up meeting during the coaching session, make an effort to have quick 5 minute chats between meetings. These are informal and quick, some questions to consider are: how’s it going, do you need anything from me, how far along are you, how do you feel about the progress.
If you repeat these steps throughout the life of the coaching plan you will have established a solid follow-up process to ensure you coaching efforts were not wasted or that another employee becomes a fatality because of your failure to follow-up.