For employees to act on coaching commitments, or agreements to improve, the coach has to help guide them to specific behavioral actions that will help drive the desired improvement.
It’s not enough to only discuss what needs to improve or change, rather, we have to get to how they will do it differently next time. Only after we’ve agreed on specific behavioral actions, can a person be expected to perform it!
Successful performance coaches do the following steps:
Identify the metric to improve, such as NPS (WHAT / METRIC)
Identify the absent/ineffective/inaccurate behavior that needs improvement, such as Empathy (WHAT / Behavior Topic).
Ask the employee for specific ways to perform that behavior/perform it differently next time (HOW / Behavior Actions) – and document these actions for both you and them!
From there, agree on which specific actions they will attempt, role-play, and set a follow-up date.
Then, be sure to check back in and appreciate effort and progress!
Metric to improve: IR
Behavior to improve: Probing Questions
Commitments/Agreements: After you identify the issue, ask a question to get them to elaborate and give you more details, like, “Okay, can you tell me more about what you’re seeing?”
Metric to improve: NPS
Behavior to improve: Empathy
Commitments/Agreements: Try saying, “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that!” with slightly elevated volume and emphasis on the word ‘so’!
Most people find it difficult to improve performance on a metric when the commitment is simply to “keep working on your probing questions”. But most people are able to easily act on a commitment that includes specific probing questions to try next time!
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