Coaching tip: Determination and ability

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The right focus is very important both for a coach and for an employee. Today I want to share a tip that I got from Henrik at my department. When you try to improve one’s performance, there is no need to spend time on the very best of them, as the reward would be too marginal. There is a saying that focusing on the 60 % in the middle will be the most efficient, as they can improve greatly and have the ability to do so, the bottom 20 % also require a lot of management and coaching to maybe have just marginal improvement. I do not agree on the latter, and have experienced firsthand that people have exploded out of the bottom 20 % to the top 10 %, but I agree that it might be coincidental, still do not live black and white on this rule.

When you need to coach someone, you’ll also need to know what to focus on.
Coaching tip: Determination and ability chartThat is why we drew this chart at the white board today. The horizontal axis shows the person’s ability, the further to the right the more abilities. The vertical axis is determination, the will to succeed, further to the top, the stronger determination.

We placed all employees around the chart. And it will help us figure out who needs what kind of attention.

(a,b,c) is the group that just need a smile and recognition. Tell them that they do a great job, and leave them alone for now.

(d,e) is the ones that really want to succeed but they do not quite get it all. These people need more training to improve ability.

(f,g) are the ones that have the ability but lacks motivation. These people need to be motivated.

(h) is in this case in need of both motivation and training, demanding a lot of work from you. You might consider replacing people that falls into this group.

The danger of no attention.
(f,g) be aware if the ones with abilities lack motivation. If you lack motivation and determination you’ll end up falling behind on new information, and slowly glide to the left, ending up with too little abilities.

(a,b,c) will without recognition and a smile end up falling downwards to end up with no motivation, having the abilities.

(d,e) depend on getting more training and making progress, without it they will also be falling downwards ending up with no motivation and lack the abilities. That is why you should first focus on this group of people, as they might end up in a place no one would like to be in.

(h) if you have people in this category that lack both abilities and motivation they will most likely just be noise in the work environment, frustrating all the others. If you cannot move people out of this category fast and easy, move them out of the office.

Coaching, motivating and teaching.
So with this tool you will be able to identify who needs more training, focus on them first. The next thing you as a coach should do is to put your motivational skills to the test and motivate f and g. In the meantime do not forget about a,b and c, it takes no effort to praise them. If you have a lot of people in the lower left you might be in trouble. Good luck, hope this helps you to prioritize. Where would you place yourself?

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