How to Have Effective 1 on 1 Coaching Conversations With Your People


If you could increase the productivity of your team, retain them longer and reduce conflict, would you expect to make more money? I'm willing to bet that you would. If you could make more money by spending 1 hour per month in a one on one coaching conversation with your key people - would you do it?

What tends to happen is that managers spent 80% of their time with their poor performers who may make small or no advances and only 20% of their time with average or high performers who have the potential to make huge advances.

Poor performers

  • Make excuses and blame others
  • Cost you money
  • Don’t take responsibility for their actions
  • Take huge amounts of your time and others in your team

Common mistake: Not moving poor performers on quickly enough. Poor performers cost you time, money and customers. If not dealt with, you can also lose the respect of the rest of your team.

Average performers

  • Stay below the radar
  • Plod along but could be more engaged and getting better results
  • Are capable of much more

Common mistake: Are left to their own devices and never improve.

High performers

  • Need to be challenged or they will eventually get bored
  • Sometimes aren’t team players
  • Sometimes have hard to deal with egos

Common mistake: Are not challenged and as a result they get bored and go and work for someone who will give them a challenge.

Having effective monthly 1 on 1 coaching conversations will produce a motivated, committed and engaged team of individuals who are accountable and produce results.

So how do you have effective coaching conversations?

Plan the meeting.

  1. Understand the individual. How do they like to be managed? Not everyone likes to be managed the way you do so you may need to adjust your style to get results from them.
  2. Understand what motivates them.
  3. Know what the objective of the 1 on 1 is if you have a curly issue to deal with. What do you want them to do as a result of the 1 on 1?
  4. Review their performance over the past period. Are they on track? Ahead or behind? How will you deal with this?

There are 4 key parts to an effective coaching meeting:

  1. Review the past period. It is important to get them to tell you about the past period. It’s not your meeting, it’s theirs – ask them how they felt they went towards their goals.
  2. Discuss successes and challenges. What went well and why? What issues or roadblocks did they come up against? How did they overcome them?
  3. Discuss support required. Moving forward, how can you help them to achieve their goals? Understand what is going well for them and what skills they may need. Do they need training, a mentor or information? What help do they need to feel comfortable about a new challenging project you may have given them? What is important to them moving forward?
  4. Set mutually agreed goals. What do they need to achieve over the next month? It is important that you both agree so that the individual is suitably challenged but not feeling like they are being pushed into something they don’t think is possible. If you don’t agree – negotiate until you do!

This is a monthly process that they will look forward to if you do this well. The key thing to remember here is that this is not a performance review meeting. It is about coaching and supporting them to push themselves so they feel motivated and engaged.

Following a proven coaching process will motivate your team as well and make them accountable and responsible for their results.

poor performer will either pick up their game or may resign if you’re lucky and save you the job of getting rid of them.

An average performer that is now motivated may quickly become a high performer or at the very least perform at a much higher level.

high performer will love you for the challenge and become fully engaged adding to their already high level of performance.

This is the process or how-to of coaching your people.


Jo Fife
Grow Your Business


Jo fife is the creator of ‘Grow your business', a business support, training and networking company. Her focus is on business community providing the tools for business growth as well as the powerful combination of networking and learning.

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