Coaching and Management Tips: How to Create an Employee Coaching Plan that Works

Reading Time: 7 Minutes

Crafting an effective employee work plan is a strategic, multifaceted process that contributes significantly to the success of any organization. According to a study conducted by a Fortune 500 company, 77% agreed that coaching makes a significant impact on metrics. 

In this comprehensive guide on coaching plans, we’ll illuminate how to create a coaching and management plan that touches on various components like understanding your employee’s strengths, identifying areas of improvement, encouraging self-evaluations, and more. 

As we delve into these insightful tips, you’ll discover the potent synergy of good management practices and coaching strategies to foster a productive and rewarding work environment for every team member. Let’s gear up to unlock your team’s potential!

What is a Coaching or Management Plan?

A coaching or management plan is a strategy companies will use to improve employee performance. And since motivation directly impacts performance, employers will tie in motivation strategies that keep employees engaged and excited about their roles or tasks. 

A successful plan will be collaborative. Each member of the team should develop their own goals that not only work to strengthen their individual skills but also align with the organization. Managers should assess how a specific goal, such as learning to code, could positively impact the business. They should also work to ensure employees are trained adequately.

Most coaching plans require regular meetings or check-ins to assess the employee’s progress and find areas of improvement. Managers should design a plan around creating workplace milestones, as rewarding employees for a job well done is essential for encouragement.

Why is a Coaching or Management Plan Important?

A coaching and management plan is important for the following reasons:

  • Support Employee Performance: Providing feedback is an important part of this plan, as it tells employees what’s working, what they can improve on, and how. 
  • Advance Employee Careers: Coaching allows employees to understand what they can do to improve aspects of their careers. This gives them an easy-to-follow map.
  • Fosters Team Collaboration: Managers will strengthen their relationships with individual employees, meaning employees will be placed in appropriate team roles.
  • Positive Work Culture: A culture of continuous feedback, so long as you juggle the positive with the negative, will motivate others to succeed and be productive.

When employees are aware of their goals and have a guide to achieve them, employees are likely to be happier, more satisfied with their jobs, and more driven to excel as a team. 

The Importance of Achievement and Praise

A coaching or management plan could go through all the necessary steps required to guide an employee appropriately, but it won’t matter if rewards aren’t a part of your system.

Unfortunately, based on WorkLeap statistics, employees aren’t getting the feedback they deserve. 39% of employees report that they don’t feel appreciated at work, and employees are 2x as likely to be actively disengaged if they are ignored by their managers. This is a shame, as 65% of employees want more feedback, but 58% feel what they get isn’t enough. 

But if employers start offering achievements or praise for their hard work, the rewards are huge for employers. Also, according to WorkLeap statistics, employees will work harder if their efforts are recognized. We also know that the frequency of feedback impacts employee engagement.

We’ll talk more about how to offer achievement and praise in the next section, but for now, understand that it’s impossible to have a successful coaching program without rewards. 

How to Create a Coaching Plan That Works

Coaching and managing employees effectively is an art. It requires understanding their unique abilities, providing constructive feedback, and fostering a supportive environment for growth. 

Understand Your Employee’s Strengths

Understanding your employee’s strengths involves recognizing what each team member does well and tailoring tasks to utilize their skills best. Knowing their strengths can help assign responsibilities so the team performs at its peak while fostering individual development. 

Acknowledge the unique capabilities of each employee and provide opportunities to leverage these on projects or tasks. By doing this, you’re not only boosting productivity but also cultivating a motivated and engaged workforce who love what they do.

Find Areas of Improvement

Identifying areas of improvement is a process that entails having open, honest discussions concerning employee performance and identifying skills or areas needing enhancement. 

It may involve areas such as time management, communication, or technical skills specific to the job role. Remember, the goal is not to criticize or penalize them but to help them grow professionally. Constructive feedback and supportive coaching from you can help narrow down these improvement needs, capitalizing on each moment as a learning opportunity.

Ask Employees to Self-Evaluate

Involving employees in the creation of their work plan is crucial. One way to do this is by asking them to self-evaluate. This allows them to reflect on their own performance, perceive their strengths and shortcomings, and express what they aspire to achieve professionally. 

Self-evaluation serves as a starting point for productive dialogues about personal growth, ambitions, and potential obstacles. Additionally, when employees contribute to their own work plans, they are more likely to be engaged and invested in the outcomes. 

Determine What’s Standing in the Way

Explore which factors might be hindering your team member’s output or professional growth. It could be insufficient resources, lack of training, poor communication, or personal life pressures. Understanding these barriers helps in creating a realistic action plan to overcome them. 

Whether it’s providing additional resources, improving the work environment, or offering flexible working options, identifying obstacles enables you to develop effective strategies for prevailing over them. Acknowledging the challenges gives your employees confidence that you are invested in their success and well-being, and this can go a long way in increasing motivation.

Devise Solutions to the Problem

Once you’ve identified the challenges, the next step is to devise solutions. This part of the work plan should equip employees with actionable strategies. Consider options that enhance their skills, streamline existing processes, or provide tools and resources to help them thrive. 

The solutions can range from training and education to improved communication channels or even stress management techniques. Collaborating directly with your team members during this stage ensures that the measures you’re implementing are both feasible and beneficial to them. 

Ultimately, your aim is not just problem-solving but empowering your employees via a collaborative and supportive approach. By working together, your employees can thrive.

Establish Short and Long-Term Goals

With obstacles out of the way, you can now work together with your team to establish milestones and goals. Look at the areas of improvement you and the employees mentioned to devise Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based (SMART) short and long-term goals. 

Here’s an example of a goal based on the SMART formula

  • Specific: Define the batteries the employee plans to address
    • “I want to learn how to code Python.”
  • Measurable: Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine progress
    • “I will take an exam that assesses my expertise in Python.”
  • Achievable: Determine if you have the resources to meet the goal
    • “I will use a course issued by my employer to learn Python.”
  • Relevant: Assess if the goal will contribute to successful results
    • “I will use this knowledge to get promoted to an IT position.”
  • Time-Based: Make a goal with a timeline that’s achievable
    • “I will learn Python twice weekly so I can be knowledgeable in 6 months.”

Now, put it all together. The more specific, the better:

“Every week, twice a week, I will learn how to code Python using a course issued by my employer so I can learn key concepts in 6 months. I’ll know I’ve reached this goal once I take the assessment test at the end of the course and receive a passing grade.”

Some employers make the mistake of setting short-term goals based on an employee’s highest number. While this goal is possible, it’s unrealistic to expect it each month. If employees keep missing this goal, it’ll be demotivating, especially if a manager chastises them for missing it.

Goals should be made on an individual basis, and based on surrounding circumstances. For example, it’s unrealistic to expect a camping tent salesperson to sell the same amount of tents in winter as they did in summer. It’s also bad form to compare other employees to each other. Not only can this build resentment, but it also discourages teams from working together.

Instead, create independent, professional goals that are more abstract (i.e., take a course to improve leadership skills) and team goals that involve reaching a specific number (i.e., who closes the most deals). Ideally, team goals will be higher than your competition’s numbers. This will promote healthy competition that encourages all to work toward something as a team.

Have an Action Plan in Place

With an understanding of strengths, improvements, and challenges, it’s time to map out an action plan. This is the concrete set of steps that will guide your employees on their path to improvement. It should clearly outline what needs to be done, by whom, and when. 

Include specific tasks with measurable outcomes and set reasonable deadlines for these tasks to create accountability and track progress. Remember to keep this plan flexible and willing to adapt, as circumstances may change over time. Having a solid blueprint in place paves the way for success, keeping everyone focused and committed to shared goals.

Regularly Follow Up With Employees

In an earlier section, I discussed the importance of regular praise and rewards when it comes to engagement. In fact, it’s impossible for a coaching plan to work without regular feedback. 

When your employees don’t know what they’re doing right or wrong, they’re left to figure that out for themselves. And, if a manager only disciplines instead of empathetically corrects, employees will be too scared to ask for help or communicate when something isn’t working out.

If praise is completely off the table, your employees will feel less motivated to complete tasks. This could lead to low-quality work or an increase in sick days and absenteeism. 

While you likely agree a rewards and feedback program is necessary, simply implementing one isn’t enough. You also have to ensure that your follow-up program includes the following:

  • Frequent Feedback: Don’t limit recognition to a couple of times a year. Recognizing achievements on a regular basis shows that you’re continuing to notice their work. 
  • Tie Recognition to Behaviors: 92% of employees agree that when they know why they’re being recognized, they’re more likely to repeat that behavior in the future. Personalizing your rewards can also communicate what and why you’re awarding.
  • Recognize Improvements: Although most recognition is tied to milestones, it shouldn’t only be tied to it. Employees will miss their goals. They either had a bad month, or the goal was too high. But if the employee tried to reach their goals, that effort should still be praised. Then, the goal should be assessed to check if it’s too high or unattainable.
  • Recognize in Real-Time: Tell your employees immediately why they’re being awarded. This will maximize the impact of the reward and ensure the behavior continues.
  • Offer Negative Reviews Positively: Sometimes it’s necessary to correct employees. When you do, make sure you offer a compliment first before getting to the bad news. Assure your employees that you’ll give them the resources they need to improve.

Conclusion

Creating an effective employee work plan is not just a managerial task, but a journey of discovery and growth for you and your team. As you implement these coaching and management tips, embrace the power of learning, adapting, and evolving. 

Remember that every employee is unique, as are the paths to their success. Now that you’re equipped with these insights into workforce management, it’s time to shape those roadmaps. 

Embrace change, foster a culture of continuous improvement, and watch your team flourish! 

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

Join our list for exclusive tips, content and a welcome gift – our ebook on how to engage your team and boost profits.