Counselling For Performance

Counselling For Performance

Date: On Demand (access any time)
Investment: $285 per person
(Discounts for multiple participants)

INCLUDES: One-on-One Telephone Coaching

Counselling is a critical skill needed by both managers and supervisors.

Why is it so important? Because today’s work environment is full of the pressure to do more with less and the key to reducing pressure is to make the most of your valuable resources – people. It takes time and commitment to be able to counsel your employees the right way.

What is counselling?

The purpose of both counselling and feedback is to provide your employees with the information, assistance and advice that they need to contribute fully to the team. Counselling is a formal process which takes place when a person has not responded positively to any advice or help that has been provided on a less formal basis.

Counselling involves helping a person work through a difficult performance problem or difficulty which may have its root cause in personal issues. Counselling also occurs when dealing with behavioural issues especially disciplinary issues.

Counselling usually involves:

  • Providing advice about work performance
  • Understanding the root cause of that issue and identifying ways to cope
  • Is done in private and may happen as per an agreed schedule

You can counsel an employee when:

  • Giving performance feedback
  • Assessing a person who is on a performance improvement plan
  • When there is a decline in work performance
  • When conducting a performance appraisal

Tips and Strategies for Counselling

Over the next two pages we will cover the six steps you need to follow when counselling an employee for under performance. Remember that it is very important to gather the facts and follow a formal process in order to have a positive outcome.

1. Observe the performance issue

Before you can begin the counselling process, you first need to observe the issue. You must be able to describe the situation as objectively as possible and also communicate why it is a problem or an issue. One way to do this is to make it a habit to walk around and observe your team at work each day. Over time you will be able to identify and observe any behaviour that is detrimental to performance.

2. Explain the problem

Once you have articulate the issue to the employee, explain to them clearly why it is a problem. Who does it affect? Does it affect the customer, you, other team members, the employee themselves or the organisation. Often a performance issue will affect all of these things.

Be as specific as possible when explaining the problem and check with the person to be sure that they understand why their performance is an issue and that they agree with what you are saying.

People often do not realise the impact of their performance and it is important to show them how important they are to the efficient functioning of your team and the organisation.

3. Ask Questions

There are many reasons that an employee may be underperforming, it is a good idea to ask questions to make sure that you have all the facts. You can ask open ended questions to get the person to tell you their side of the story or their reasons for their performance.

You can use close ended questions to verify the facts or even to get the person to agree to what has happened.

Remember close ended questions typically have a yes/no or pre-defined answer, however open ended questions can have any response. E.g. Did you come in late today vs. Why have you been late everyday for the last one week?

4. Add to the solution

As a manager it is a good idea to keep in mind that counselling is a collaborative process. It is not about telling the person what to do, it is more about helping and advising the person to do the right thing.

Rather than telling the employee what and how to correct their performance issues, ask them to come up with a solution to the problem. Ask them to consider all the facts and the situation and to come up with a solution that they think will bump up their performance. They may need to take some time out to think about this and share the same with you in a follow up meeting. Having them devise the solution increases their commitment to implementing the solution and builds ownership.

You can add in any steps or actions they may have missed after they have shared their plan of action with you. Check to see that they are in agreement to what you have proposed.

5. Gain their commitment

It is not enough to simply observe and share performance issues, ask questions or obtain a solution from the person you are counselling. The solution needs to be implemented and it may not be an easy thing to stick to. Make sure that you have the employees commitment to implementing the solution. People are more likely to do things that they have committed to personally or have taken ownership of, so their buy in is very important.

6. Establish a timeframe and follow up

Once the employee has agreed that there is a problem and it needs to be rectified and you have both contributed to the solution. There needs to be a timeframe agreed upon by which the solution is to be implemented and the performance issue is resolved. Have the employee pick a timeframe that is comfortable for them, though you may modify it if you think it is ‘too’ comfortable.

Agree on what success looks like and by when success needs to be achieved. You may also wish to agree upon and establish a schedule for regular feedback during this period.

When providing feedback remember to focus on what is going well, and also on what can be changed and improved in order to keep the person on track towards achieving their targets.

Counselling for performance is not that difficult and involves a willingness to follow the steps outlined above in order for you to be successful at impacting your teams underperformance.