Is it coaching?


Originally posted in The Observant Customer 6/21/2017

I was straightening up my workspace this morning and ran across a sample of a coaching log.  The log had been developed by an experienced and talented store manager working for the company I worked at many years.

It was well produced with 50 pages to record when a manager coached an employee. I really liked the playbook and I hope that it improved coaching for the managers and their employees.  Perhaps it lead to better sales, improved service or more effective and efficient employees.

This was not the only coaching log that I saw while I working  in retail management and training.  In fact, I probably saw 50 different versions over the years.  But this one was a good one.

The reason why I bring this up is that it has been my experience that there is no correlation between good coaching  and the use of a coaching log.

When I had the chance to look at coaching logs, I typically saw record after record of non-coaching interactions.  These interactions included giving instruction, providing direction, answering employee questions or assigning work; all valuable managerial communication but it was not coaching.

Sample page from the coaching log
Sample page from the coaching log

When I talk of coaching, I am referring to conversations between managers and employees or employees and employees that enhance performance.  This is not about the work to be done but how the work was done.

As a manager, there are many challenges to coaching.  Managers are often too busy with operational tasks and directing work to be able to take time to observe, evaluate and give feedback to employees on their performance.

Unfortunately, coaching logs give a rationalization for managers.  “See, I have filled out 20 pages of my coaching log, so I must be coaching.”

It is critical that we provide performance feedback to our floor employees if we want to enhance service and productivity in our stores.

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