The ACHILLES’ HEEL OF MANAGEMENT COACHINGWritten by CMOE Development Team
While heading home at day’s end, you begin reflecting on a coaching meeting you had earlier that day with an employee, Chris. You hope that, this time, you finally succeeded in getting her to understand importance of spending less time in disruptive socializing in office and more time elevating her performance. If not, you feel that your only remaining alternatives are to give her a poor performance evaluation or demotion or may even fire her. You’re reluctant to do either of first two things because you know these would disrupt positive work relationship you’ve had with Chris. And you don’t really want to fire her. On other hand, you’re running out of patience; this is fourth time you’ve said something to Chris about situation. Admittedly, first few times, your comments may have missed mark because you gave her only some casual feedback. But about a month ago, you held a formal coaching meeting with Chris, in which you discussed situation in depth and came away thinking that she understood need to change her behavior. In fact, she did change. But after a week or so, she was back to her old behavior.
Sound familiar? The most critical step in management coaching process – getting an employee to agree there’s a need for improvement – is usually not well understood or well executed. Without that, there’s little likelihood of any permanent change.
Not a chewing out
As use of coaching rises, so does confusion over what it is and isn’t. I define management coaching as an interpersonal process between a manager and an employee in which manager helps employee redirect his or her performance while maintaining mutual trust. Coaching differs from feedback, although feedback is part of management coaching process. Feedback is given by a manager or supervisor in response to a specific event or situation; coaching focuses on a pattern of behavior along with strategies for growth and development. Coaching is all about art of turning situations and events into learning and growing experiences. Examples include missing several deadlines in a short period despite being reminded that meeting deadlines is important, continuing to arrive late for work after being told tardiness is not acceptable, and continuing to interrupt others in spite of receiving feedback that such behavior isn’t appropriate. Management Coaching is not “chewing out”, taking to task, or threatening employees to try to improve their performance. Those tactics can work, but results may be worse than original problem. Such approaches tend to make employees passive-aggressive. They will walk line and do nothing more or less than what is asked.
Executive Performance -- Who's to Blame for Incompetent Managers?Written by Dr. Robert Karlsberg and Dr. Jane Adler
A recent article in Wall Street Journal raised question: Who’s to blame for inept managers?
The answer, of course, is superiors who hire or promote them -- but not because they intentionally select or retain poor performers. Every leader knows that his or her own success depends on putting right people in right positions. It’s easy to blame a manager’s poor performance on his or her boss, but more often than not, managerial incompetence isn’t obvious to superiors. Instead, fault lies with systems used for evaluation and alternatives available for dealing with performance failure.
Despite their widespread popularity, standard 360 evaluations and psychometric tests are poor substitutes for informed, thorough evaluation. Standardized assessments and tests are promoted as rapid, economical alternatives for determining competence and assessing performance. Consultants and salespeople alike tout them for their objectivity and accuracy.
In reality, typical 360 evaluation is far from objective. How can a group of very different people, with very different relationships to subject and very different priorities, be expected to evaluate an individual professionally and objectively?
Additionally, reliance on these measures can cause you to miss crucial information about how senior executives and managers think and how they relate to others on a day-to-day basis — factors that can make or break your organization’s ability to perform. While 360s can appear relatively cheap and quick to implement, a poor evaluation system can have very expensive repercussions.
The second problem is alternatives available for floundering executives. “Cutting poor performers loose” is a lose-lose proposition as a first-line response. If alternative is firing, superiors may be reluctant to acknowledge a problem and even colleagues and subordinates might shrink from responsibility for destroying a career. When alternatives, such as a different position or behavioral coaching are available, problems are much more likely to be identified early on.