As with coaching, it is just as important to understand the person you are talking to. The result will be much more significant if the discussion is tailored to the individual. Even more important though is understanding your employee’s ability to receive criticism. Some people welcome criticism openly, as they understand it is only designed to improve performance. Unfortunately, most people just don’t like being told that they are not doing something correctly.
When counseling an employee, it is very important to convey that you are simply trying to correct or improve a behavior or an action, you are not attacking them as a person in any way. The easiest way to accomplish this is to simply discuss just the action in question. It is best to avoid using directed words like “you”, or stating other employees opinions about the action, because that makes the conversation about the employee and not the behavior.
It is much easier to counsel an employee on an action than a behavior without making it sound like an attack. Here is an example of effective coaching for the behavior of an employee that can not show up to work on time. (we all have these!!):
Manager-“Sally, I was going through our time-clocks last week and saw that you weren’t able to make it on time for 3 of your shifts. Is everything OK?”
Sally- “Well, you have me scheduled at 3:00, and I get out of school at 2:30, so sometimes it is very difficult to get here on time.
Manager-“OK, I understand. The availability I have on file for you tells me that you can work starting at 3:00. I write my schedules according to what I have. Unfortunately, I also have to schedule breaks or even interviews around my floor coverage. Last week, the assistant manager had to stay late twice to cover the breaks that ran late on those days.”
Sally-“Yeah, I am very sorry. I didn’t realize that getting here a few minutes late really changed anything. Is it possible for me to change my availability? I know I will never be late if I am scheduled at 3:30 or even 4:00.”
Manager-“OK. We can change your availability. Now, I noticed you were top sales last week….think you can do it again?!”
Sally-“Definitely, I already have a client coming in for a big sale later today!”
Manager-“Awesome! Thanks for sitting down with me, I am glad everything is OK.”
This manager did a good job of keeping the conversation about the lateness and not about the employee. It was good that they started by giving the employee an opportunity to explain the behavior. They explained the consequences of the behavior, and also gave the employee an option to correct the behavior. As always, you should thank the employee for taking the time to talk with you, and whenever possible, end on a positive note. Chances are this employee left the conversation feeling a little relieved that they don’t have to rush so much, and that you are easy to talk to.
Tip- I let all employees know when they start that I am a huge advocate of coaching and counseling. I let them know they will get both positive and negative feedback whenever necessary. At that time I explain to them, that no matter what type of feedback I give, it is about their performance only and never personal. Employees don’t like surprises, if you do this and actually give consistent coaching and counseling you will have a very efficient and loyal team!
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What Is Credit Counseling?
Are you struggling financially and trying to dig out from a mountain of debt? Credit counseling could be just the solution you’re looking for.
Credit counselors work with consumers to educate them about money and debt, and help them develop household budgets a plan to eliminate debt. Credit counseling can offer financial guidance or negotiate with creditors to resolve unsustainable debt. However, counselors cannot offer legal advice. All meetings between a credit counselor and clients are considered confidential.
Credit Counseling agencies typically belong to an accreditation group, such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. These groups develop standards, provide accountability for its member agencies and set suggest fee schedules. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling suggests fees should be no more than for a set-up and monthly thereafter. Members of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies must agree to cap the initial charge at and the monthly maintenance fees at .
The Credit Counseling Plan
When you meet with a credit counselor, having an honest discussion of your finances is paramount. You must be prepared to disclose all aspects of your financial life so the counselor will have a clear and complete financial picture of your income, household expenses, existing debt and spending habits. Copies of financial statements – including the debt accounts — will be needed.
The credit counselor helps develop a unique plan that might include a debt management plan, improved budgeting, bankruptcy, or a combination of these. Financial management and educational tools are provided, as well as materials to help clients develop savings and retirement plans.
Finding A Credit Counselor
Finding a credit counselor in your area has never been easier. Start by making a list of member agencies of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. Next, contact either your state attorney general local consumer protection office to find out whether there have been any complaints filed. You can find information on your state’s regulations by visiting the state pages on our site.
Most agencies will offer an initial meeting at no charge. This meeting usually lasts about one hour, and gives you the opportunity to find out if the agency will be a good fit.
About Nonprofit Agencies
Many credit counseling agencies are nonprofit and typically derive their funding from fees paid by clients, grants from the credit/lending industry and a percentage of the payments made by debtors. Up to 15 percent of what is collected can be returned to the agency. Under IRS guidelines, a non-profit credit counseling agency can only collect up to 50 percent of its revenue from these payments.