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Coaching Pointer, Tip #6 2005
Check out this week's performance pointer from Penumbra Group, your best resource for training and development solutions.

In our last pointer we discussed the first step of performance coaching: Preparation. Before beginning the Observation phase, sit down with the employee and share with them what you discovered during the analysis/reflection time and set the expectation for the rest of the coaching process.

The goal of Observation is to see your employee in action in order to provide commentary on the positives in their behaviors and some suggestions for improvement. No one wants to feel like someone is looking over their shoulder so you need to explain what you will be looking for and how they can best demonstrate their skills - no surprises. A checklist can work (Did they prepare an agenda for the staff meeting? Did they ask questions? Did they thank the customer?) or a list of competencies can work (Demonstrate knowledge of system / Create PowerPoint presentation / Provide problem resolution to a customer).

The next step is to "shadow" them when they are interacting with co-workers, direct reports or customers. You can let everyone know that you are there to "work in the field". Surprisingly, it won't be long before they fall into their normal patterns of behavior and the more you do it the more naturally they will act when being observed. It's important to always to tell the employee the purpose behind the coaching intervention and where the whole plan is headed. Set this up as a positive win-win for best results.

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