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In talent management, coaching, counseling and giving feedback is of utmost importance.

But it’s a difficult challenge if you don’t have a coaching culture.

When managers become coaches, you get a higher-performing workforce. You will have replaced mediocrity with strong performance. Therefore, it’s best to develop a coaching culture to optimize talent management.

If your employees become toxic or if they backslide in performance and productivity, you need to figure out how to solve the problems.

Essentially, there’s a variety of challenges for you. Be absolutely certain you’re accurate in your employee assessments and avoid errors in evaluations.

For instance, you have to be aware that new workers have a learning curve. Veteran employees are asked to change. Toxic employees are disruptive and destroy morale among your staff.

In many situations, employees are fearful of coaching and don’t respond well. It’s also stressful for you. Avoid management stress. Take the necessary steps to enjoy your job while managing difficult employees.

Frustrations dealing with difficult employees coincide with many management issues – teamwork, morale, organizational dysfunction and weak customer relationships – just to name a handful.

And they’re all related to loss of profit. Especially for toxic employees, it’s vital to develop the best coaching tactics.

In all employee issues, you must always plan well and then self-ascertain how you did in managing the employees.

For example, ask yourself:

  • What went well and what didn’t?
  • What would you change about your approach with the employees?
  • How can you better prepare for such conversations?
  • How can I best support the employees and capitalize on the counseling?

A well-written set of performance goals work to motivate employees and help them to focus better on their responsibilities. They must be written well with the right phrasing.

Concurrently, give employees a chance to mull over what you said and to respond by engaging with you. This helps to guarantee the best results.

The employees become more confident and feel management support to implement an action plan with autonomy in their duties.

Always remember your approach must be to discuss employees and inspire them to work out their challenges vis-à-vis just telling them to improve or telling them what to do.

What if your coaching isn’t working?

Then, you must continue to be fair but to embark on progressive discipline to fix the problems while guarding against possible wrongful termination lawsuits.

Here’s how:

Oral reprimand

Immediately when spotting a performance issue, you should issue an oral reprimand and document it in detail and put it in a separate file (not the employee’s file).

In starting your reprimand, remember to ask if the employee if there are any skill shortcomings or long-term problems.

Outline an action plan.

Do your best to save the employee. This might or might not include referring your worker to your Employee Assistance Program, especially for drug addiction or alcoholism issues.

Written reprimand

If the employee fails to improve or if more problems develop, give the employee a written reprimand about the deficiencies, what’s expected and the possible consequences.

Be sure to explain your benchmarks for improvement in performance.

Have the employee sign an acknowledgment of your written reprimand. Insert in the employee’s HR file.

Ultimate reprimand in writing

Should your efforts fail, give the employee your final written warning. Usually this includes probationary status.

With your warning, include copies of the previous reprimands. Be specific on expected improvements. Specify time frames for improved performance.

Continually review the process

If you have a human resources department, of course, by now HR showed be notified about the issues. Prevent possible challenges to terminating the employee.

For instance, be aware of any discharge-related considerations:

  • Determine whether you have a contract with the employee and any possible restrictions.
  • Check on employee complaints – whether the employee has filed a workers’ compensation claim, complained to government regulators, or strategized to make it look as though you’re retaliating. Retaliation is a huge no-no.
  • Review all your steps to maintain fairness with the employee. You must be able to prove your case should there be legal ramifications.
  • Keep in mind that if you’re forced to terminate workers, you must first ask yourself three important questions.

Commence firing

If, after you’ve given the employee adequate opportunities to improve but the person hasn’t, start the termination process.

From the Coach’s Corner, related information:

10 Best Practices for an Online Employee Handbook — Companies that don’t convert their employee handbooks into electronic documents are missing noteworthy opportunities in human resources. Conversely, businesses that switch to a digital format accomplish at least five HR goals.

For Best Performance, Inspire Employees with Non-Financial Rewards — Money talks, of course, and is a way to motivate employees. But money is not always the chief motivator. Here’s why with some ideas.

HR: Avoid Bias in Evaluating Top Employees Who Backslide — Don’t be too lenient with talented employees with a history of strong performance but who decline in their work. Document every event in any downtrend of performance. Inevitably, many terminated employees will file claims accusing you of discrimination.

Management: 5 Most Common Reasons to Fire Employees — With difficult employees, you have two obvious problems – the impacts on your organization and the behavior of the individual. Here’s what to do.

Management: 7 Tips for Success if You Must Layoff Employees — Companies typically make two short-sighted errors in a business downturn. They slash the workforce and marketing investments. To the contrary, it’s important to place a maximum value on your human capital and avoid layoffs, and to expand marketing.

“Resources are hired to give results, not reasons.”
-Amit Kalantri


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.