I've had a few directs who resist coaching and I wanted some feedback on how to handle it. 

These are people who perform well enough in their regular jobs, but I'd like to see them improve their abilities and move their careers forward.  It would certainly benefit the company, but I think they'd want to do it for their own benefit.  They just don't seem to want to. 

My intentions are to use these improvements to justify a raise for them when they accomplish the goals, and I express that to them in the beginning.  But in these few cases it doesn't seem to make a difference. 

The only solution I've come up with is to just let it go.  During their quarterly reviews I usually end up recommending them for "no change", and if they challenge that assessment, I ask them to show me what they've done in the last 3 months that would help me justify a raise.  Usually all they can show is that they've done their job, which I explain is equal to their existing wage and doesn't justify the raise.

In a couple of cases, they don't even object to the "no change" assessment, and just go on about their business.  In those cases, my only thought is that someday they will approach me about a raise, at which time I'll show support for the idea and offer to start coaching them on the things that would help me justify a raise for them. 

Is this a good approach?  Are there any podcasts that give guidance on this subject? 

KTatley's picture
Training Badge

And it's probably one of the worst.


In my opinion I think you need to find what else is important to your staff. Perhaps look at their DISC profiles.


But what is also effective is part of the feedback model - the part where you explain the consequences of what they do. If you can explain why their roles are important because of how they impact customers, people in company, society etc. then I think this is part of the key to show why they should get better at this.


The example is a receptionist job - many might feel like this position is not important in the way a CEO role is important but if you were to give feedback including words such as "I'm glad when I see you at the reception desk because you are the first thing that our customers and employees see and it is really important to put a friendly face on our organisation"


Then you will be showing your staff how they and their jobs are important and I think you can use this as the key to unlock better performance.



mattpalmer's picture

I'd like to highlight and expand one thing that ktatley touched on in his reply: you need to know what is important to your people, and then use that to explain how coaching gets them what they want.  If they want promotions or raises, then that's easy.  But perhaps they just want to be really good at their current job.  Hell, perhaps they hate this job, and want to find a completely different one.  You can match up what you coach them on with what they want.

Even in the case where someone wants a completely different job, I'm *sure* there is some overlap between what you need them to do well, and what they'd need to do well in their desired job.  Coach them on that.  Sure, it might hasten their departure, but that's probably a good thing overall -- you've now got an open spot you can fill with someone who *really* wants the job you've got on offer.  Until they leave, you've got a direct who is better at their job than they were before.

To broaden this out into a quick "Motivation 101", the only way you can get anyone to do *anything* is by making them *want* to do it.  You can build a relationship with a person, so there is mutual respect, and so they'll want to do what you ask them because they want to maintain the relationship (hey look, one-on-ones!)  Or, you can make someone do something by making the consequences of not doing it worse than the consequences of doing it (use your role power to not give them a raise, or to fire them).  At the moment, you're relying on your role power, and that's a quick way to produce a group of people who live their work lives in fear and distrust -- not where you want to be.

Making people do things out of fear only generates the bare minimum of *compliance* with your instructions.  Instead, work out what makes each *individual* on your team tick, and then make sure that wherever possible you align what you need them to do with what they want to achieve.  This will create *commitment* from them, as their innate desires will be part of the energy that drives them to completion.

Given the range of drudge work that we all have to do that nobody in their right mind would *want* to do, it isn't always possible to come up with a strict alignment of someone's fundamental motivations with the work to be done.  You can, however, always rely on one factor of human motivation -- the need to be appreciated.  Think about the times you've really put yourself out for a good friend -- working for 16 hours straight to help them move house, for instance.  Why would you do that -- for *free*, what's more?  Because you like them, they like you, and you feel appreciated when you've done it.  In the same way, if you can build a friendly, open relationship with your directs, and show appreciation for their efforts (in the form of affirming feedback) they will do things simply because it is you asking for them.  Scary powerful stuff.

So, to bring this back around to the topic at hand: if you *know* that raises are someone's motivation, then sure, use those.  But for the vast majority of people, they aren't.  To get people to *want* to be coached, you're going to have to build a relationship and then align your coaching to match their desires (wherever possible) and fall back on their desire to be appreciated for a job well done otherwise.