How to Coach Your Employees Through Their Shortcomings

Not one single employee is perfect. Each one has shortcomings and weaknesses that can impact their ability to meet your expectations. As their boss, it’s your job to coach them through these less-than-ideal traits and help them reach their potential.

The question: where do you begin? Here are some ways to support and mentor your people:

Give regular, specific feedback.

If you’re a hands-off kind of boss, you need to become more hands-on. Schedule regular time for feedback with your employees, so you can talk about what’s going right and areas that need improvement. When an employee has a shortcoming, they need feedback on what it is, why it’s a problem, and ways you can help them overcome it.

Make it a two-way conversation.

Don’t give feedback without asking for your employees to provide their own. Be open to their questions, concerns and struggles. Perhaps you’re seeing something as a shortcoming, when they don’t have the resources or training to meet your expectations. This is why it’s important to give them a voice in the process, so you have a complete picture before you move forward.

Set expectations that are attainable.

If you have goals in mind for an employee, make sure they are attainable. If they’re not – whether due to a gap in knowledge and skills or simply their temperament – then you’re setting them up for failure. You want employees to step outside their comfort zones, so they can grow in different areas. However, don’t push them so far out that they’re not going to reach the goals you’ve set.

Create opportunities for learning.

Give your team different opportunities where they can learn from each other and grow in the process. This can be through a formal mentoring program, cross-training across jobs and departments, or stretch assignments. By connecting your employees with those individuals outside their usual day-to-day work, you’ll help open their mind up to new possibilities and perspectives.

Give their confidence a boost.

If an employee is struggling in an area, chances are, they know it and are stressed out about it. Rather than pointing out their faults and flaws, start by providing positive feedback. Also, look for different opportunities where you can recognize and reward them for their effort and hard work. This will help to motivate and engage them, so they’re on track toward improved performance.

Provide a roadmap going forward.

In addition to focusing on areas that need improvement, give your employees a big-picture roadmap for moving ahead in their careers. Make sure they have the support and resources they need to achieve their career goals. Don’t expect them to figure it out on their own. Work with them as a team, so they feel like you’re vested in their success.

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