This is a private group for participants in OPM’s pilot “Performance Management for HR Practitioners” training.
Week 2 Discussion: Coaching, Counseling, and Providing Feedback
November 16, 2012 at 9:37 pm #172686
Welcome to the Week 2 Discussion. Like last week, please engage in an exchange with your colleagues regarding the questions below.
Share an example of
- a time you’ve coached, counseled, or provided feedback effectively; and
- a time you’ve coached, counseled, or provided feedback ineffectively
What made your effective experience effective and what made your ineffective experience ineffective? What would you do differently today?
NOTE: Provide your answers by typing your response in the text box below and hitting “Add Reply.” If you are participating in the live discussion from 2:00 – 2:45p, please be sure to hit your refresh button frequently in order to see other participants’ responses.
March 5, 2013 at 7:14 pm #172824
I haven’t had to coach or counsel someone since I’ve worked in the Federal government, so I don’t have any specific examples. However, when I was in the military I found that the way to provide feedback effectively to my troops was to be specific and provide as many examples or details as possible. Just because it makes sense to you, doesn’t necessarily mean that the other person understands it the same way. Talk with your employees….that way you build a trust. Make sure you continue to encourage your employee and make sure you offer your assistance if they need it. Be sure not to just tell them to do something and not follow up. Revisit the situation later, so that you are showing that you actually do care.
Ineffective coaching to me would be a one-way conversation, where the manager just states everything that was wrong with a particular project, but not say what areas needed to be improved. It would also be ineffective if the manager isn’t asking the employee for their thoughts–or how they felt the project went. There’s a possibility that they really don’t think there is anything wrong with what they did. Your role is to strengthen your employee’s competency, not act like it’s your way or no way.
As far as my experience now, I appreciate that I have a manager that actually comes to me when there is an issue, instead of just sending an email and expecting me to read between the lines. There is constant communication, so I feel comfortable going to her whenever I do have questions or need help.
March 7, 2013 at 5:51 pm #172822
I am relatively new to the federal service so my most relevant experiences are associated with coaching or providing feedback to people above my pay grade. I can understand the reluctance of subordinate employees to give honest, direct feedback to the people who can make the difference between professional growth and professional stagnation.
In my ineffective example, I delayed giving honest feedback and held my tongue, avoiding the difficult but necessary conversation with the hope that the situation would improve or resolve on its own. Eventually I was on the cusp of burnout and I poured it all out in a moment of frustration and resentment. Instead of seeing this as legitimate feedback, it was easy for the receiver to interpret it as “Melissa just needs some time off to recharge”.
Later, I gave honest and direct feedback as soon as I had gathered enough information to be able to support my concerns with factual information. I actually practiced the conversation in private so I could stay on point and have it in a calm quiet manner. I didn’t want anything to distract us from the conversation and I asked for the person to set aside some time to talk about the issue so he wasn’t caught off guard. This was much more effective.
March 7, 2013 at 6:46 pm #172820
Great example Melissa.
How would you do it different today?
March 7, 2013 at 6:53 pm #172818
I’ll go ahead and do mine:
-Coached effectively – Had an issue with a member of my team. Made it clear what the problem was, my expectations on what change I was looking for, and met weekly until fixed
-Coached ineffective – A few times my feedback has been too positive and vague that hasn’t been listened to. Hey – “It might be cool if you did X instead” – “Just curious what happened on Thursday’s meeting – no biggie” – times like this folks didn’t know if my feedback was to be executed on and also there was no follow-up on it
Now – I try to be clear with my feedback, with clear deadlines. And separate feedback that I want changes on Vs mere suggestions
March 7, 2013 at 6:55 pm #172816
Great points Nicole.
I’m curious on your point at the bottom – do you prefer face-to-face VS email?
March 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm #172814
Face-to-face may not always be an option with employees working in remote locations and teleworking.
March 7, 2013 at 7:01 pm #172812
Very true – Richard
What’s your recommendation in those situations in terms of phone, email, video conferencing?
March 7, 2013 at 7:04 pm #172810
We are exploring the use of electronic signatures so that we can go electronic rather than using paper performance plans. Using video conferencing to conduct performance reviews.
March 7, 2013 at 7:05 pm #172808
Very cool – big fan of electronic signatures.
Do you have an example of when you’ve coached or provided feedback effectively and/or ineffectively? Any lessons from them?
March 7, 2013 at 7:07 pm #172806
Yes, I personally prefer face to face communication. Sometimes things can be misinterpreted through email. However, I understand you can’t always have a face-to-face conversations. I’m in Georgia, and my manager is in DC. So, we use email a lot for small things. But we also have telephone staff meetings at least once a week.
March 7, 2013 at 7:07 pm #172804
I have a really difficult time giving negative feedback – I’m afraid of hurting people’s feelings. I have frequently mumbled something like “hey it would be cool if you could do XX instead of YY but whatever” and then changed the subject. I know it’s something I need to work on. And honestly, I personally appreciate it when someone gives me clear feedback, so I’m not sure why it’s so difficult to do the same for others!
March 7, 2013 at 7:08 pm #172802
Great – how do you handle provided feedback to peers (not your direct manager) especially remotely? Any tips for the group?
March 7, 2013 at 7:09 pm #172800
I’ll echo that this is a great example, Melissa. I know we talked briefly on Tuesday about how giving feedback can be hard and/or awkward, but I think it is worth saying again. It can be difficult to give a critique of a colleague’s work, especially if we are close to the person. Many people we provide feedback to we interact with on a very regular basis and we have to walk a fine line of being honest and not hurting professional relationships. In the long run, though, it is better if we give honest feedback in a timely manner. People are looking to improve, and providing feedback is one way we can help in that process.
March 7, 2013 at 7:09 pm #172798
Sara – me too. It’s funny I use same language “It would be cool if” – I have to fight my tendency to do it.
Do you have an example of when you’ve gotten clear feedback? What you liked about it?
March 7, 2013 at 7:10 pm #172796
March 7, 2013 at 7:10 pm #172794
Please share it – I’d love to hear it and so would the group
March 7, 2013 at 7:13 pm #172792
Regretfully, we have not had the opportunity to either counsel or coached an employee; however, i have provided feedback to employees who seek guidance on different HR issues. When I was first starting out, I had a great mentor. She told me never say something without looking at the regulation; bring that to the table and you will become creditable.
March 7, 2013 at 7:13 pm #172790
March 7, 2013 at 7:14 pm #172788
Any tips from your experience providing feedback to employees? What worked? What didn’t?
Awesome about having a great mentor. In your experience, what made your mentor great?
March 7, 2013 at 7:17 pm #172786
I like feedback when someone states it just as simple fact without looking awkward about it or making it personal. Presenting it with a positive is also helpful to help the person save face a bit. “Hey – I really liked what you did with that fact sheet. Next time, can you make sure to ___. I think that would be really useful to our customers. Thanks!” and then move on.
March 7, 2013 at 7:18 pm #172784
We have a coaching program that is available for our employees.
March 7, 2013 at 7:19 pm #172780
Great – how does it work? Can anyone use it? Could be a great example other agencies could model
March 7, 2013 at 7:19 pm #172778
Ah, credibility is very important! Anything you can do to bolster your credibility when providing feedback is a good idea. Whether it’s citing regulations, like Norma suggested, or researching possible solutions to performance issues. Being prepared, and having credibility will make it more likely that others will be open to your feedback. Thanks Norma!
March 7, 2013 at 7:20 pm #172776
I’ve seen staff strengthen their feedback skills by implementing one change at a time. Example – adding a deadline discussion at the end of the feedback session. After they get use to providing deadlines, then they try and work on another area such as being more specific.
March 7, 2013 at 7:21 pm #172774
Thanks for sharing – great story & tips.
There’s an art and process around giving documentation, signature, and also actually talking about it and resolving it.
I like to:
-In writing set-up some time to discuss an issue (this is short/brief)
-In-person or phone/video have a conversation with details and providing coaching
-Afterwards provide documentation (email/document) to sign
March 7, 2013 at 7:21 pm #172772
I had one particularly ineffective performance feedback session with a former subordinate that months later turned out to have been effective.
This particular individual did not have the knowledge/background he thought he had coming into the job (and he was hired by someone else). Early attempts at giving feedback initially appeared to work, but mistakes continued. My communication style became a little more direct, where I began to give specific instructions rather than just describing expectations. However, things went downhill and the employee became sarcastic, kind of cynical at times. At our mid-year progress review, I had to be very honest and said that I had serious concerns about his performance, and described why. However, this person was pretty delusional, and refused to see that he was actually making mistakes and wasn’t the stellar performer he thought he was. It went further downhill and we ended up issuing a termination notice. It was only after issuing the termination notice that this person finally stepped back and took an honest look at himself. So the day he left we had a very candid, heart to heart conversation. After leaving our agency I received a few emails from him where he indicated that what happened was actually a blessing in disguise because it opened his eyes to trends he had seen in other jobs but no one else had been as brutally honest. Now he is in a different position that appears to be much more suited to his skills/knowledge and desired career path.
March 7, 2013 at 7:21 pm #172770
P. Rana StewartParticipant
On-on-One=effective; Via email-to-One=ineffective. I can say that I when I worked at a University that the being able to counsel not only the students but the instructors allowed me my way of learning AND understanding feedback, be it either effectively or ineffectively. For the latter, I know that NOT providing feedback can have someone spiral into no mans land, but to be able to provide AS MUCH detail as possible and have someone give you a follow-up helps on both ends, as Ms. Roorda stated, what “makes sense to you, doesn’t necessarily mean that the other person understands….” as you are telling them. No matter the position of the person, we can always learn from our “feedback” understandings. What made my experience effective was that everyone responded and those did that did not, I reached out to them for clarification; as for the ineffective, my project was a mess because I did not follow through nor asked for detailed feedback and communicating via email can sometimes become challenging, as it becomes a one-sided conversation. As long as everyone feels as they are part of the team AND participating as an active memeber, I have learned that is the best way to stay effective. My favorite all-star is DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT…. I know it’s not the best, but have learned that sometimes we learn and understand in different ways. Changing my coaching, couseling, and/or positive feedback, I will continue to stay actively in engaged with my team members and ask open/ended questions for ideas and weekly feedbacks if it’s a long ranged project and pay close attention to behavior and attendance, sometimes they go hand-in-hand.
March 7, 2013 at 7:22 pm #172768
Sara – I am exactly the same. I find it almost impossible to be negative with others and I know it makes my feedback ineffective.
March 7, 2013 at 7:22 pm #172766
Yes, available to all. Is something that can be tailored for a particular group or situation. Those interested in knowing more can send me an email.
March 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm #172764
Very good point – sometimes if we try to change 10 things at once, we end up changing none. Easier to make 1 change at a time and then move on to another change.
Great tip Nancy!
What do you usually see as the normal weakness in feedback skills?
March 7, 2013 at 7:24 pm #172762
I’m trying to be more authentic in my interactions with people who hold more power than me when I need to give feedback. It isn’t easy. The temptation is to try to manage up through gentle suggestion, passive language and suggestion. Mostly I’m trying to build credibility so when I do give feedback, I can give it in a calm, quiet way and yet still make a big message. I want people to think about me as a person who doesn’t sweat the small stuff or have knee jerk reactions, but when she does speak, you should listen.
I am also trying to practice conflict resolution instead of conflict avoidance.
I know people at the top of the org chart need clear, honest and sometimes not positive communication up the chain of command. I know it is valuable. I also know it is difficult and comes with risks. I call it “Eating a frog” from the quote, “If it is your job to eat a frog, it is best to eat it for breakfast.”
I would also make sure I’m doing the right kind of self-care to give the message in an appropriate manner without drama instead of exploding at the brink of burn-out.
March 7, 2013 at 7:26 pm #172760
Great story Alison. That’s really tough but glad it turned out good. It also shows that we shouldn’t think everyone will take the feedback – even if performed excellently, some folks will tune it out. It’s our role as HR practitioners and managers to make sure excellent feedback is given but we don’t control everything.
If you had to do it again, would you do anything differently earlier? Move to termination earlier?
March 7, 2013 at 7:26 pm #172758
That’s a neat story! As if giving feedback isn’t hard enough, it becomes more difficult it people are closed off. Does anyone have other examples when they tried to provide feedback, but it back fired? How can we work around this problem?
March 7, 2013 at 7:27 pm #172756
Great comment – did you find it required different strategies to counsel students than instructors? Perhaps differences based on role or age that required different strategies?
March 7, 2013 at 7:29 pm #172754
Theresa (Teri) EriksenParticipant
In classes I taught, I used one of my counseling experiences as an example of multiple bad ideas. As a new supervisor, I had an employee who made lots of little errors. She was making me CRAZY! I waited until the end of the performance cycle and discussed these things with her during our review time. (Mistake 1: Piling them up. Mistake 2: Untimely feedback.) I covered three areas of improvement, providing general information about her disorderliness. (Mistake 3: Non-specific feedback.) I also gave her one “for example” about addressing envelopes. Her reply at the end was: “So all I have to do to get a higher rating is address the envelopes correctly.” (Mistake 4: Failure to confirm her understanding.)
So, here’s what I learned from that. This employee could NEVER have pleased me because I failed to tell her what success looked like. If I’d corrected those little errors as we went along, I wouldn’t have gotten to the “CRAZY!” place. It was really me who was her shortfall. She may have been able to please me if I’d been braver about approaching her performance.
March 7, 2013 at 7:33 pm #172752
Love this line – “failed to tell her what success looked like.” – so key. People want to know what success looks like
How do you do it now? Do you give the feedback right away? How do you balance giving too much feedback (tweeks on every item) VS waiting and piling up?
March 7, 2013 at 7:33 pm #172750
If I had it to do again, I think I would have been a little more honest in terms of the feedback earlier. At the time I guess I thought I needed to give him more of the benefit of the doubt, and it was hard to have a difficult conversation. And in this case, I think the employee still would have heard what he wanted to hear and the termination might have come a little sooner. Unfortunately for this person it took something as drastic as losing a job to get his attention. Not a scene I’d like to repeat!
March 7, 2013 at 7:41 pm #172748
Exactly – not a scene one wants to repeat. Seems like you handled relatively quickly b
March 7, 2013 at 7:43 pm #172746
I previously worked as a reading tutor and consultant for a company that provided reading improvement under the umbrella of literacy. Part of the tutoring and consulting learning model involved giving feedback, at that time, for those being tutored, to the brain at the “right moment’ in an effort to help the brain build an appropriate neural network for reading “excellently.”
When feedback was provided at just the right moment, according to the company’s learning model, the brain was able to take that information and improve a person’s ability to read. Applying this feedback model to the context of communicating between, employees and supervisors, or teams and team leaders suggests that it is important that feedback be provided in a timely manner, preferably to provide feedback precisely at the time there is deviation from an intended outcome would be ideal.
But in real world situations it is unlikely that coaching from team leads, supervisors and or team members can always be delivered at exactly the precise moment the brain benefits most is probably an unreasonable expectation. However, timely feedback is a valuable tool. From a coaching perspective, knowing when to chime in, how to chime in and when to just observe may be difficult.
Under the reading paradigm tutors/coaches were encouraged to make sure feedback was necessary and delivered at the right time. Coaching necessarily requires allowing time for the person being coached to perform the desired task and is different from instruction. It is chiming in at the right time, after observation, and providing relevant information that facilitates successful completion of defined tasks.
March 7, 2013 at 7:45 pm #172744
My feedback has been most effective when it’s specific and timely. I think it’s less frustrating for me and the recipient because it’s easier to digest, it’s likely a handful of items versus a laundry list; and the recipient often understands and corrects/addresses the issue. As some of the others have stated, my least effective feedback was too general or untimely.
March 7, 2013 at 7:45 pm #172742
Very interesting! How is the “right time” defined? How did tutors know when that would be?
March 7, 2013 at 7:45 pm #172740
I recently had to provide feedback to a couple of team members regarding their work products. Before giving the feedback, I asked the individuals not to take things personally – that the feedback was about the work itself and not a criticism of their personal styles or taste. This was a feedback session regarding artwork for a marketing campaign. The two individuals obviously had divergent color, style, and messaging preferences. I had expressed very strong opinions about each graphic, but I made sure that the opinions came across as constructive and positive. Needless to say, the team members kept an open mind which made the feedback effective.
I really can’t think of an ineffective feedback right now. I tend to prepare for situations in which I have to deliver either positive or negative feedback. Any feedback that comes across as a personal attack is likely to be ineffective. It’s therefore important to focus the feedback on specific desirable or undesirable behaviors.
March 7, 2013 at 7:46 pm #172738
Fascinating story and love the last paragraph (just re-read it twice).
How have you utilized these lessons in your own coaching/feedback?
March 7, 2013 at 7:46 pm #172736
Theresa (Teri) EriksenParticipant
I’m grateful that I no longer have to supervise anyone but myself. :o)
Actually, I have a lot of project teams that I lead so feedback and follow-through are essential. My current strategy is to have regular meetings to discuss progress. Each group member reports on their assigned areas. If I see one of them is falling behind or less participative, I have a private “let’s take a walk” with them to see – informally – what’s going on. The good thing about project teams is that everyone feels the peer accountability.
March 7, 2013 at 7:47 pm #172734
Great comment Theresa – what success looked like!
March 7, 2013 at 7:49 pm #172732
Thanks Stella – often I find items such as artwork the toughest for feedback. It’s easier to give feedback when clear right or wrong (Bob – you forgot to spell-check your email before it went out to 10,000 people. It’s important to make sure all spelling fix. Can you make sure to do so in next week’s email?).
When it’s more subjective like artwork, I’ve found it hardest. Some people just say “that’s my style” or “thanks but I disagree” – I think it’s important in these subjective areas to provide even more of framework of “why”
Stella – how have you dealt with this issue with areas like artwork?
March 7, 2013 at 7:49 pm #172730
My mentor was an amazing woman who was very professional, but seemed to really care about her people. You could tell, she loved her work.
As for a tip, I suggest to always go back. Someone will ask me something, I give them information then I make it a point to go back in a week or two to find out if that information was helpful.
March 7, 2013 at 7:51 pm #172728
Great session everyone! Thanks for all the great tips – for those that haven’t responded yet – feel free to keep on going (the live portion is over but keep on going)
Reminder – make sure to do your peer coordination tomorrow
And have a great weekend!
March 7, 2013 at 7:55 pm #172726
In my group, there’s only two of us and my manager. So it’s pretty easy to provide peer feedback because we are the same grade level. We bounce ideas off one another, mostly through email, but the minute it becomes to much back and forth, we just pick up the phone. Neither one of us use any sort of negativity. We often will say, “this is how I interpret what you just sent me”. It works well because you get another person’s point of view.
March 7, 2013 at 8:00 pm #172724
I totally agree on the importance of communicating and knowing what success looks like. When employees and managers are on the same page in terms of knowing what an excellent work product is or what outstanding service means, that CRAZY place from Teri’s description can be avoided.
I see employees who second guess their supervisors and managers because the latter can’t describe success in more concrete terms. “I’ll know it when I see it” just doesn’t work.
March 7, 2013 at 8:04 pm #172722
Ryan, for the strategy to be successful, tutors had to possess a certain skill set and expertise, much like a supervisor or team member in an employment situation. The tutor through listening and observing the student reading, the tutor would listen for syntax (language) or semantic (meaning) errors and at the moment the error occurred, tell the student, that “sounded funny” (syntax) or “didn’t make sense” (semantic). Brain theory suggests that this feedback, at the right moment, does a couple things, first, establishes a new standard framework, with regards to reading (neural network) and secondly, allows the brain to make new attempts under the new framework.
March 7, 2013 at 8:16 pm #172720
Basically, I have tried to be timely and relevant in providing feedback.
March 7, 2013 at 8:48 pm #172718
I agree that it’s tough to provide feedback regarding work that involves the creative process. In the artwork example, I set the expectation that the image should be able to support our vision/mission statement as well as the overall theme for the marketing campaign. I provided the designers/team members the opportunity to tell the story behind their creative work, so we went over every design element – color, shape, font choices, etc. Both team members had Arts and Visual Design degrees. My undergrad was in Mass Communications. We all respected the value we brought to the table. I believe our respective “frame of reference” enabled us to critique each design in ways that actually helped enhance each other’s work, without alienating or minimizing the work of anyone on the team.
This was like Trump’s “The Apprentice” without the boardroom hostility.
March 11, 2013 at 8:34 pm #172716
I’m late to jump in here, but I telework remotely from NM with my team in DC. Since we started using webex, the quality of our team meetings has jumped dramatically. In addition I can set up a webex with any individual team member, agency staff, and even a vendor, if they have a camera on their computer or we can set up our training laptop with a built in camera. Webex isn’t the only option — skype is another. It’s almost as good as face-to-face in most ways. I’ve also used the desktop share as a way of developing, editing, reviewing documents and other training materials.
March 12, 2013 at 3:38 am #172714
I just recently coach one of my co-worker, regards to the new project that been assign to him. What makes me effective on he actually listen on my comments and willing to work with to get the work accordingly. He will used this project to present to the rest of the group. Crouching an individual help both of you to achieved their both goal. Working as team. What makes it ineffective is when the project was not been deliver properly.
March 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm #172712
In my current position I provided feedback on a regular basis to various Program Mangers on how thier particular funtional area can be improved. I normally begin my conversations by what they are doing well, what needs improvement and then what needs to be eliminated. This course of action works well because I am feeding them the positive first.
March 14, 2013 at 6:57 pm #172710
Effective – provided specific examples of the issue, the impact and my expectation. I took the discussion one step further and provided it in an email.
Ineffective – opposite of above. Relayed the message to passive, did not provide expectations or how the issue may impact the employee in the future. Just a casusal conversation.
Today, I provide ongoing feedback to staff. I do not wait for performance time to coach, counsel or provide feedback. I always ask the employee their opinion in the situation. My delivery is firm but professional and respectful.
March 14, 2013 at 7:20 pm #172708
Paula A. GarrityParticipant
My job responsibilities don’t really include coaching/counseling, but the NRC’s open collaborative work environment (OCWE) encourages all employees to share concerns and differing views with colleagues and supervisors. This OCWE, I believe, is one key to the NRC’s consistent ranking as one of the top places to work in the Federal Government. We all benefit from sharing diverse views, alternative approaches, critical thinking, collaborative problem solving, unbiased evaluations, and honest feedback. In addition, this sharing promotes trust, respect, and a positive work environment that maximizes the potential of individuals and the agency as a whole.
For me, the most effective approach to coach, counsel, or provide feedback (in the context of OCWE) is to establish a coalition. I typically schedule a meeting with a colleague or supervisor to avoid interruptions and distractions. I then approach the individual with a statement such as, “I know we’ve been working to XXX, but I’m concerned that there might be a better approach. I’d really appreciate your thoughts on how we might be able to improve on our current process. What would you think of ….” I’ve found that this method reduces the typical defensive reaction to coaching/counseling and encourages a spirit of collaboration that often results in significant performance improvements.
March 25, 2013 at 7:39 pm #172706
Jeanette Guardia-de JesusParticipant
I have had experience providing feedback when I was in the Performance Management section. Most important was being a good listener and did not allow any bias or negative responses. The employees were very open with me due to my calm and honest feedback. I don’t think if I had to coach,, counsel or provide feedback – due anything different. I had great success.
April 2, 2013 at 7:44 pm #172704
I effectively provided feedback on how to write a performance improvement plan which resulted in a successful removal of an employee.
Early in my career, I was unaware of all the resources available to help the manager effectively monitor, coach, and help the employee improve in their performance. I
Today I have the skills, awareness, and insight of resources available to assist customers in all aspects of performance management.
April 4, 2013 at 8:04 pm #172702
As Employee Relations Specialist, I happy to say I’m had more positive outcomes than negative ones. I have been able to assist supervisor with effective counseling and feedback sessions by reminding the supervisor to always tie the session to the employees standards. Expounding on the standards with clear expectations leaves no room for misunderstanding. This usually ends in a win-win situation.
I recently had a situation that my assisstance was ineffective. I spent hours just about everyday advising a superviosr, only to find out that she was not communicating with the employee. The employee’s performance was unsatisfactory in just about all of the elements. The supervisor did not take my advise to have numerous counseling and feedback sessions. The employee was made aware of the poor performance at the end of the year despite my recommendations. The supervisor was forced to give the employee a full successful rating due to her lack of communication.
April 5, 2013 at 7:57 pm #172700
I think I do a good job at providing feedback to my team members when I have explained my concerns; really, really listened to their side of the situation; and worked together with them to develop a solution that meets the goal. Most situations allow for us to work on a solution together. On occasion, I have requested they do it my way, feeling my solution is what my leadership prefers. Usually they understand after the project is completed and we receive feedback from our senior leadership.
When I think back on times when I did not provide effective feedback, I was usually rushed about completing a project and was not taking a moment to really discuss the issue with my team member. I was making poor assumptions and showed ineffective listening skills. I continue to learn that even doing these pressure moments, I must remember that the project will get done and these moments when the pressure is on, are the most important for providing effective feedback.
April 8, 2013 at 9:01 pm #172698
Recently, one of my co-worker ask/coached her about the Directive that she need to support her decision. I give her come information she needs, at the end her supervisor compliment her for sharing the info and they send it to the rest of the group. Which it travel to the rest of the group. It always good to share infromation if the information will benefits the who group. Open discusion without any bias in the group will have a good positive responds.
Ineffectively if one of the invidual in the group took it the wrong way, instead of adapting the information given to the group. Took in the different way like, thinking the person who give information just trying to impress the boss. I think that totally wrong, when you have an open discussion the group should just participate if there is no negative input to discusion personally. The word “I” or “me”, are not being discuss.
April 8, 2013 at 9:07 pm #172696
Jeanette Guardia-de JesusParticipant
I have had to Coach, Counsel, and provide Feedback to several employees while I was doing Performance Management.
One particular time – I had an employee who never would respond to emails – so I had a face-to-face with her and she appreciated that I took the time to actually take the time to explain and show her on paper what she was lacking in. I allowed her to share her views and discuss her concerns at her pace and then I was able to give positive feedback for future work. She later became very comfortable in the sense that she would then send me an email to make arrangements to meet for future discussions.
I had a very negative time with one employee who totally refused to discuss with a female – I later found out that it was his custom in his country that women were not respected and he could not even look me in the face. I had to refer him to another co-worker who was a male and then he was able to communicate with him.
April 10, 2013 at 8:36 pm #172694
Nicole, I definitely agree.
The most effective counseling/coaching sessions I’ve seen have been specific, provide for a dialogue with the employee, and, perhaps most importantly, reinforce to the employee that you want to see them succeed. If they are successful, you as a manger are successful. I think sometimes employees feel that their boss is “out to get them” or wants to seem them fail. But 99% of supervisors DESPERATELY want their employees to succeed. Both because it benefits them and the agency for the employee to be at their peak productivity and because most supervisors want to see employee’s succeed and accomplish their own personal goals. Sometimes reminding the employee that can make a big difference.
On the other side of that coin, managers who jump to conclusions or simply tell employees what they did wrong typically do not motivate their employees to be more successful.
April 10, 2013 at 9:21 pm #172692
Thinking back to when I last coached both effectively and inffectively, I know that planning was the difference maker. When I didn’t plan, I remember fighting to find the right words, recalling what projects my employee had worked on, etc. However, when I planned, things went so much smoother, and my confidence as a manager allowed me to have credibility. The employee seemed to be mor relaxed when I was prepared and confident.
April 11, 2013 at 2:23 pm #172690
I agree with many of the comments below regarding providing direct and specific feedback. While I have not held a supervisory role in the Federal government, in my role as the performance management program manager I have had the opportunity to work with many managers on addressing performance issues – particularly for employees that are performing below expectations. One of the key questions, that I ask managers is if they have clearly communicated their expectations to the employee. I also ask if the manager has provided feedback (positive and negative) throughout the rating cycle so that both have a common understanding of how well the employee is performing to expectations. A common approach used by managers is to summarize the discussion with employees in an email. My employee relations/labor relations colleagues always caution managers about what to put in writing since it may be admissable as part of a grievance but it is certainly is a good approach – particuarly if there are concerns with achieving that common understanding with respect to expectations. The latter is also useful as part of the documentation that a manager must show that they tried to assist the employee in improving his/her performance.
April 11, 2013 at 5:49 pm #172688
I have coached, mentored and facilitated a myriad of work related situations with both senior leaders and employees. One particular instance where I think my coaching was successful involved a promotion. The employee was not promoted by the supervisor and came to me for advise and coaching regarding the matter. As a result of our discussion, the employee was able to approach the supervisor with facts and accomplishments that supported a promotion to the next grade. Listening to the employee and allowing her to communicate her frustration, provided an opportunity to defuse her anger and disappointment, and to approach the situation from a positive perspective instead of reacting in a negative way. The employee has continued to excel in her work, and has been promoted to a position with more responsibility. I always say, “you must give back in order to receive,” and so she now mentors and is a coach to new employees in her organization.
In an almost similar situation, I counseled and coached an employee through a difficult period both at work and personally. While the counseling and coaching were well received; the employee was ultimately terminated. The personal issues really impacted performance, attendance and the essential functions of the job. The employee was serving a probationary period.
Coaching and mentoring are very important skills to have in your toolbox. Not only are your efforts compensated by seeing your mentee/coachee get ahead, but you also grow as an individual by being able to add perspective to what can be very complex situations. I continue to coach and mentor… wish I had more time to do it. 😉
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