Who Coaches Your Coaches?

manager hierarchyIn some ways, the end of the review cycle is like the end of the holiday season. All the ceremony, decorum and protocol get packed away in boxes and sent to the attic, not to be seen again until the following year.  Often, the lessons learned, the resolutions, the improvement plans and the passion for “change” go with them. In early January, mangers with the best of intentions set forth to coach struggling employees, and employees with sweeping ambitions place themselves in the hands of responsible mentors and nothing really happens.

This isn’t just because of momentum or the pull of daily obligations. It’s often because managers, despite their intentions, don’t actually know how to make employees better. They know how to get things done (or they wouldn’t be mangers). And they know how to hire, fire, and delegate. But can they teach? Can they coach? Can they drive actual changes in productivity?

Training and Performance Improvement: Three Considerations

1. If your managers find themselves repeating the same bullet points to the same employees during every review cycle, it’s time for some formal training. And as with any training plan, the first step is all about data. Gather the data you need and find out where your manager deficits are. Who needs to know what? Where exactly are the weak links in your performance improvement process? Find out who needs help with what. 360 reviews and management assessment surveys are a great way to gather these metrics. Monitoring employee performance scores by manager and over time is also a great way to pick out areas for improvement. Software suites like emPerform come standard with a 360 survey tool AND real-time reporting.

2. In-house training is an option, but if you’ve been relying on in-house training for years and nothing has changed, it’s time to bring in some fresh ideas. Outsource your training needs to a reliable firm with the expertise you need. To find such a firm, exercise your magical HR powers and get cracking. Conduct in-depth research, use your contacts, and exercise your judgment. A training program may have plenty of credentials, but if it isn’t a cultural match for your office, keep looking.

reports3. Stay focused on the ultimate goal. Make sure your final choice is data-driven, and watch carefully for changes in productivity and actual results. If your managers don’t respond to a training program or don’t find it relevant, find out why they feel this way. Solicit feedback at all levels, and stay flexible. Use your software resources (like CRG emPerform) to track analytics, maintain productivity records, and keep an eye on signs of real growth.