The 9 Best Practices for Effective Employee Coaching


“I talk to my employees all the time.”

“They know they can come to me if they have an issue.”

“If my employee is struggling, I always schedule dedicated time to help.”

Do any of these statements sound familiar? Most managers would agree in theory that coaching is an important part of managing; however, many do not really understand how to coach. Providing regular coaching is more than just having frequent conversations with your employees or telling your employees what to do. Effective coaching requires the coach to dig deeper, listen, ask insightful questions, show empathy, and help the employees find their own solutions.


Although on-the-spot coaching certainly has its place, prescheduled, preplanned one-on-one’s allow you to create a repeatable model that makes good use of your time and helps you and your employees fully reap the benefits of your focused time together. With this in mind, consider the following best practices:

  1. Try to meet with each employee for a one-on-one at least once per month. This does not mean meet only with your struggling employees or highest-performing employees. Although your agenda may look different for each, all employees—regardless of their current level of performance—can benefit from their time with you. Schedule the meetings in advance so you both have time to prepare and do not reschedule the meeting unless absolutely necessary.
  2. Prepare for your one-on-one ahead of time. Have goals, objectives, job descriptions, performance reports, etc. available for reference. Make sure you tell your employee in advance what to bring or how to prepare.
  3. Always have an agenda and include the same basic categories, such as:
    1. Check-in, “What’s on your mind?”
    2. Discuss progress towards goals and objectives
    3. Ask for the biggest “Win” this month
    4. Ask for the biggest “Challenge” this month
    5. Discuss lessons learned and key takeaways
    6. Ask, “How can I best support you?”
    7. Ask, “What do you want to discuss in our next one-on-one meeting?”
  4. Encourage the employee to find solutions. If you find yourself telling your employee what to do, take pause and instead, ask your employee to walk you through the solutions to problems. Prompt them with questions and show them resources to find the answers.
  5. Give the employee your absolute attention and expect theirs in return! This means no interruptions, such as phone calls or email responses. Your employees should know that you place high importance on this time that is dedicated to their success.
  6. Remember to provide positive feedback. “A person who feels appreciated will always do more than is expected.”
  7. Don’t shy away from providing constructive feedback. You never want to wait for an annual performance evaluation to tell an employee there is a concern. Giving feedback immediately following an event has the greatest impact on performance.
  8. Consult with Human Resources if you need to address a “sticky” topic or situation.
  9. Take notes! Consider sending a follow-up email to your employee to reiterate key takeaways. Or, better yet, ask your employee to send the follow-up email to you to ensure their understanding.


For further reading on the importance of coaching, consider reading the following articles:


We are expert HR advisors who provide customized employee solutions that elevate your business. If you have questions about your coaching, please contact us at info@bergerhrsolutions or (410) 695-9888. Berger HR Solutions is here to help.