coaching with regular feedback

Hate Performance Reviews – Try Coaching with Regular Feedback

If you are like most people, you dread the annual performance review, regardless of which side of the desk you are sitting on. Coaching with regular feedback is an alternative worth trying.

Managers and employees alike avoid the annual performance review meeting which is why so many companies have abandoned the formal review process. The meeting is often awkward. People report that very little useful information is shared during these meetings. Many managers feel uncomfortable giving a poor review. Managers can be equally uncomfortable giving praise, especially if they are unable to match top performance with a salary increase or growth opportunities. As a result, employees lose faith in the fairness of the annual review. Different approaches to performance have gone in and out of popularity over the years, including asking customers, peers or the employees themselves to complete evaluations. Avoiding or ignoring this important part of the manager-employee relationship is not the solution.

A better process is to adopt a coaching approach to performance management. Hold short, informal meetings regularly throughout the year. Feedback is best shared immediately – either positive or constructive.

Set up a schedule of bi-weekly or monthly meetings. Meet one-on-one with employees to discuss company and personal goals, projects, progress and new initiatives. In the beginning, the manager will need to set the agenda. The first meeting might involve goal setting and expectations. Over time as employees become comfortable with the informal nature of the meetings, the hope is employees will share ideas for performance improvement. Ideally you want to form a partnership with your employee.

Best Practices – Coaching with Regular Feedback:

  • Schedule regular meetings weekly, bi-weekly or monthly
  • Meetings can be short, 15 to 30 minutes
  • Discuss projects, goals, and progress
  • Get to know your employee on a personal level – what motivates them and how do they want to be managed ?
  • Ask the employee, “how are things are going?”
  • Find out what supports are needed
  • Introduce new ideas or programs
  • Give feedback and solutions for performance improvement
  • Get feedback from the employee – remember this is a partnership
  • Set expectations on an on-going basis
  • Follow up in 2 weeks or as needed
  • Document – Keep a record of the meetings and a short summary of what was discussed

Advantages of Coaching with Regular Feedback

  • Meetings are informal and short making them easy to fit into the workweek 
  • Meetings occur regularly so both the manager and employee can become comfortable sharing information and using the meeting to improve the working relationship
  • Opportunity to improve communication and ensure there is a two-way dialogue
  • Avoid misunderstandings
  • Frequency of meetings gives multiple chances to make your thoughts and ideas clearly known
  • Safe environment to ask questions, request support and get immediate feedback
  • Timely feedback 
  • Opportunity to correct problems early and monitor results on a on-going basis
  • Meetings can be used for brainstorming new ideas and reduce resistance to change

Get started with the coaching approach by setting performance goals. Both company performance goals and personal goals. Offer regular feedback on performance, both positive and constructive. Build a partnership with your employees. Be clear about the career growth opportunities available to your employees. For some people, it will be enough to master their current job. For other people, career advancement is important. These employees will strive to learn as much as they can and master skills and knowledge in their field. A time will come when your employee will be ready to move on. Managers need to accept this reality and make the best of the situation for both the employee and the company.


Carol Irwin

Carol works with our clients to develop and improve HR policies, procedures, employee programs, and solve difficult people management issues.

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