The purpose of one-on-one coaching meetings is to maintain focus on achieving a goal and to provide the necessary levels of direction, development, and support for people that report directly to you. When implemented, one-on-one coaching meetings will make each of your direct reports more focused and empowered to take on their individual tasks and goals. That’s why it’s very important for any leader in a business to understand how to run one of these meetings properly and effectively. This blog is here to help you with that.
Here is the most effective method for running a one-on-one coaching meeting.
Preparation by the Employee
To ensure a smooth one-on-one meeting with your employee, it’s important that they are prepared to give you the numbers and any other needed information before the meeting takes place.
It’s not unusual for employees to spend fifteen to thirty minutes preparing for this weekly coaching meeting by pulling all the information from the past week together in an organized fashion. They should also show up to the meeting with a list of their concerns, frustrations, questions, ideas, etc. Basically, they should bring anything they need to discuss with you.
Preparation by the Manager
One-on-One coaching meetings are almost always the highest impact event of the week for the manager. Because of this, excellent preparation is very important.
The first step is to analyze the metrics for the employee and their business areas so that you have questions to dig into with them.
Before the meeting, take a step back and ask yourself how the employee is feeling these days. How is their commitment level? How are their skill and commitment level related to each of the key projects they’re working on? What “situational leadership” style might you use on various projects you’ll be discussing?
“[Situational leadership] is when a leader adjusts their type of leadership to best suit a particular situation or task.” – Indeed
Creating and distributing a simple one-on-one coaching meeting preparation form can be very helpful for both the manager and the employee.
Right off the bat, you need to gauge the feelings of the employee. Coaching meetings go far better when you know how to read the mood of the employee and therefore are aware when to change the direction of the subject or tone to be more supportive. Often, if you miss this step, your meetings are going to go wrong or be far less productive than they can be.
Most likely, you will start this meeting by saying, “So, (employee’s name), how are you doing?” The next few words spoken by your employee, and the way they say them, will give you immediate information on how invested each of you is in this meeting.
Understanding the direction this meeting is going to take simply by the first few words of the employee is a skill that is especially important to master if you’re leading people who work remotely where you can’t read their body language.
If their response to “How are you doing?” is favorable, such as “great” or “good,” then proceed with the coaching meeting. In some cases, though, you might get an unfavorable response such as, “not so good” or “brutal.” At that moment, you have to immediately find out what the dilemma is and diffuse it. You’ll learn that there is a mix of maturity levels within your base of employees.
Review Actual Results vs. Goal Set
Following up on goals is important. As a leader, you want your employees to learn and hit the goals they promised. This builds commitment and discipline.
If they hit their goals, lots of praise is due. If they missed their goals, then delve deeper by asking as many probing questions as it takes to uncover the root cause. From there you can help move them and their project along. It’s important at first to put the brunt of the focus on getting results, not setting new goals. That comes at the end.
You’ve discussed goals, now, when an employee misses their goals you have to ask why. This is what drives the analysis of the meeting, helps to generate options to fix things, and eventually results in making recommendations to overcome the restraints and maximize the forward-driving forces. This is where you both work to ensure that any future goals are achieved.
As a leader, it’s part of your job to develop and refine your employee’s problem-solving skills. You’re not responsible for solving these problems, but you are responsible for coaching them on how to solve their own problems.
Set Goals for the Next Period
In the middle of the coaching meeting, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of results over new goals. Now that the meeting is coming to a close and you both already know the importance of results and problem solving, it’s finally time to dedicate a little time to make new goals. Your employees can use what they’ve learned from their previous goals and from your discussion on problem-solving to work to achieve these new ones.
One-on-One coaching meetings are very important to keep everyone focused on improving and achieving goals. Dedicating the time to have these meetings and putting the work in to learn how to do them right is never time wasted.
If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send an email, and my team will get in touch with you!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2014 and has been edited for accuracy and comprehensiveness.