Setting challenging performance expectations while clearly communicating confidence in the individual's ability to excel; addressing performance gaps; rewarding and celebrating accomplishments. Click here for associated skills and behaviors.

Ways to Demonstrate this Skill

Development Activities

§         Make sure that direct reports clearly understand what is expected of them and hold them accountable for:

·         Performance standards.

·         Expected behavior.

·         Knowledge and level of skill required.

§         Seek information and listen to understand:

·         Reasons for current behavior.

·         Any misconceptions or misunderstandings that are affecting performance.

§         Take individual style and cultural preferences into account when deciding whether to accept or modify behavioral issues.


§         Work with your direct reports to identify the specific ways in which their work contributes to your team’s or department’s objectives and supports the organizational strategy. Identify work activities that do not support this focus. Discuss the feasibility of modifying those activities to better support the strategic plan.

§         With staff, develop performance objectives that are observable, quantifiable and measurable.

§         Encourage staff members to work toward performance improvement with specific objectives in mind; coach on how to follow a systematic improvement process.  Consider providing guidance in writing.


§         Help people develop skills:

·         Give clear direction and explanations. 

·         Make sure they have a good model to observe.

·         Encourage questions and provide clear, timely answers.

§         Hold your direct reports accountable for having development plans for their direct reports.

·         Coach your direct reports on developing their staff members.


§         Identify a peer or leader recognized for providing developmental opportunities. Ask for advice about how to bring the same focus to your work.

§         Ask your staff how they define developmental improvement; try to reach a common definition that they can adopt as their own.

§         List what you are doing to meet the following criteria. To what extent are your direct reports:

·         Involved in development planning?

·         Understanding their role and responsibilities in carrying out various tasks?

·         Encouraged to improve?

·         Trained in developing and improving necessary job skills?

·         Documenting their individual progress milestones?

·         Recognized for continuous, consistent quality improvement?

§         Create a development plan with each team member, prioritize the objectives, identify specific and achievable measures of success, and agree on when and how the plan will be reviewed. 


§         Give people feedback on how they are doing that is:

·         Timely.

·         Specific about what it is they are or are not doing.

§         Express confidence in people’s ability to do what you (or others) have asked them to do.

§         When you see someone performing below requirements, discuss it right away and work with them to correct it in a timely manner.

§         Reinforce people when you see them doing whatever you are trying to encourage, whether good performance, better skills or desirable behavior.


§         Maintain accurate files for each employee, including performance and personal development objectives, meeting notes, records of conversations, etc.

§         Create an environment in which feedback is expected and accepted.

§         Provide timely, accurate, clear, and continuous feedback.

§         Provide a balance between positive and constructive feedback.

§         Evaluate performance on a regular basis against established performance standards in order to identify developmental needs.


§         Maintain good interpersonal relations with others by:

·         Valuing what they know, the role they fulfill, and their uniqueness.

·         Building trust and encouraging dialogue.

§         As much as possible, adjust your coaching approach to the individual’s learning or preferred working style.  For example, an individual may value:

·         Discussions related to personal issues vs. Business only.

·         Direct vs. Indirect feedback.

·         Details.

·         High relationship vs. High task (Situational Leadership Styles taught in CARE’s How to Manage for Results Seminar).


§         Participate in a confidential 360-Degree Feedback process to assist in identifying your strengths and areas for improvement.


Developmental Resources


     If you find workshops and/or web-based training programs a good way for you to learn and develop, and there are funds available, look for opportunities that address the following:

§         Preparing and maintaining the workplace for change and obtaining commitment to improvement efforts.

§         Evaluating performance against quality standards and providing coaching and reinforcement.

§         Developing performance objectives that are observable, quantifiable, and measurable.



§         Gaining direct reports’ commitment to action plans.

§         Communicating performance objectives clearly.

§         Ensuring the skills and resources are in place to support developmental plans and opportunities.

§         How to influence others.


     The following books are resources on coaching:

     Bell, C.R. (2002). Managers as Mentors: Building Partnerships for Learning (2nd ed.)San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

     Blanchard, K., Hybels, B., & Hodges, P. (1999). Leadership by the Book: Tools to Transform Your Workplace. New York: William Morrow.

     Crane, T.G., & Patrick, L. (2001). The Heart of Coaching: Using Transformational Coaching to Create a High-Performance Culture (Rev. ed.). San Diego, CA: FTA Press.

     Foster, B., & Seeker, K.R. (1999). Coaching for Peak Employee Performance: A Practical Guide to Supporting Employee Development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.

     Herbelin, S., & Guiney, P. (2000). Work Team Coaching: An Interpersonal Approach to High Performance (Rev. ed.). Riverbank, CA: Riverbank Books.

     Holliday, M. (2001). Coaching, Mentoring, and Managing: A Coach Guidebook (Rev. ed.). FranklinLakes, NJ: Career Press.

     Hudson, R.M. (1999). The Handbook of Coaching: A Comprehensive Resource Guide for Managers, Executives, Consultants, and Human Resource Professionals. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

     Kegan, R. and Lahey, L.L. (2001) How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work. San FranciscoCA: Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Company. (Note: this is an extremely powerful approach to getting people to change ineffective behaviors and commit to actual change in how they work and how they relate to each other. Highly recommended for any effort where you must influence others to do things differently.)

     Logan, D.C., & King, J.P. (2001). The Coaching Revolution: How Visionary Managers are Using Coaching to Empower People and Unlock Their Full Potential. Holbrook, MA: Adams Media Corporation.

     Whitworth, L., House, H., Sandahl, P., & Kimsey-House, H. (1998). Co-Active Coaching: New Skills for Coaching People Toward Success in Work and Life. Palo Alto, CA: Davies-Black.




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