A survey by Gallup shows employee engagement is on the rise in the United States. The number of workers claiming to be ‘actively disengaged’ by their job is now just 13 percent, while 34 percent describe themselves as simply ‘engaged’ — the best results Gallup has seen.
That’s encouraging news if you’re concerned about the state of your own workforce, as your employees are more likely to actually care about their role and their performance than before. But it’s still far from perfect, with Gallup’s research suggesting companies in the U.S. have a long way to go to build a fully-engaged workforce.
Coaching is just one way you can help increase your employees’ engagement, but what makes up an effective coaching session?
Delivering Constructive Feedback
One of the most important elements of an effective coaching session is feedback. But this has to be done right.
Why? Because you don’t want to risk causing any fractures between managers / team leaders and employees — especially if there’s already a disconnect. This insightful piece at Inc. highlights how important a calm, respectful approach is when delivering feedback, as is evidence of mistakes or poor performance.
For example, providing an employee with a recording of a bad interaction between themselves and a customer or showing them data charting a drop in productivity lets them see for themselves where they need to improve. It makes any accusations of unfair criticism unlikely too.
Essentially, focus on being positive and constructive during feedback. Offer praise on the individual’s strengths and discuss what steps they can take to overcome weaknesses. This encourages the worker and makes them feel valued, rather than simply beating them down.
A Personalized Approach
Coaching must be tailored to suit each employee: adopting a generic, one-size-fits-all methodology is just a waste of time.
Base your coaching sessions on findings gathered through a comprehensive quality assurance program, performed with cutting-edge QA software. QA analysts should be monitoring performance and reviewing it according to specific metrics, providing insights into every team-members good and bad areas.
This information should be used to build personalized coaching sessions, addressing any issues that may surface during evaluations. Fortunately, creating sessions in our QA software is quick and simple, allowing you to attach different forms of media (images, videos, audio etc.) to reinforce their impact.
Creating the most impactful coaching sessions takes time and effort — both of which can be hard to come by in a busy workplace — but investing in a personalized program for each employee is more likely to increase engagement and cultivate improvements.
Supporting the Individual (and Not Just the Worker)
Coaching sessions need to appeal to personal and professional needs. Some problems in an employee’s performance may not just be down to their lack of experience or product knowledge — they could be due to low confidence, poor anger-management or other issues.
You want your workers to feel passionate about their jobs and do their best, but it’s hard to do that if they’re struggling with certain aspects of themselves or their role. You should encourage them to open up during coaching sessions and share any difficulties affecting them.
They may be reluctant to do so, of course, and their privacy should be respected. But make them aware they can talk to their coach (or a team leader, manager or admin) about personal problems affecting their work. This could lead to important breakthroughs down the line.
It’s worth considering that attending to their professional needs and helping them improve can bring employees more job satisfaction. And, as a result, they may start to feel better at a personal level over time.
Assigning Tasks and Goals
Structure is vital in coaching. Offering insights into employees’ achievements and challenges can encourage them, but actually giving them goals to achieve leads to a measurable outcome.
You can assign tasks to each worker when creating coaching sessions, based on their performance results and personal difficulties. This could be as simple as increasing their Customer Satisfaction Score by five percent in one month or handling two extra cases per day to boost their productivity levels.
Whatever the targets, they should be attainable and fair — never create objectives that will intimidate and frustrate employees. They could end up feeling as if they’re being undervalued and even mocked.
Track progress for each employee to measure the impact of coaching in a simple way. Managers, team leaders and admins may do this to understand how effective the current strategy is and determine where changes need to be made for better results.
Sending Targeted Training to Improve Skills
Training is an obvious complement to coaching, but, again, it has to be personalized. Learning sessions can be built to appeal to different employees, educating them in only the most relevant areas.
This eliminates wasted time spent on traditional training techniques and targets workers according to their performance data. Again, you can create goals for them to achieve and monitor their progress. This allows you to amend their targeted training to suit their working process and keep them engaged.
Create training sessions along with coaching and assign them to employees together. Make sure they understand exactly what’s expected of them and have all the support they need.
Follow-up on Sessions
Finally, follow-ups are critical after coaching sessions. Typically, team leaders will review the employee’s progress and experience after the previous coaching session, to get their own feedback. How do they feel they’ve improved since then? What targets have they hit and are they more engaged in their work?
Their views should inform subsequent coaching to keep driving improvements, making sessions more and more relevant.
Incorporate these essential elements of an effective coaching session into your strategy to build a team you’re proud of. Giving feedback, support and encouragement on a regular basis can help to increase workers’ engagement — leading to a higher standard of performance across your business.
Remember to focus on personalization, respect and a constructive approach. Coaching should never be about making employees doubt themselves or enjoying chance to vent your own frustrations: aim to leave them feeling as if they can do anything they set their mind to.
Are there any other key aspects of an effective coaching session you think belong here? Let us know!