How to Start a Coaching Session with an Employee

Team members are the fuel that drives an organization toward its strategic goals. To keep individuals working as a team, leaders must invest time and effort into enhancing the employee experience. One productive way to do this is by coaching your team members.

Starting a coaching session with an employee requires a willingness to invest the time it will take to develop a strategy for success. Let’s dive into what leaders should know to nurture the development of their team members through coaching conversations.

What Does Coaching Employees Entail?

Coaching in the workplace is a leadership skill in which team leaders provide their staff with advice and guidance to help them further develop their skills, performance, and career, often with long-term goals in mind.

Effective coaching requires the coach to possess the following characteristics:

  • Self-awareness: Coaches must first understand their own strengths and weaknesses. This self-awareness will guide them towards the steps they need to take to improve their abilities as a coach.
  • Attentiveness to detail: Strong coaches are able to assess issues and bring well-defined problems to the attention of others.
  • Creativity: Good coaches understand how to leverage the strengths and weaknesses of each team member to create an employee-development plan. They also possess the skills to find unique solutions that fit the needs of each employee.
  • Approachability: Coaches must be candid but caring. They exhibit kindness and honesty and genuinely want to help their team members grow.

To successfully execute their coaching strategies, coaches should also possess the following skills:

  • Communication: Good coaches express their ideas (verbal and written) by using helpful examples, providing feedback, and listening with care.
  • Problem solving: Because conflict is inevitable in the workplace, coaches must be calm and collected amid potential issues and be able to find solutions.
  • Organization: Good coaches understand how to establish realistic developmental goals and the milestones required to achieve them.

Why Is Coaching Employees Essential?

Coaching is essential to improving team members’ skills and performance. It can also help them better understand their role in the organization and establish a more-strategic mindset.

Coaching can help leaders develop better relationships with their team members and identify meaningful ways to create an inclusive environment.

Take a look at the following benefits of coaching:

  • Over 70 percent of team members who receive coaching experience better work performance.
  • 80 percent of individuals who receive coaching feel a higher level of self-confidence.
  • Coaching has a .
  • Over half of organizations with a robust coaching culture have higher revenue than their competitors.

How Do You Implement Coaching in the Workplace?

Below is a step-by-step process on how to coach an employee. We encourage you to customize each step as needed to help better meet the unique needs of your team members and organization.

1.    Define the Purpose of the Meeting

The first step in coaching an employee is to set up a meeting with your team member and clearly define its purpose.

Whether you are coaching them to improve their daily performance or train them on a new process, it’s essential to explain the purpose behind the meeting. This helps build a relationship based on transparency and trust—two essential components of a coaching partnership.

Here are some useful questions that can guide you in launching your first coaching session with the right focus:

  • What does the employee need to improve on?
  • What do they need to be trained on?
  • What would you like them to accomplish?
  • How can this improvement/training affect the individual’s performance and role?
  • How can this improvement/training affect the company’s strategic objectives?

2.    Establish a Goal

Once you feel you have the right focus, it’s time to establish a goal. Be sure to create one with your team member. Remember, coaching should be a two-way street; to create a fulfilling coaching experience, both parties should contribute their thoughts and opinions.

Together, establish a SMART goal:

  • Specific: Is the goal clear and well defined?
  • Measurable: Is the process or result measurable?
  • Action-oriented: Does the goal require action?
  • Realistic: Is the goal attainable?
  • Time-bound: Is there a deadline by which the goal must be accomplished?

The goal should then be written down and shared with all parties to establish a sense of accountability.

3.    Establish Milestones

Mapping out your SMART goal should help you and the coachee build milestones. These milestones are intended to keep the larger goals on track by breaking them down into smaller increments.

For example, if you are coaching your employee with the goal of developing a webinar that will be hosted by your organization, you may want to organize that goal into the following milestones:

  • Complete online training programs on webinar design to gain a good understanding of webinar best practices.
  • Create an outline of the webinar.
  • Interview the right individuals to help the team member fill the gaps in their webinar outline and inject it with the right expertise.

Each of these milestones should have its own deadline so that the employee is continuously working towards the larger goal.

4.    Evaluate Their Performance

Evaluation is a critical part of coaching because it fuels communication. You can use this time to check in with the coachee and provide feedback to one another. Here are a few questions that the evaluation phase should prompt you to reflect on:

  • What is working and what isn’t?
  • What is proving to be a larger roadblock than anticipated?
  • Where do you need to reassess and reprioritize?

Evaluating the performance of your team member should entail the following:

  • Regular one-on-meetings where you have the opportunity to provide feedback. Your team member should also have the chance to ask questions, express concerns, and offer suggestions on how they can better achieve their goal.
  • Direct feedback that involves specific examples and explains exactly how something should be done. Avoid ambiguity and always leave time for the coachee to ask questions to mitigate any confusion.
  • Encouraging words that help motivate the coachee to keep moving forward.

Again, this evaluation phase must be a two-way street. A one-sided approach can make individuals feel stifled, underappreciated, or attacked, which can damage employee morale. As their coach, it’s essential that you open up the conversation and find unique ways to set the coachee up for success.

Learn More with CMOE

If you’d like more guidance on coaching, be sure to look into CMOE’s coaching workshops. Our programs give you the proven skills you need to tap into your team members’ potential and help your team and organization develop an even greater competitive advantage.

Related Services:

About the Author

CMOE Team

CMOE’s Design Team is comprised of individuals with diverse and complementary strengths, talents, education, and experience who have come together to bring a unique service to CMOE’s clients. Our team has a rich depth of knowledge, holding advanced degrees in areas such as business management, psychology, communication, human resource management, organizational development, and sociology.