When you’re coaching an employee who needs to improve, what do you listen for? (Let’s hope you’re listening and not just talking!)

It’s all too easy to hone in on what you perceive as the person’s gaps and weak spots. After all, these are probably the main reason the person requires coaching in the first place.

But, according to employee performance guru Colleen Bracken, you’ll have more impact if you listen principally for the employee’s values and strengths. After all, these are the qualities that will drive the desired improvement.

As you coach, ask yourself questions like these:

  • What is great about this person?
  • What do (s)he and I have in common in our approach to the work?
  • What positive intentions does (s)he have that I can reinforce and help bring to fruition?


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