3 Feedback Questions You Need to Ask for Employee Coaching

by Chris Young

Rainmaker 3 3 1Imagine a star performer who makes significant contributions who is seemingly happy; however, they are not. They are unhappy with you yet, due to their of position power, they say nothing.  There is a misunderstanding that you are unaware about, and it is on their mind.

Unfortunately, you often do not know there is a problem until performance noticeably suffers or they quit.

Other than who you hire, the single greatest opportunity for improvement in a company is through active employee coaching and feedback.  

Three big questions for you to consider.

  • When is the last time you provided candid coaching and feedback to an employee team member regarding their performance?
  • When is the last time a subordinate hit you between the eyes with their own candid feedback?
  • Is your coaching and feedback provided at regular intervals or only when something goes wrong?

When I ask an employee team member's of clients when they last received candid coaching or feedback, most indicate they cannot recall the last time other than perhaps a performance review two or three years ago.  Even fewer indicate they regularly receive coaching and feedback unless they screw up.Yet the benefits are clear.  High and medium job fit employees perform better when they are coached and encouraged on a regular basis - especially when they know their voice is heard - the feedback goes both ways.  Regular feedback leads to improved employee engagement as well as performance.There are four typical reasons why regular coaching and feedback are not provided:

  1. No time - Like most, you believe you are too busy to invest the extra time it takes to provide coaching and feedback.  Your employee engagement can lead to improved employee morale, motivation, and productivity.  When you engage and encourage employee team members - their performance increases and with it - they can lighten your workload saving you time.  The "no time argument" is a fallacy - perhaps you are just scared.
  2. A workplace culture that fears conflict - Not all companies are open to candid coaching and feedback.  If your management style is more that of a "benevolent dictator" - your employee team members are less likely to freely share their concerns, ideas, and questions.  If this is your culture - you need to ask yourself, "What are we missing out on?"  Companies who fear conflict avoid addressing issues, hinder innovation and guard the status quo.  The ultimate end result of fear of conflict is the right things do not get said and ultimately do not get done.
  3. Fear of hurting the feelings of the employee - Many managers believe they are "being a little hard on the Beaver" by giving them candid feedback.  I would argue that you are actually harming your subordinates and yourself far more by saying nothing when you should be. 
  4. Belief that coaching is something only highly-compensated or low-performing employees receive - Too many companies and too many people believe that only the highest-paid and the lowest-performing employee team members receive coaching.  You can either invest the time coaching and providing feedback actively to all team members - or you can spend the time later cleaning up the mess of failing to do so.  

Let's face it.  Providing candid coaching and feedback is uncomfortable and it does take time. Yet the benefits are significant - very, very significant.

How to provide candid coaching and feedback in a safe manner.

We have developed a candid coaching and feedback program we call the "Rainmaker 331".  It is very, very simple to use with your subordinates.  

The intent of the "Rainmaker 331" is to simply identify what is going well and identify the “rocks” that may get in the way of progress and to do so on a regular basis.   

The "Rainmaker 331" is a “dual feedback” approach.  The supervisor provides feedback to the employee team member and the employee team member provides feedback to their supervisor. 

The "Rainmaker 331" should be completed at least monthly, but bimonthly is recommended – especially with new hires.  

There are three critical questions that are asked in the "Rainmaker 331":

  • What are three things that are going well?
  • What are three things that are not going well?
  • What is one thing I need help with?

When you engage your employee team members in meaningful coaching and feedback, you get increased employee engagement and results.   Conduct the "Rainmaker 331" with your team members.  You will be surprised at how effective it can be in improving performance.