01 March 2017 Using the 5-Step Coaching Method to Provide Performance Enhancing Feedback
Submitted by Jared Geers, Regional Trainer, Towne Park
Lindsay was a guest service captain at a prominent upscale hotel in Nashville, TN. Lindsay along with the other captains led the team of guest service associates in providing valet parking, bell service, and greeting at the front of the hotel. Lindsay enjoyed working in a fast paced environment but had recently encountered increased pressure from her manager to correct some undesirable appearance issues of her valet team members.
Lindsay tried highlighting the company/ hotel appearance policy during morning shift huddles each week, but after a month, there was not much traction. Lindsay would find that when she addressed these issues in this group setting, there were still individual offenders that failed to live up to the strict appearance standards.
Several weeks later Lindsay’s account manager pulled her aside and again questioned why she had been unable to influence her associates to adhere to the appearance standards on her shifts. Lindsay inhaled, let out a deep sigh and proclaimed, “I tell them almost every day and they don’t seem to listen or care. I don’t know what else to do. I don’t have the authority to write anyone up- only you can do that. I don’t know what else I can do!”
Think about the last associate performance problem that you had to deal with in your operation. How did you handle it? Did it get to a point where you felt obligated to issue formal performance documentation such as a write-up or performance improvement plan? If so, think about everything that led up to that point. Had you as the supervisor or manager had multiple, individual conversations with the associate discussing the issue at hand? Or had the performance issue been allowed to cultivate to the point where formal performance documentation was deemed necessary?
There is an effective way in which leaders can garner positive performance changes from associates before arriving at the point of formal disciplinary documentation. Let us explore this very simple, yet effective method that leaders can deploy on a daily basis to provide valuable performance-enhancing feedback to their associates in order to achieve desired results.
The 5-Step Coaching Method
1. Praise in Public, Coach in Private
Most individuals like to be recognized key achievements or high performance. Use settings like daily huddles, staff meetings or announcements or newsletters to recognize and exemplify positive performance.
Performance-based coaching on the other hand should be off to the side or in a private area so associates do not feel singled-out or embarrassed in front of their peers.
2. Explain your observation of the associate’s current behavior and then explain or demonstrate the desired behavior and its benefits.
Point out an example of what the associate is doing currently. Explain and show the associate how they can better approach a task or action and how it will benefit them, their team, the customer, or the company. It’s encouraged to ask questions to ensure understanding or buy-in.
3. Observe associates behavior
Observe the associate in action. Is he beginning to make adjustments in his behavior that are leading toward desired results? Take notes of what you’re seeing.
4. Provide positive reinforcement or additional coaching
If the associate is or has made positive change, be sure to provide the associated with verbal praise, or formal recognition, specifically citing their improvement.
If the associate is still not performing the task or item satisfactorily, or has not made positive change, then repeat step 2.
5. Notify manager
Finally, when appropriate, notify the appropriate manager of their progress.
Notifying the appropriate manager of an associate’s progress can provide an additional opportunity for positive reinforcement.
Sometimes if the desired results are not achieved through this coaching method, escalation to the appropriate manager for formal performance documentation may be required.
The more time I spend out in various operations training and talking to associates, managers, clients, guests and patients, it becomes clearer to me that the front-line supervisors and managers that have regular feedback sessions like those described above have the most well-trained associates, the highest levels of service, and the happiest clients or customers. Not surprisingly, intangibles such as a positive workplace culture and a high level of trust between associates and leadership often accompany these desirable results.
How often are you providing this type of feedback to your associates?
Disclaimer: The 5-Step Coaching Method is best used when coaching individuals on tasks or items where methods of doing work are clearly defined. This model was not specifically designed for use where the desired result may have many different acceptable approaches and may be determined by one’s experience, leadership style, and broad knowledge-base. For example, I would not use this method if I were a consultant working with a CEO of a company to formulate the 3-year strategic plan for her organization. The road map for this task is surely not clearly defined. I would, however, use this method if I were a trainer attempting to correct the way a commercial airline pilot completes an item on pre-flight checklist. The process for performing the visual inspection of the aircraft wing is highly regulated and more clearly defined.
Jared Geers, C.H.S.
Regional Trainer, Towne Park
Jared is an experienced hospitality and managed-services professional with specialization in guest service, operations management, and learning and development. Some of his clients have included Renaissance Hotels and Resorts, Gaylord Opryland, Omni Hotels and Resorts, Destination Hotels and Resorts and UT Health System in the healthcare sector. Jared is fanatical about equipping leaders with knowledge, methods and skills that result in stronger leadership, higher associate engagement and maximum achievement of desired results. Jared continually seeks and participates in learning activities that involve workforce generational studies and leadership of the modern workforce.