February 22, 2017

5 Payoffs of Effective Performance Coaching



“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It’s helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” – Tim Gallwey, author

Performance coaching, defined by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management as “an ongoing process which helps build and maintain effective employee and supervisory relationships,” is a way of leveling the playing field. When managers act as employee advocates, they encourage and develop their employees to be more engaged, better-performing team players.

The following five payoffs of performance coaching solidify the need for a coaching strategy at every company and team:

1. Increased Productivity

A recent report from leadership development experts Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman found a significant correlation between the effectiveness of a coach and the willingness of that coach’s employees to “go the extra mile,” as outlined in the following graph:

The long and the short of it is that better coaches see better performances from their employees.

2. Higher Employee Engagement Levels

According to research from Temkin Group, 80 percent of HR pros say that employee engagement is an important area of focus for their organization. Unfortunately, it seems that many of these organizations are struggling: According to Gallup, 49.5 percent of employees are “not engaged” and 16.5 percent are “actively disengaged.”

Direct managers, higher-ups, and leaders have the power to create the buy-in necessary for engagement. Even maneuvers as simple as one-on-one feedback sessions, emailed thank-you notes, and verbal praise can be used to reframe employees’ outlooks on their jobs.

According to Red Branch CEO Maren Hogan, 37 percent of employees feel their bosses fail to give credit where credit is due.

“This matters because if employees feel like their recognition is being stolen by their manager, they won’t be incentivized to work as hard,” Hogan writes. “In turn, if you do give them credit, they will be more motivated.” (Emphasis added.)

3. Increased Retention Rates

Have you ever heard the saying, “Employees quit their bosses, not their jobs”? Well, it’s true: 75 percent of people who voluntarily leave their jobs leave because of their bosses, not the work itself.

The messages managers send through their actions, their decisions, and their interactions with their staff can leave huge marks on the company. Turnover is a management – and coaching – issue.

4. A Solid Leadership Development Pipeline

Performance coaching allows a managers to help their employees develop and grow. Such growth opportunities are important, as 68 percent of workers say training and development are the most critical workplace policies.

Keeping trained staff in the company for longer periods of time solidifies the leadership pipeline. Train your staff up, and then watch them train the newbies.

5. Improved Managerial Performance

What happens to the team, either negatively or positively, reflects back on the coach. Take football for example: Lose even a couple of big games when stakes are high, and your job is on the chopping block. Alternatively, a winning team’s success can be chocked up to a quality coach at the helm.

It’s the same thing in the workplace. When the team does well, the manager can be invigorated and motivated to keep the good flow coming. This, in turn, will ramp up the productivity, engagement, and performance of the staff, which then invigorates the manager further – you get the gist.

We’ve addressed the benefits performance coaching can have for the team, the company, and even the coach. By understanding the issues at hand – whether it be retention numbers, substandard performance, or lackluster engagement levels – you can take small steps to start coaching your employees toward greater organizational success.

A version of this article originally appeared on the iRevü blog.

Michael Heller is the CEO and founder of iRevü.

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Michael Heller has 20+ years of experience in strategic human resources, talent management, and technology consulting. As an HR executive at Washington Consulting, Digital Management, and Deltek, Michael led teams to develop innovative human capital management programs and initiatives. Previously, Michael held a variety of positions at American Management Systems and Booz Allen Hamilton where he executed on talent acquisition, total rewards, performance management, strategic HR partnerships, and philanthropy strategies. Michael serves the community as a board member of Teardrops to Rainbows, an organization dedicated to supporting the families of children with cancer. Michael has a master's degree in human resources from Georgetown University and earned his bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Connecticut. Michael resides in Gaithersburg, Maryland, with his wife and daughter. He enjoys cooking and college basketball.