Creating A Written Employee Coaching Plan

I’m often asked to help companies create individual employee coaching plans. As we begin to think about creating this type of document, HR professionals need to fully understand the landscape that they are being asked to traverse. We need to ask three critical questions:

  1. Is this a coaching plan or a performance improvement plan?
  2. Are we targeting this person for the next level?
  3. How will we measure our success?

Once we have the answer to these three questions, we can begin to craft our Employee Coaching Plan. The first question, “Is this a coaching plan or a performance improvement plan?” is the fundamental piece of knowledge we need before we can move forward. If you are asking “What is the difference between the two?” let me explain.

A Coaching Plan is a document that outlines skill gaps that need to be closed. It is generally an outline for improvement for someone who is already successful in the job. We’re working with them to grow their skills-maybe we want to move them around laterally or we’ve gotten some complaints on an area or two that need improvement.

On the other hand, a Performance Improvement Plan, often referred to as a “PIP”, is a document that is designed for someone who is not performing up to expectations in their current role and it generally means if sustained performance doesn’t occur right away, we’ll be asking the employee to leave the organization. Often, we give the person who is going on a PIP the option to resign with severance or go on the PIP. Most employees, unfortunately, tend to choose the PIP when it would have been a much better choice to take the severance. Usually, when a manager is at the PIP stage, the employee is in an unrecoverable state and will ultimately fail. The second question, “Are we targeting this person for the next level?” will help us craft our plan. If we are looking to move this person up in the ranks, a coaching plan might include some interesting development areas. For example, if we have a manager that we are looking to move into the executive ranks, perhaps we need to put some professional polish on them. In that case, the plan might include consulting with an etiquette professional or a wardrobe consultant. If it is presentation skills, we might have them work with an acting coach or another executive in our organization to hone those skills.

Finally, the question “How will we measure our success?” needs to be answered. If we are putting someone on a PIP, our success might be as simple as getting the person to leave the organization voluntarily or it might be that the PIP served as a wake-up call that their performance needed to improve. For a manager, success might be that the person didn’t succeed in the PIP and they now have solid ground to terminate their employment. If on the other hand we’re looking at a coaching plan, success there will be measured by the change in behavior that will allow us to move and grow this individual. It will show determination and willingness to change in order to succeed.

Whatever you do, think back to basic goal development. If you use the SMART methodology in goal setting, making your goals:

  • SPECIFIC (the who, what, where, how and when)
  • MEASURABLE (how will I know when the goal is achieved)
  • ATTAINABLE (the goal is possible to achieve-the person isn’t set up for failure)
  • REALISTIC (it is an objective that you are both willing and able to work towards)
  • TIME BOUND (there is a beginning, a middle, and an end)

You’ll be able to answer the question “How do I create a writing employee coaching plan”.

Learn more at Talent Insight Group