Coaching Skills, Behaviors and Performance

If you’re a manager, director, or even the C-level executive of your department, then you may already be aware of the disparity that often exists between the training dollars you spend and the performance results you are getting from that training

Training is a good thing and it’s necessary for acquiring the skills needed to meet the performance levels you set. The problem is getting the training to stick after the training session is over.

How do we ensure the skills that were acquired through training actually develop into the competencies needed to perform the job? Well that happens only through performance coaching conducted after the training is done.

Now there are two conditions for a coaching session to take place:

  1. You must have personally observed the behavior, the skills or the performance level you plan to coach.
  2. You must ensure that the person being coached has already been trained in the skills or behaviors you plan to coach.

Also, keep in mind there is a difference between lagging coaching and leading coaching. Lagging coaching is corrective and useful for changing behaviors and clarifying expectations.  But leading coaching is developmental, and if you’re doing that along the way then you may find that your need to do corrective coaching diminishes greatly.

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So let’s say an employee has been trained in customer service skills, but after three months or so you’re still seeing the same level of performance you saw prior to the training. That’s certainly an opportunity to do some coaching, but that’s also a lagging opportunity instead of leading opportunity.

On the other hand, let’s say you set up weekly observations and follow-up coaching sessions with that employee immediately after the training ends. This gives you an opportunity to develop the skills learning in the training while its still fresh in mind, and stave off any misunderstandings about performance expectations.

The result after the same three-month period is, instead of having to correct undesirable behaviors and retrain skills, you’re now reaping the benefits of a fully developed competency.

Well, that wraps up this edition of the SupportEDGE. Be sure to catch us next time when we’ll look at a tool that will help you coach more effectively. Until then, be sure all your training and development is performance driven and outcomes based.


Eric Svendsen, Ph.D., is principal and lead consultant of SCInc., a learning and development consulting company. Eric has over 20 years experience in creating and executing results-oriented, outcomes-based learning and development initiatives aligned to corporate goals. He specializes in leadership development and coaching, and leading organizational culture-change initiatives around customer support and safety leadership. Eric was personally involved in the development of certification standards, performance standards, exam validation, competency models and training for the customer-support and technical-support industry, and was instrumental in the creation of the only performance-based certification in that industry.

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