You’ve probably noticed the trend towards mentoring and coaching employees.


In my work, I see more and more companies moving away from employee evaluations and towards a coaching/mentoring model. Instead of rating everyone on a 5-point scale, leaders are looking for ways to coach their people to success.


If you’re a leader, you’ve probably coached an employee through a problem or situation before, but you know that doesn’t make you an expert at coaching. Most leaders I know want to get better at coaching and are looking for a way to get started.

Coaching Employees to See Themselves

The first step to coaching an employee is to help them to see themselves. In sports, coaches achieve this by having players watch game films. Seeing yourself in action is a powerful way to gain new insights and awareness. Once you see yourself more objectively, it’s easier to diagnose what’s going wrong and what you need to do differently.


The direct method would be to sit down with an employee and say, “I’ve noticed that you are doing X, Y, and Z. And I think that’s hurting your performance.” Sometimes the direct method is the right way, but to the employee it can feel like a 2×4 between the eyes. Your personality may be the kind that prefers to be direct, but a good coach doesn’t coach by his own preferences—he looks for the method that connects with the player to get the best results.


Adult learning researchers tell us that the most powerful insights are the ones we discover for ourselves. In other words, if you want your employees to learn something about themselves, they need to participate in the discovery process. We recommend that leaders and managers give their employees access to the DISC profile as part of that self-discovery.

Coaching Employees to Own Their Goals

The second step to successfully coaching an employee is to help them take ownership of their goals. People tend to support what they helped to create, so this is not the time for you to pull out the list of changes you want them to make. Instead, the coaching approach is to guide them through the process of identifying and creating goals for their own personal development.


Some of your people will already know how and where they want to develop. But I’ve worked with a lot of people who had a hard time coming up with relevant goals. This is where their DISC report comes in again.


The DISC developer we recommend includes a section on Time Wasters that are most likely to trip up an employee. The accompanying Self-Debriefing Guide walks them through questions that uncover what’s holding them back and how they can adapt their behavior to get better results. Those answers transfer directly to an employee development plan that they have helped to create for themselves.


Another section reviews their Strengths and Potential Conflicts along with questions to help them set personal development goals. The section on Value to the Team prompts questions around whether they are set up for success and able to bring their best or whether a role adjustment might be needed to get stronger performance.

Coaching Employees to Build on What They’ve Learned


Learning that is not put into practice is wasted. Once you’ve helped your employees to see themselves and set their own goals, your next step is to follow up on what actions they’ve taken and what results they got.


“Learning that is not put into practice is wasted.”

Because the DISC measures behavioral traits that are stable throughout a person’s lifetime, it is a regular source of insights and understanding. Refer your coachee back to their profile (which will become even more meaningful over time). As they achieve their developmental goals, their profile can help them predict what kind of challenges they are likely to face at the next level.


And don’t be surprised when they begin coaching others with what they have learned.


hireMAX has developed expertise in distributing and applying assessments from multiple developers. The version of DISC we recommend has the highest accuracy rating in the industry. Because we represent more than one developer, we can customize solutions to your needs and always give you the tool that is right for your organization.


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This month only, we are offering a complimentary DISC assessment for readers of our newsletter and blog. Experience the accuracy and insights of DISC for yourself.

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Dr. Shero believes that leadership can be learned and that the best organizations intentionally develop leadership at every level. Leaders have the privilege of influencing other human lives for the better. That's why Phillip cares so much about learning to lead well and helping others do the same.

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