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Emotionally self aware leaderAs a leadership coach and trainer, I am often asked to support managers in developing their leadership capabilities including ‘giving feedback’ to team members. I believe that my role is less about helping the manager rate their team members on their performance and more about helping them to develop the coaching tools they need within their leadership role to position their team members for success, as well as uncovering the things that might be blocking the pathway towards that goal.

This old method of critiquing got me thinking about the current role of the performance review in business and how it might better serve employees if this review was less about what they were doing wrong and more about giving managers and leaders the tools they need to coach employees. In an article published in The Psychological Bulletin, psychologists A. Kluger and A. Denisi provided their findings on a study of performance evaluations. The pair concluded that at least 30 percent of the performance reviews ended up in decreased employee performance. Additionally, in an article in the Harvard Business Review, Tony Schwartz, President and CEO of the Energy Project, and author of Be Excellent At Anything, noted that when someone asks, “would you mind if I give you some feedback?” Most individuals actually hear, “would you mind if I gave you some negative feedback?”

According to Mercer’s 2013 Global Performance Management Survey, roughly 1 in 3 global organizations say that improving managers’ ability to have candid dialogue with employees has the greatest impact on the overall performance of an organization. The survey goes on to suggest that the two aspects of a leader’s skills that offer the most success are linking performance to career development and setting goals. The survey calls these goals SMART or specific, measurable, ambitious but attainable, relevant and time bound.

One of the biggest problems with performance reviews is that they focus on the past instead of looking towards the future. Additionally, the timeliness (or lack of timeliness) in an annual performance review makes attaining goals very difficult. If someone has a problem, does waiting a year to address it solve the problem? Here are some coaching tools that help make performance assessments more effective – and more of an opportunity to foster growth within team members.

Use regular one-on-one check-ins.
Regular check-ins, as opposed to waiting for the annual performance review, allow leaders and managers to work collaboratively with team members and offer valuable insight, knowledge, guidance and suggestions to help them resolve issues and work towards reaching their goals .

Encourage peer-to-peer coaching
Giving team members permission to provide their insight to other team members can be a powerful and valuable learning experience for everyone. It is important to create parameters for this peer coaching and offer employees coaching tools to be successful. At ALCN we are often asked to help organizations develop a coaching culture so that team members are able to use coaching tools to create a more emotionally intelligent organization. Consider using staff meeting as collaborative problem solving sessions. This simple step can go far to build cohesion among team members, inspire creative problem solving skills and create a working environment where employees feel supported and heard.

Are you wondering how your organization can adopt a coaching culture rather than an annual review mentality? At the Academy of Leadership Coaching & NLP (ALCN) we work with organizations worldwide to design coach training programs that help develop a corporate coaching philosophy. Feel free to contact us for more information!

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