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How To: Coaching Behaviors That Last
8 August, 2018

Coaching employees can prove to be difficult. Managers and directors want their employees to actively pursue initiatives to increase profitability, sometimes in the form of improving customer experience, using sales tactics to increase revenue or offering the right products/services when the opportunity presents itself.

However, taking company goals and pursuing them through lasting change in the form of employee coaching can be difficult. Often, coaching initiatives start off strong, but fall off as time passes and employees fail to solidify positive behaviors. Managers and directors should use the following approach to makes sure the behaviors they coach are meaningful and create lasting change within their organizations:

Identifying End Goals

Managers should lead any behavioral coaching by identifying the goals of the company. These goals are great to introduce even before coaching initiatives begin. By aligning employees with the central goals of the company, and talking about how those goals will positively impact all of the individuals associated with the business, managers create excitement and energy necessary at the beginning of any new initiative. Giving these company goals lays the framework for changes that follow in terms of coaching new employee behaviors.

Identifying Behavioral Goals

An important framework for creating a positive sense of achievable responsibility among employees is to set realistic behavioral goals, which are intended to pursue company goals. Take the example of a company goal at a retail clothing store to increase denim sales. Managers can identify employee behaviors, like informing customers of a buy-one-get-one-half-off sale for all denim in store, as a measurable tool to fuel denim sales. In this example, if an employee historically only informs customers who ask about sales of the buy-one-get-one deal, there is a major opportunity for growth in the form of informing 90% (or more) of customers. This behavior, which drives denim sales, is measurable, coachable and achievable for the employee to pursue.

Making a Case for Change

Once new sets of measurable behaviors have been established, managers and directors should explicitly tie those pieces back to company goals and give employees regular reminders about the way their actions impact the business (and their personal wellbeing) as a whole. Managers should also be willing to overcome barriers, including discomfort employees may feel with certain behaviors. Understanding the root cause of their discomfort, having an open discussion and making sure the behavior is palatable for employees is key to gain buy-in.

Measuring Progress of Behavioral Goals

Regularly checking in and finding smart, efficient ways to measure employee progress toward goals is essential to create lasting change and hold employees accountable. Without regular check-ins, employees can revert to old habits too easily and ignore advice from their managers. By checking in on their progress, and making sure those behaviors are measurable, managers can more successfully coach, and also better understand the efficacy of the behaviors they’re coaching.

Reinforcing Positive Behavior by Connecting Positive Outcome

Importantly, success among employees should be celebrated. When good behaviors are followed and goals are met, employees should be praised, congratulated, and incentivized to further their positive behaviors. By providing an incentive, whether financial or otherwise, employees can be encouraged not only to continue the positive behaviors they’ve established, but come up with innovative ways to develop new initiatives and further drive profitability.