Guidelines for Coaching

Guardian Tracking and Chief Ron Glidden (Ret), recently developed a partnership because we have similar goals with different approaches. In a nutshell, we all want to help enhance the culture of your organization.


I recently subscribed to Chief Glidden’s weekly Bulletproof Tips and believe many GT clients will find great value in these as well. One of his recent emails discussed the challenges of coaching employees without making it seem like discipline. Here is a snippet and a few guidelines Glidden suggests:


“Schedule: Schedule coaching sessions on your calendar just like you would for any other appointment. Make sure the employee knows the date and time in advance. Knowing about the meeting in advance minimizes employee apprehension and stress.


Frequency: Some supervisors do these sessions once a month. The time period is not as important as the fact that it is on a regular basis and does not occur only when there is incident that could result in discipline.


Content: The content should be guidance for improvement. If you are in the enviable position of having an employee who needs no improvement, spend the time talking about the good job he is doing, his career goals, or what he thinks you could do to make him more effective.


Document: Some agencies require formal documentation for coaching sessions. You can choose to use your department’s performance management software if you have that option. Some supervisors send an email to the employee recapping the session. Many supervisors maintain a “supervisor’s notebook” (either a real notebook or a file on your computer). However you document the coaching, it is not part of the employee’s personnel file because it is not discipline. If your organization does performance evaluations, this documentation can be used to support why you rated an employee with at a particular level.


If it’s new: If you have never done this with employees before, it may be scary for them at first. They will think they have done something wrong – especially if you only have these meetings when employee mistakes are made (or no other supervisor is doing these coaching sessions). It may take five or six monthly coaching sessions with employees before they come to understand your positive intent. Building trust and improving performance takes time!


Don’t: Don’t wait for a problem to arise before scheduling, and don’t confuse coaching with either training or disciplinary action. Coaching, counseling, training, and discipline each have a purpose. Coaching is just one of your tools.”

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