The Human Dynamics of Coaching, Counseling and Disciplining Employees
By Mac McIntire, President, Innovative Management Group (PDF Version)

Fear of conflict and confrontation keeps many managers from stepping up to the plate when employees need feedback regarding their substandard performance. Many managers allow an employee's poor performance or off-purpose behavior to continue because the manager fears the reaction he or she may receive from the employee if confronted.

The tremendous success of our Accountability Management Workshop™ has spawned the need for another results-oriented training program that further enhances the skills of supervisors and managers in one specific area of their managerial responsibilities.

During the Accountability Management Workshop we explore the Eight Core Competencies of Management™. Of these eight competencies, the one managers seem to struggle with the most is coaching, counseling and disciplining employees.

Fear of conflict and confrontation keeps many managers from stepping up to the plate when employees need feedback regarding their substandard performance. Many managers allow an employee's poor performance or off-purpose behavior to continue because the manager fears the reaction he or she may receive from the employee if confronted. Managers say what scares them the most about counseling employees is fear the tables will be turned on them during the disciplinary session, with the manager ending up in the hot seat instead of the employee.

Innovative Management Group has introduced a new management training workshop that gives managers the self-assurance and skills needed to confidently coach, counsel, discipline, and, when necessary, terminate employees who perform below expectations. The workshop is entitled "The Human Dynamics of Coaching, Counseling and Disciplining Employees," since it focuses specifically on the often difficult interpersonal aspects of performance counseling.

Workshop Format

The two-day workshop begins with a half-day of instruction on the necessity and legalities of coaching, counseling, disciplining and terminating employees. The next day-and-a-half entails group discussion and role plays of actual case studies that the participants bring to the session from their real-life managerial experiences. Attendees role play their interaction as they response to various day-to-day performance or behavioral challenges. They learn how to confront these situations head on. The practice sessions build the participant's confidence in their ability to maintain their composure during difficult performance feedback consul-tations. The workshop provides them with numerous techniques for controlling the feedback session to ensure improvement occurs.

During the role plays the participants act as consultants and coaches to each other. They share their successes and failures in handling similar situations. At the end of each role play the facilitator provides the group with a variety of additional tools and techniques to address the specific challenges presented in the role plays.

Interspersed throughout the case studies the participants' bring to the workshop are "rapid-fire cases" provided by the instructor. These fast-paced scenarios further hone the counseling skills of the managers. Attendees learn how to resolutely keep the counseling session focused on the employee's performance while avoiding the interpersonal sparring that often occurs in confrontational settings.

Workshop Content

During the workshop participants learn how to face and resolve some of the most common counseling challenges, such as:

  • How to pinpoint and specify the root cause of a performance or behavioral problems
  • How to ask probing questions and never be stumped by the employee
  • How to keep the feedback session focused on the performance or behavioral issues instead of the employee or manager
  • How to draw out employees who refuse to talk or won't address the real issue
  • How to deal with criticism, pessimism and negativity
  • How to overcome placating, passive resistance and superficial cooperation
  • How to resolve personality clashes, gossiping and backbiting
  • How to light a fire in those who procrastinate, are indecisive, don't perform or fail to follow-through
  • How to deal with crying, anger, depression, withdrawal and other emotions
  • How to respond to intimidation, threats, hostility and violence
  • How to get employees to stop blaming others, finding fault or feeling
  • How to deflect personal attacks or attacks on the organization
  • How to deal with lying misrepresentation, or distortions
  • How to keep from being manipulated by employees
  • How to get agreement and ensure change occurs
  • How to follow-up and reinforce the need for change

The Human Dynamics workshop is designed to get employees to change their performance or behavior. Participants learn how to accelerate an employee's performance improvement and behavioral change by using the Four Phases of Personal Development™. The main focus of the workshop is to help managers understand the human element – the psychological implications – of performance counseling, and thus help the employee through the often difficult process of self-improvement.

Of course, the first step to employee improvement is manager improvement. Managers have to deal with their own insecurities and inadequacies regarding coaching, counseling and disciplining employees. The two days of the Human Dynamics workshop allows managers to work through and overcome any personal issues that may be keeping them from fulfilling their manager role of giving performance feedback. Attendees leave the workshop fully prepared to competently coach, counsel, discipline or terminate non-performing employees.

Please contact Innovative Management Group for more information regarding:

  • The Human Dynamics of Coaching, Counseling and Disciplining Employees Workshop
  • Accountability Management Workshop
  • Four Phases of Personal Development