Meaningful Coaching & Evaluation Conversations

We’ve all experienced a coaching session and written evaluations.  As you think back on your best and worst experiences, what stands out?

Have you left a coaching session and/or evaluation meeting feeling motivated to achieve more and innovate more?  Do these meetings challenge you to perform at your best?

Or do you leave wondering why your manager didn’t mention your recent initiative that demonstrated outstanding results?  Or you leave wondering where you need to improve because your manager is not giving you any suggestions – “Keep at it…”

If you manage a team, you must find ways to make the INVESTMENT of time in individual team members more meaningful.

Do they deserve your (the manager’s) praise?  Then tell them and be specific!  Document it.  Remind them of their great work. A praised person will progressively perform at their pinnacle.

Do they need guidance?  Ask them better questions which will help them discover their path.  Don’t always tell.  Ask more. Engage the team member in their own discovery.

Do they need counseling for corrective behaviors?  Ask for their commitment.  Too often, we managers do all the talking in a meeting where we are discussing behaviors that must change.  All the team member has to do is endure us talking.  Be sure to ask for the commitment from them to change.  Document it.  Expect change.  Observe and monitor behaviors and then follow up.

manager as coachAre they progressing towards success?  Document your sessions so you know!  Find a way to document critical focus actions that lead to success.  Document observations you’ve made.  Be specific.  Put it in writing.  Your team members will appreciate your details – it shows you actually know what you’re talking about!

Are you following up?  A  follow up conversation demonstrates that you (the manager) have not forgotten about the team member’s progress.  Any follow ups – I call these POWER FOLLOW UPS – are powerful because you have an opportunity to connect an observed behavior with a coaching conversation and it reinforces the direction your team member needs to be moving.

Managers/Leaders make their teams better when they themselves become better.



by Flavio Martins

It’s inevitable. Mistakes will happen. Things break, systems go down, people fail. But these moments don’t have to be disastrous, they present an opportunity to create a memorable experience.

One of my favorite phrases to recover from a problem with an upset customer is:

“Oh no! That’s terrible!”

Nothing frustrates a customer more than the feeling that the company responsible for the problem doesn’t care.

My mantra to live by is, “It’s not my fault, but it’s my problem…and I’m a rock star customer service pro so I’ll make it right.”

I like how Cheryl with ServiceUntitled puts it:

The key to controlling the situation however is to apologize immediately and to apologize directly to the customer. Make the correction and do it immediately. Employ key customer service personnel who have been trained to deal with angry customers and who have the discretionary ability to appease the customer using whatever it takes (of course within reason) to show the customer the company really cares.

Being able to offer an amazing recovering from a problem can often times create some of the most loyal customers in the future. The next time a problem arrises, you can create a memorable experience for the customer by:

– Being Personable.
– Apologizing to the customer.
– Offering the customer a solution that can be done NOW (or options for solutions).

What is Transparent Leadership?


by Peter Stark

In the past, management kept secrets from employees and decisions were made behind closed conference room doors. We are living in an entirely different world today where transparent leadership is not just an option, but is critical to the success of the company.

To be transparent as a leader has many different meanings, but the one that works best for us is that transparency is consistently behaving in a way that is predictable. This means no surprises. I believe that most leaders set out to be transparent, but it can be hard to measure if you truly are a transparent leader.

Here’s a checklist we’ve put together to help you assess if you’re on the right track:

__ Are you candid, honest and do you genuinely express your thoughts and opinions?
__ Does the message you are delivering remain the same, regardless of the audience?
__ Do you tell the truth?
__ When you can’t divulge information, do you let people know why you can’t disclose the information at that time?
__ Do you consistently keep commitments?
__ Do you handle your own defeats well, owning them and not blaming others?
__ Do you ask good questions, listen to the answers and remain open to new ideas?
__ Do you value the feedback of others?
__ Do you frequently ask others working with you, “How am I doing?” or, “What could I do to better support you?”

Today, transparent leadership is no longer just an option for organizations. If your employees don’t already know the truth about your organization, it is only a matter of time before they will. No matter how hard leaders try to hide the truth or cover up unpleasant or awkward situations, the truth will always surface. Reality is reaching employees faster than ever before.

Given this reality, the best approach is to be transparent; act ethically and talk openly at all times.

Transparent leaders are:

– Approachable and treat employees at every level within the organization with humility, interest and respect
– Good communicators, keeping their employees informed with the right information at the right time. When they cannot answer employees questions, they let them know why they can’t respond at this time
– Accessible. Employees know how to reach them for support
– Consistent and predictable. They demonstrate integrity by “talking the talk” and “walking the walk” on a daily basis
– Good at sharing the “big picture” with employees, helping them connect the dots between their job and the overall success of the organization
– Reliable. Employees trust them to do what they say they will do
– Open to feedback about their own performance and open to employees’ ideas and opinions

Transparent leaders are able to lead great companies and achieve great results because, over time, they have built solid relationships based on their integrity and character. They are reliable, predictable and committed to serving and supporting their team. As such, they are trusted and easy to follow, allowing them to achieve their goals, if not change the world.

Peter Barron Stark Companies is a nationally recognized management consulting company that specializes in employee engagement surveys, executive coaching, and leadership and employee training. For more information, please visit