Fostering Relationships: The Coach's Five Conversations

If you are called to lead or manage employees, add power to your employee evaluation process by including one or all of the following five questions in your meetings. What you will find is you will be more aptly called a coach and your evaluations will transform into conversations. Ask them the questions and then just listen. The words in parenthesis are what you are ultimately listening for...

1. What is challenging you the most? (Let them identify areas of improvement.)

2. What have been your best moments since we last spoke? (Let them celebrate success.)

3. If you could change one thing around here, what would it be? (Let them offer you advice.)

4. What do you need to do your job better? (Let them help you see process/system breakdowns from their point of view.)

5. Tell me some great things you've seen in other individuals. (Let them build up peers and self-identify areas where they can be great.)

Why is this approach powerful? Because most evaluation sessions are one-sided with the manager doing all the talking. The conversation approach interrupts this pattern and turns the evaluation meeting into a discussion of performance and puts the focus on the relationship, instead of just the result.

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