Performance Evaluations focus on the past; Coaching deals with the future

There are major differences between coaching and performance evaluations in terms of process, content and roles. The difference in process lies in the time focus. Coaching focuses on what’s next in this format, not what happened.

If somebody did something really stupid last year, unless you think they’re going to repeat it again, you don’t need to write them up for it. When you’re stuck in that mindset of performance evaluations and somebody really blew something during the course of the year, even though you talked about it at length and they’ll never repeat it again, you have to write it up and review in a coaching context, who cares.

The average length of the feedback form is one page. Our actual feedback form is one page. You want a manager to fill out one side or one piece of paper. This one page will do a lot more interesting work, a lot more value added work than those five pages of checking the boxes and fill in the blanks like you would in performance evaluations.

Primary customer of a coaching system needs to be the employee.
You need to have this in your mindset. These are for them. This is their time. They are the primary customer.

The content is also different from what you’re used to in performance evaluations. Summary, label or grade, coaching doesn’t use them. We don’t need labels or grade. It detracts from behavioral change.

You don’t want ranking. It is not a good idea to rate and rank your people against each other. It breeds internal gamesmanship, competition and you don’t want to use that here.

Tie the salary treatment indirectly.
Is there a connection? Yes. If you’re told you’re doing great. It doesn’t necessarily mean you get a lot of money or get as much money as we can give you in the system. You’re told you’re doing poorly, don’t expect much. But there’s no one to one comparison.

You really do need to know what somebody thinks in order to tell them to be a good coach to them. To get that behavioral change, you got to know where they’re coming from, where they want to go. Otherwise, you’ll lose most points of leverage that are useful for you in influence.

The roles are different from those of performance evaluations as well. Fundamentally, the boss needs to change, it’s more than a change in term. You’ve got to change from being that critic or judge to being a coach. An employee needs to change from being the passive recipient.

Edited remarks from the Rapid Learning Institute webinar “No More Performance Reviews! – A Revolutionary Approach to Performance Feedback” by Gary Markle

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