SafetyCulture Summit 2020

Workplace Coaching: Empowering Employees

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Published March 26th, 2020

How Workplace Coaching Empowers Employees

Workplace coaching means empowering employees to be the best performers that they can be and setting them up for success in the workplace by providing the tools that they can use to increase their knowledge, improve their skills, and cultivate their willingness to do the job. Coaching is the continuous two-way feedback between the employee and the coach with the intention to work on areas for improvement and reinforce strengths to sustain the progress of the employee’s performance.

This article will briefly discuss 5 important aspects to consider when coaching, provide points on what coaching is (and what it is not), and give some guidance on how to come up with SMART action plans. We also offer tools that can help with conducting effective coaching for employees.

5 Important Aspects to Consider when Coaching

Before coaching begins, the coach should be mindful of the following:

1. Coach’s mindset

The coach should have a firm belief in the value of the employee. The coach must begin with the mindset that the employee is worth the coaching effort.

2. The environment

The coaching environment ideally should be conducive to learning and communication. It needs to be a safe space for open, honest, two-way feedback between the employee and the coach.

3. Identification of knowledge, skill, and execution issues

The coach (and the employee) should be able to realize if the performance issue/s arise from lack of knowledge, skill gap, or lack of direction to properly execute a job. The coach should gather information based on the employee’s performance to identify areas for improvement.

4. Employee readiness to be coached

The employee is likely receptive to coaching if the environment is conducive and if the coach is ready. Also consider asking questions like how’s the day going so far for the employee and observe non verbal cues and body language to assess if the employee may be open to coaching at the moment.

5. Communication and learning styles for effective coaching

The coach needs to adjust the method of coaching according to the employee’s learning style: visual, kinesthetic, read/write, auditory. The coaching needs to be communicated well to the employee in order for the coaching session to be effective.

Communication and preparation are important for coaching to be effective. In order to know what to communicate and what to prepare, the coach should know what coaching is and what it is not.

coaching infographic

Coaching is… (and what it is not)?

  • Focusing on future performance – coaching is not meant to assess past performance. The information gathered from past performance is meant to help determine what the employee should improve on moving forward.
  • Continuous – coaching should be done daily and not just during scheduled weekly or monthly sessions. Whether it’s just a quick huddle, via video conference, one-on-one, catch-up, team meeting, as long as it’s an opportunity to address possible improvement, it is considered coaching.
  • Two-way communication between employee and coach – the coach is not supposed to do all the talking during coaching. Majority of the input should be from the employee while the coach should guide the direction of the session with the intention to help the employee realize areas for improvement.
  • Customized according to employee’s development needs – similar areas of improvement or challenges may be discovered during coaching and there may be a tendency to use one generic action plan for different employees – be aware that one approach may not apply to all. The coach should help the employee formulate own action plans and make sure that they are doable for the employee.

Once the employee’s areas for improvement are identified and the employee came up with action plans, the coach is responsible in helping determine if the action plans are actually SMART.

SMART Action Plan

To make sure that action plans are S.M.A.R.T., ask the following questions:

S – Specific

  • What exactly needs to be done to address the issue?
  • Who will do it?
  • What steps will be taken?

M – Measurable

  • What will be the measure of success?
  • How will progress be checked?

A – Attainable

  • What are the limitations?
  • Do we have the resources right now?
  • Can we do this within the timeline?

R – Relevant

  • Has the employee understood the importance of the action plans?
  • Is this aligned with the organization’s objectives?
  • Will this help achieve the goal?
  • Will this actually impact the customer?

T – Time-bound

  • What is meant to be achieved by the deadline?
  • Is there a deadline set to complete the action?
  • What dates will the action/s need to be done?

Once the coach and the employee agree that the actions plans are indeed SMART, document the coaching session, commit to the action plans, and monitor employee progress. Use tools with cloud-based storage like iAuditor to record the coaching session and document the ongoing progress of the employee.

Employee coaching forms that are easy to use and custom-made according to the company needs will be great tools for employees and coaches to document and monitor employee progress. iAuditor group administrators can control the permissions of iAuditor users to make sure that the right coaches get the right coaching forms according to their department’s needs. iAuditor’s Analytics can help monitor coaching items, look out for trends, and observe if action plans are indeed working to help employees improve.


Erick Brent Francisco

SafetyCulture staff writer

As a staff writer for SafetyCulture, Erick is interested in learning and sharing how technology can improve work processes and workplace safety. Prior to SafetyCulture, Erick worked in logistics, banking and financial services, and retail.