Coaching Skills in Really Tough Workplace Conversations

Life Coaching

Previously we explored the use of coaching skills in conversations at work and in tough conversations at work.  Occasionally there is still a challenge, and we transition into really tough conversations – as in it must be fixed or employment ends.

Coaching Skills in Really Tough Workplace Conversations

When a manager or supervisor is working with an employee who still is failing to meet expectations, the coaching approach can make being tough respectful:

  • What is your awareness of the impact you have on the team?

Add to this as appropriate.  For example: “The input I am getting and observing myself is that … (insert comments here).  How to you want to address that?”

  • Given the requirements and expectations for your job and that you are not currently meeting them, how do you want to bridge the gap?
  • Given that addressing … (insert comments here) is an expectation for success here, what is your understanding of the implications if you do not address it?
    • What happens if you do address it?
    • What is your choice?

If it comes to the point of potentially terminating someone, because the manager or supervisor used the previous series of questions, they can appropriately say:

  • It is my goal to help you move forward in the direction you choose. Do you prefer to find a different job, or do you want to bridge the performance gap and be successful in this position?

If the employee does want to bridge the performance gap, consider these coaching questions:

  • What is your strategy for bridging the gap?
  • What happens if you don’t do something different?
  • What are the possibilities if you do something different?
  • What resources will you use?
  • What are your action steps?
  • When will you take them?
  • Describe your ideal outcome.

The key to the coaching approach is asking instead of telling.  The benefit of this is it puts the responsibility for meeting expectations on the employee.  This is one reason coaching skills is an essential competency for leaders.

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