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The Three "C"s of Coaching

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

Competence, Confidence or Commitment?

Ever have an employee that just didn’t measure up? Great person, smart, eager to learn, got along with everyone… but she just didn’t get the job done to your satisfaction. What was it?

Here’s a simple tool to help you diagnose the source of almost every direct report issue. Ask yourself this question:

Does this employee lack competence, confidence or commitment?

Most employees who struggle fall into one of these three categories. Here’s how to recognize each and what to do about it.

COMPETENCE: Your direct report lacks the skills and ability to successfully achieve the required results

How to recognize:

  • Always seems to be getting ready to start the work

  • Misses deadlines – doesn’t complete assignments on time

  • Repeatedly asks questions about the same thing

  • Work quality is unsatisfactory

How to coach for competence:

  • Use the See it, Try it, Teach it approach

  • Show what needs to be done, let the employee try it, let them assess the outcome, and then give them specific information about what they did and the results. Then have the employee teach it back to you.

  • Break the assignment down into smaller chunks and check in often

  • Assign a competent peer to work with the employee

  • Spend time observing and provide task-specific feedback

CONFIDENCE: Your direct report has demonstrated the ability to successfully complete the task, yet fails to get it done on time

How to recognize:

  • Procrastinates

  • Tells you they don’t feel comfortable with the task

  • Asks you – and maybe others – for additional guidance

  • Risk averse – always wants to be sure they have your approval before taking the next step

How to coach for confidence:

  • Point out prior success examples

  • Observe and provide specific positive feedback as she completes the task

  • Have her outline the steps required to complete the task

COMMITMENT: Your direct report has a success track record with the work yet lacks enthusiasm, makes errors, and misses deadlines

How to recognize:

  • Waits to the last minute to get the work done

  • Hands in work that is less than what she is capable of doing

  • Suggests that the work is not necessary without providing proof or alternatives

How to coach for commitment:

  • Ask them to describe how their work affects others, especially customers (internal or external), to be certain they see the value of what they’re doing and why it matters

  • Discuss work performance and ask for ideas on how to improve

  • Provide recognition for the value of the work she does

  • Assign the employee the job of mentoring others to ensure her skills are passed along in the organization

Coaching is a great way to increase employee engagement. Most employees want to add value at work. And they want to be valued and recognized. Sometimes getting the most out of your direct reports is all about ensuring they are doing work and getting results that affect other people, internally and externally.

If you take the time to be certain they know what they’re expected to do, how to do it, and why it is valuable, you’ll be pleased with what they can produce. You will be amazed at what your coaching can do to increase employee engagement and productivity.

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