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Why you aren’t coaching employees to excellence

Written by Astrid Roest on 22 June 2020 for Companies

Coaching your employees has clear advantages. It provides positive support, feedback and advice to improve your team’s personal effectiveness, increases their job satisfaction and develops their career.

Coaching not only makes your workforce more efficient; it also improves employee retention and the atmosphere in the workplace in general.

Many organizations expect senior leaders and middle managers just like you to take up these coaching roles. But you have the feeling that you’re not as effective at it as you could be. Here are some of the reasons why…

#1 You’re doing it ‘because you have to’

In some companies, employee coaching is viewed as a kind of chore rather than an opportunity. “We have to do it. Because (management, the HR department) told us to.”

If you’re coaching your team just so you can tick a box on a to do list, you’re probably not going to be very effective when it comes to boosting their performance.

Rather, ask yourself what your personal advantages of having an employee coaching program can be. What are your goals? Some examples:

  • More ROI on employees, so therefore better company results
  • Your team feels cared about and looked after
  • Making employees better fit for their jobs so you can focus more on other tasks
  • Preparing your team members to move up the corporate ladder into higher-profile jobs

You will usually have more than one of these goals at the same time. Set your goals straight, and your coaching program will become much more enjoyable and effective for everyone involved.

Why you aren't coaching your employees to excellence

#2 You’re mixing up coaching, mentoring and evaluation

They are often confused, but coaching, mentoring and evaluating are not the same thing. They should happen separately in time, place and possibly with another person.

Essentially, coaching is helping someone get better at what they do. Coaching involves actively working on improving someone’s skills. And possibly even re-thinking a position so it fits the employee better. Coaching is about working towards a professional relationship that satisfies both the employer and the employee.

Evaluation is assessing someone’s performance over a certain period of time, using certain objectives set in the past.

Mentoring is about an experienced employee guiding someone new in the team. The focus of mentoring is on knowledge and skills specific to a position, and not on someone’s general working skills or career at large.

Most coaching programs involve evaluation, but it should never be limited to that.

#3 You don’t have a solid coaching framework

An evaluation or coaching session isn’t an informal chat over coffee where you simply ask ‘how things are’.

In order for coaching to work, you need a system. A framework backed by research and expertise, that provides guidance and helps you and your team see the bigger picture, where you want to arrive and how and when you will get there.

A proper coaching framework covers all important aspects of personal development. Take Exellys’ 3-level coaching method for example, which focuses on career-related skills, but also long-term ambitions and opportunities for personal development.


#4 You’re doing all the coaching yourself

In a coaching program, assigning tasks to the right people is extremely important. It’s a good idea to plan ahead who will take up which role in the program.

For example, not everyone is cut out for a coaching role. An important skill for a good coach is being an excellent listener – and some are better at that than others.

Another argument for assigning roles to different people is that an employee might talk to a coach about matters that he is not comfortable to discuss with his superiors. It’s important to let colleagues be colleagues so why not look externally?

#5 You’re not following through

It’s easy to book a meeting room for an evaluation-slash-coaching session; bring in two cups of coffee; and have a chat about the past year. But what’s going to happen looking forward?

A coaching program is an ongoing effort that requires work and attention on a day-to-day basis. It’s not an annual meeting that you can cross off your list. What does success look like for you and your employee? What milestones can you set? How will you work towards those milestones?

What’s next?

Curious how a coaching program relates to a young professional’s personality and motivation? Have a look at our coaching method.

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About Exellys

Exellys is a Tech Talent Incubator.

We bring tech talent into the daily operations of the organization of our customers and grow them for the innovations of tomorrow.

From the 1.500 tech talents we speak to annually, we select the top 8%. We intensively train and coach them on the right skills and competences. Our (scientifically based) training programs (Start Smart, Grow Smart & Lead Smart) accelerate the growth of our talents, and therefore also the growth of our customers.

We “unburden” our customers when looking for and retaining tech talent. We are committed to getting the best out of talent, while our customers can continue to focus on their core business.

We do this for clients who want to strengthen their team permanently, as well as those who are looking for a flexible, project-driven solution.

Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help.

Written by Astrid Roest Talent Development Manager