Performance Reviews Vs Coaching Conversations
Performance Reviews can be archaic, negative events measuring past performances and providing opinion-based metrics that do not inspire or motivate. In fact, they stress some people out, and others are just bored with the tick-and-flick process. To put it simply they are often one-directional (manager to employee), episodic (i.e., infrequent and isolated) and focused on past mistakes that often can't be fixed.
Coaching conversations, on the other hand, are about now and what's next. Coaching conversations put the team-members strengths and future potential at the centre of an ongoing future-focused dialogue.
Performance Reviews focus on the Past; Coaching Conversations Focus on the Future. That's not to we should stop giving past-oriented feedback altogether. There's no doubt that reflecting on past performance and discussing how it went is important -- it facilitates learning. The problem is team-members typically experience Performance Reviews as criticism that is delivered far too long after the fact. This should be delivered as feedback - feedback is helpful when it's immediate and constructive but feedback alone does not translate to great coaching.
Great managers take their coaching to the next level by:
- proactively anticipating topics that will be useful to employees in the future.
- they paint a vision for the future
- create purpose, and
- establish ongoing dialogue with employees that helps them comfortably discuss issues they encounter along the way.
Great coaching conversations are a two-way street and employees should:
- feel encouraged to share their perspective,
- ask questions and
- raise issues.
It should also be a busy two-way street - frequent, meaningful conversations are key to fostering collaboration and engaged performance.
Great workplace coaches do exponentially more than just tell you what to do - they inspire you to achieve more than you thought you could. By opening the door to great conversations, difficult conversations become easier, too.
Important issues are no longer a surprise -- you can see them coming and hopefully do something about them before they become a problem. Building up understanding and trust through continuous coaching conversations allows you to have those tough conversations far more easily.
Why not try turning those boring Performance Reviews upside down and introduce Coaching Conversations to your workplace instead - and watch your team thrive.