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Coaching for Performance

When I was conducting research for my book, Literally Virtually: Making Virtual Teams Work, I came across an interesting statistic. More than half of the workforce has no clear measures to assess their performance. This month’s Tip of the Month helps develop the right approach to one-on-one coaching sessions.

How to Approach Coaching Sessions

In the global marketplace today, 57 percent of employees have no clear measures in place to assess individual and team performance. Another 45 percent of employees say their team has no tool or system in place to track milestones.

Virtual leaders often struggle with the issue of not knowing whether their remote employees are really working. Conversely, virtual team members may wonder whether their leader truly understands and appreciates the work they put in when they are separated by time and space. These issues highlight some of the challenges of virtual work. Without clear expectations and clear measures of progress, both performance and engagement become at risk.

The foundation of effective coaching that’s helpful, constructive and developmental, is a combination of clear goals and expectations coupled with clear means to track and assess performance. When there is shared understanding of these, combined with regular feedback about progress, team members excel.

Before You Begin Your Coaching Sessions

Before coaching, consider each team member about their goals, ask yourself three important questions:

  1. Are my team member’s goals specific, measurable and timebound? Are they in writing?
  2. If I asked my team member to explain their understanding of their goals, would it be the same as mine?
  3. Have I discussed with each team member and agreed to specific due dates for their goals and how success will be measured?

There’s an old saying, “You can’t coach what you can’t describe.” Without “yes” answers to these questions, it is likely you and your team members will view their goals differently. The consequence can be goals that are unmet or met by different standards, missed deadlines, and likely disappointment on all fronts.

Take a look at the following tips to learn how you and your team members can clarify performance expectations and progress.

Here’s a Tip:

  1. Ask your virtual team members to share their understanding of the goals they are expected to accomplish including timelines and how their success will be measured. If their responses are different from your expectations, use this as a coaching opportunity to provide further clarification and shared understanding.
  2. Identify lead and lag indicators that provide feedback about performance so that leaders and members can track and assess individual and team progress.Lag indicators are the qualitative and quantitative results of team member behaviors and collaborations (relationships) which are lead indicators. The table below offers examples of both types of indicators and clues as to performance.

Challenge of the Month

This month, select one virtual team member and collaborate with them to identify the lead and lag indicators for their goals.See what a difference it makes. Let us know how it worked for you and we’ll share it in an upcoming issue of our Tip of the Month.


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