How to coach, lead employees in a timely, effective way

May 4, 2018 By    

Photo:; gustavofrazao

The roles we play in the business environment today require that we wear many hats.

Your position might be responsible to lead a sales team; you might be the general manager who oversees revenue-generating products, drivers, fleets; you might be the office manager responsible for collecting money and managing customer invoicing, files and ensuring billing is done on time.

Whatever your role, it is essential to have coaching and leadership skills to manage relationships with employees, customers, vendors and business partners. Most managers often view coaching as a formal activity rather than an in-the-moment opportunity for development. Perhaps this formal activity is an annual written performance review. Does that mean you offer performance feedback only once a year? I hope not.

Great coaches provide positive and negative feedback in a timely and effective manner. In our business, there are many opportunities for windshield time. When is the last time you got in the truck with a driver or took your office manager to lunch? I can’t think of a more casual, informal way to connect with your employees. Here are a few questions to ask:

⦁ Are there any difficult customers with whom you could use assistance?
⦁ How is the teamwork between you and the office staff?
⦁ Is there anything you need to be more effective in your job?
⦁ Is there anything you might suggest that would make our business better?

Following your meeting, a best-practice example would be to jot down a few notes for the employee’s file regarding your conversation, what stood out and if there were any coaching moments that were significant and may warrant follow up in a timely manner.

Presently, there is a lot of chatter in the HR world about formal/traditional performance reviews becoming a thing of the past. However, I do believe there is real value in the process.

We own C-stores and are currently launching a written performance review for our clerks. Our employees complete the form about themselves and then we get together without reading their form ahead of time and compare the two. The exercise is interesting, and it indicates how well our district manager is at providing on-time coaching. It has been a positive and welcoming process thus far and is proving to be a great new skill for our district manager.

Ask Cathy Wallace of San Isabel Services Propane in Pueblo West, Colorado, about employee-related issues. Contact her at or 720-252-1110.

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