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Talent Management

Why Managers Should Focus on Coaching, Not Managing

One Minute Takeaway

  • Managers are key to employee engagement and retention
  • Annual performance reviews are disliked by managers and employees
  • The solution is an employee-focused talent development mindset

Employees love to learn. In fact, 94% say they’d stick around longer with a company which invested in their development. But here’s a puzzle: why do employees hate employee reviews? You might think feedback on performance is the number one thing they’d want.

The answer: employees understand traditional appraisals are all about evaluation not development. Some employees worry they’re more likely to end up on a performance improvement plan than hear actionable advice they can use to further their career.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Better performance management is possible, when it’s employee-oriented. If managers learn to see themselves as coaches, rather than disciplinarians, they will facilitate a culture of self-improvement and employee engagement.

The Power of Coaching

Leaders who don’t coach will always struggle to earn full commitment from their employees. As younger generations come to dominate the workforce, employee expectations are changing. Employees want to be challenged, but not micromanaged. According to research by Deloitte, Gen Y are eager to take on more responsibility in order to advance. While pay plays a part, meaningful development opportunities matter.

So, where does coaching fit? The two main components of coaching are goal setting and feedback. A great coach provides a concrete roadmap showing employees what they can achieve. Goal setting means employees always know the direction they are working towards—even if it’s up to them which path to take. Rather than micromanaging, you’re inspiring them with the bigger picture.

Continuous feedback gives employees the opportunity to keep improving. If they need support, they should get it immediately. This mindset means the end of annual performance reviews. Think like a sports coach—you’re there to give your people the tools they need to win. Coaches give feedback whenever necessary, rather than waiting till the end of the season.

How Organizations Gain from Better Coaching

It’s not just employees who feel the benefits of moving toward employee-focused performance management and away from traditional top-down performance appraisals.  Here are three key ways coaching can benefit your organization:

  1. Overcome costly and time-consuming performance problems
    By integrating coaching in your organization, you can identify performance problems much faster. This gives you more time to take the appropriate measures, like re-aligning employees’ objectives, or offering mentoring to help your employees succeed.

  2. Strengthen employees’ skills
    Coaching allows managers to pass on valuable skills and knowledge. Eventually, this boosts productivity. Paying close attention to employee performance also means there’s a better chance of noticing employee skills and potential you weren’t aware of. You’ll be more informed about the competencies of your team and able to make better decisions in future.

  3. Improve retention
    If employees are coached, supported and encouraged by managers—they’ll be more productive, more engaged and less likely to jump ship. This is especially true if coaching is a two-way conversation, where employees feel their voice is really heard. With closer relationships, managers are also in a better position to make key succession planning decisions.

How Paycor Helps

Paycor creates HR software for leaders who want to make a difference. Our Human Capital Management (HCM) platform modernizes every aspect of people management, from the way you recruit, onboard and develop people, to the way you pay and retain them. But what really sets us apart is our focus on business leaders. For 30 years, we’ve been listening to and partnering with leaders, so we know what they need: HR technology that saves time, powerful analytics that provide actionable insights and dedicated support from HR experts.