As part of on-going performance management, the individual 1-1 coaching session is a staple element – so why do so many managers in the recruitment industry not rate them?
I get mixed responses when communicating how these critical discussions can affect an individual’s performance. For those that see them in a positive light, not surprisingly, they had good experiences from their own 1-1’s with their manager. The managers that consider them as a waste of time, that means taking ‘time away from the desk’ for both themselves and their staff member, have obviously never experienced the many benefits of a well executed 1-1.
Roger D’Aprix created a framework for manager communication. The six-step model defines their communication responsibilities and how they relate to answers to six key common questions that all employees need to have answered by their manager – in order to be productive and engaged.
- What’s my job?
- How am I doing?
- Does anyone care?
- How is my team doing?
- Where are we heading?
- How can I help?
Each week, a manager should make sure that they are communicating the above to their staff members.
What should a 1-1 contain?
They are predominantly a coaching session, so it’s not for the manager to do all of the work. The individual being coached should have prepped for the meeting with a review of the last week’s achievements and then 2 or 3 objectives to achieve for the following week.
These objectives could be a specific activity target that they’re struggling to achieve, a personal quality that they want to work on or a longer-term goal that needs some development. It’s up to the individual to work out what needs to be the focus and for the manager to facilitate the actions.
So, what are the benefits to be gained?
With a team of 10 staff, the 1-1s are going to take a morning of your time every week. Ten minutes for the coaching session and 5 minutes reviewing the action points when presented back. This time has the potential to achieve all of D’Aprix’s 6 questions in one meeting…
The individual: –
- gets clarification on what’s required of them specifically
- receives feedback on their competency levels in regard to different tasks
- knows the manager cares enough to take the time to support them
- obtains information on the team and who else can help them to achieve their objectives
- understands where the overall company goals relate to their own personal objectives
- can see how, if they achieve their personal weekly objectives, it will help the company overall
One of the reasons that individuals have a bad experience with 1-1s, is that the manager fails to adapt their style to the person they’re speaking to. They do it with clients and candidates when selling themselves and their services, but fail to realise the importance of adapting to the needs of each individual staff member.
Personality comes into this, but more importantly, it’s about how they feel about the objectives they’ve set themselves. Some tasks they will be very capable of achieving with minimal input and support… but there will also be others where they really “don’t know what they don’t know”. This is where the manager needs to flex and adapt their leadership style to give differing levels of support and information. The Ken Blanchard ‘Situational Leadership II’ programme is based on this understanding and is hugely successful in the coaching 1-1s.
So, in conclusion, organise weekly 1-1 coaching sessions with each member of staff and adapt your leadership style to their situation and the tasks/objectives that they want to achieve – each person will require differing levels of support and information from you, which may mean that your highly successful and capable staff might only need a fortnightly catch up where they can share their successes and ideas…
… you’ll be amazed at the impact this has!