As a team leader accountable for the development, coaching and evaluation of team members, it is important to clearly define how you will evaluate them when coaching them. With a clear set of definitions, this will help with the possible conflicts and negative feelings that occur when having difficult coaching conversations.
SET A BENCHMARK
To start, you will need a benchmark to let your team members know a central point of reference in which you base your evaluations and coaching. I usually use a 5 point scoring scale when evaluating specific tasks or situations. For example, a score of 3 for a specific task is the average benchmark score an individual could achieve if they are on par and doing the task correctly. Any score below would demonstrate that the individual would need development or does not meet the set expectations. Anything above the score of 3 would indicate an individual who is above the curve of performance or demonstrated mastery of task. Without a point of reference, the conversation could go in different directions and cause frustration for both the leader and the person being coached.
WHAT GOOD LOOKS LIKE
It is always hard to be on the receiving end of having a below set expectations score and the person being coach is owed an explanation as to what good looks like. If a score is below 3 or the individual wants to progress towards a 4 or 5, you as a leader would need to provide examples of what this looks like. If you see a person performing a task with excellence, then you would want to give them a score of 4 or 5 so that you coach and train your team on what to do and what is considered excellent. Give examples and/or ways the individual could improve.
FOCUS ON A FEW CRITICAL TASKS OR SKILLS
If coaching an individual for a few days or a day, it is important to now go and try to change the person completely with one or two visits. As a leader and coach, you will need to develop an ongoing coaching visit schedule to work with your team to evaluate, coach and allow the individual to work on areas where they could improve. This is where it is critical for you as a leader to identify the one or two areas that is critical for the person to work on to meet goals or perform better at their job. Some leaders and managers fall into the trap of focusing on too many things and not giving the individual a clear area that they need to focus on to help them improve the most. Like with anything, with practice and time we improve. As professionals, coaches help develop strengths and work on weaknesses. If you try to work on too many things in a short period of time, you will not be able to see and realize the full effects of your coaching and leadership. Select a few things to work on, and be sure to identify some key areas to strengthen or needs improving.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF STRENGTHS- WORK ON WEAKNESSES
As a leader, it is important to recognize the strengths of the individual on your team that you are coaching and to select a strength to help maximize and take full advantage of. If a person is really strong in an area, you then want to coach this to excellence so that this person could do something great. Many times, leaders and coaches choose to focus only on weaknesses and make the individual feel beaten up as they feel inadequate to perform. Be a strengths based coach and leader and remember to add in areas of strength to work on.
This does not mean leaving out areas of weakness. If it hinders performance or is a block to their strength, then a leader should use this to evaluate and coach for improved performance. This is where the clearly defined way you evaluate will come into play and to provide your team members with examples of how to improve.