Financial advisors tell us pretty quickly that the past performance of a stellar stock or fund is no guarantee of its future performance. Nevertheless, realizing that someone is in over his/her head can be a real shock to the person who put them in a position of greater responsibility.

In order to recover and better protect your investment, you will need to invest more capital. One way to do that involves using either an internal or an external coach. As the use of coaching becomes more and more popular, it is important to remember that coaching can be both preventive and corrective. Typically, there are four reasons for providing someone a coach.

  1. A need to improve personal performance related to goal achievement or relationships;

  2. Accelerated acclimatization for new employees in key positions;

  3. Development of coaching and leadership skills for those who have skilled, underperforming teams; and

  4. Retention of talent for succession planning purposes.

Right now, we are talking about using a coach to help someone improve personal performance related to goal achievement or relationships. It is hard to admit that you may have promoted someone before he/she is ready for additional and/or different responsibilities. For some of us, it is even harder to admit that we may not be their best coach and that everyone would be better off if someone from outside the organization handled the coaching.

Assuming that you want to give the coaching a shot, here are some questions for you to answer to have the best shot at salvaging the situation and, more importantly, the person. Here’s an old model adapted from the work of Ferdinand Fournies. This should be standard practice for everyone with a performance problem: 

  1. Is correction worth your time and effort? If yes, invest. If no, cut your losses.

  2. Does the manager know performance is unsatisfactory? If yes, advance to next step. If no, let him know and move to next step.

  3. Does the manager have a sense of what to do and when to do it? If yes, advance to next step. If no, provide work planning sessions to develop a new skill.

  4. Are there obstacles beyond the manager’s control? If yes, remove them. If no, advance to next step.

  5. Does manager know how to do the work? If yes, advance. If no, provide training or remove the manager from the position.

  6. If the job is done, are there negative consequences? If yes, change consequences or remove the manager. If no, advance to next step.

  7. Is there a reward for not doing the job? If yes, change the reward system. If no, advance.

  8. Could the manager do the job if he/she wanted to? If yes, advance. If no, remove the manager.

  9. Clarify and confirm your expectations; monitor performance; take appropriate action based on results obtained. That means hold the manager accountable for non/under performance and reward or recognize acceptable performance. 

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