Coaching and mentoring

Core components of an effective employee coaching plan

Coaching employees is proven to increase performance, but only if done right. Here's how to build an employee coaching plan.

Noah Edis

October 26, 2022

Successful businesses never settle for just enough when it comes to employee development. They always look for ways to help their employees learn new things, get better at their jobs, and develop into leaders. 

In fact, 51% of organizations with a strong coaching culture report a higher revenue than similar companies in their industry.

A successful approach to employee coaching starts with building an employee coaching plan that lays out a simple yet clear process for setting objectives, expectations, and feedback.

In this article, you’ll learn how to create an employee coaching plan that helps you reach your business goals and grow both your team and your company.

What is an employee coaching plan?

An employee coaching plan is a process that managers and leaders use to help employees grow and develop in their roles. 

The goal of an employee coaching plan is to set clear expectations for what the coach and coachee hope to achieve and identify a path to get there.

Do coaching plans actually work?

With the right process in place, coaching plans have been shown to be an extremely effective way to help not only executives but also employees grow. Consider these studies:

  • A 2019 survey by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the Human Capital Institute (HCI) found that companies with a strong coaching culture report having better business outcomes in areas such as customer satisfaction, regulatory compliance, talent attraction, profitability, and labor productivity.
  • Other research has also shown that coaching has a positive effect on outcomes, such as performance and skills, general well-being, coping and resilience, work attitudes, and goal attainment.

That’s why many organizations (like yourself) want actionable ways to engrain coaching and mentoring into their workplace's DNA.

The essential components to include in your coaching plan

If you're thinking about creating an employee coaching plan, it can be as simple or complex as you need it to be, but at a minimum, it should have the following elements in place:

A dedicated mentor or coach

Choosing the right mentor or coach is essential to the success of an employee coaching plan. They should have the necessary skills and experience to help the employee reach their goals.

Individual development plans

Since each employee is different, it's crucial to create an individual development plan (IDP) that's tailored to their specific goals. The IDP should include what the employee wants to achieve, how they plan to get there, and a timeline for completion.

These could include professional goals such as becoming certified in their field, strengths, and talents such as digital marketing, and development opportunities such as job shadowing.

Session agenda to guide conversations

While it's important to allow for some flexibility in coaching sessions, having a session agenda can help ensure that each meeting is productive and focused.

The agenda should be created jointly by the coach and coachee before each meeting and include topics such as what was accomplished since the last meeting, goals for the current meeting, and any challenges or obstacles that need to be addressed.

Meaningful accountability

When you're accountable to someone, you're more likely to follow through on your commitments. Incorporating accountability into an employee coaching plan can vary from setting up regular check-ins to using a goal-tracking tool to having the coach or mentee report back to their manager on their progress.

Peer support

Regardless of position, everyone can benefit from coaching. Aside from a dedicated mentor or coach who’s ideally senior, peer coaching can take an employee coaching plan to the next level. This could be done informally among team members or as part of a structured program.

Examples of companies with great coaching plans for employees

Most companies provide basic training programs, tools, and resources that employees need to do their jobs. But the best companies go above and beyond by offering other opportunities, such as coaching and mentorship, for employees’ professional and personal growth.

  • Amazon: The online retail giant has multiple training programs under the Amazon Technical Academy to train nontechnical employees for software engineering careers. An example is their Associate2Tech program where they prepare front-line employees without previous IT experience to move into more technical roles.
  • Marriott International: From entry-level positions to executive roles, Marriott offers development programs for employees at all levels. The company’s Global Voyage Leadership Development Program is designed for recent university graduates, while the Marriott Development Academy is intended for aspiring managers who want to take on leadership roles.
  • Macy’s: With a long-standing commitment to employee development, Macy's offers the Macy’s Store Management Executive Development Program, which provides high-potential employees training in leadership, strategic planning, and business management skills through coaching and job shadowing.
  • Wells Fargo: More than just a bank, Wells Fargo offers opportunities for its financial advisors to enhance their processes through the Practice Management & Leadership Development program. This program provides group learning and coaching programs to help them improve their personal skills, modernize their practices, and gain new clients.

How to build a coaching plan for employees

For coaching to be successful in the workplace, it’s essential to build an employee coaching plan that outlines the objectives, identifies expectations, and gives feedback along the way.

Here are the steps you'll need to take to build an effective employee coaching plan:

Diagnose where employee skills are today and where they’ll need to be in the future

Take a step back and assess where your employees are today in terms of skills and knowledge. 

What do they need to know to meet current job demands? And just as important, what will they need to know as their roles evolve? 

Doing this can help you identify areas where coaching would be most beneficial.

Interview employees and document their short- and long-term goals

To better understand what your employees want to achieve, interview and ask them about their short-term career goals (goals they hope to achieve in the next 1-2 years) and long-term career aspirations (next 5-10 years). 

Be sure to document these goals in their IDPs (discussed above) so you can track progress over time.

Build robust coaching programs

Design a coaching program that's relevant to your company's culture and values, as well as the specific goals you want to achieve. These programs can include:

  • Online courses: From webinars to eLearning modules, online courses offer a flexible way for employees to learn new skills at their own pace.
  • In-person seminars: Hosting regular in-person seminars brings employees together to gain new skills and gain insights from experts in a collaborative environment.
  • 1-on-1 mentorship: For a more personalized approach, 1-on-1 mentorship programs pair employees with a mentor who can provide guidance and support.
  • Collaborative projects with other teams: Creating opportunities for employees to work on projects with other teams can help them develop new skills while also building relationships with colleagues.
  • Job shadowing: Job shadowing is the simplest way to learn more about a job, specifically the expectations, duties, and challenges associated with a role.

Measure improvements and respond to feedback from employees

Don’t enroll employees in a coaching program and leave them to figure it out. Whether it’s formal or informal, regular check-ins with employees are crucial to understanding where they see improvements and what they want more of.

Create a system for measuring progress and collecting feedback so that you can make necessary adjustments along the way.

Resources for becoming a better coach

If you're new to coaching or want to brush up on your skills, there are plenty of resources available to help you become an effective coach. Here are some of our favorites:

Ensure every employee has a coaching plan with Together

From managers to entry-level employees, creating an employee coaching plan is an essential part of developing a strong and engaged team. It's an excellent way to boost morale and productivity, enhance performance, and build a foundation for long-term success.

If you're looking for a simple yet effective way to start an employee coaching program, Together can help.

Together is a mentorship platform that makes it easy for managers and leaders to design custom and impactful coaching programs that fit the unique needs of their team.

In just a few clicks, you can easily pair every employee with a relevant coach within your organization based on skills, interests, and goals, set up regular check-ins and feedback sessions, and track progress over time.

Start seeing results right away by signing up for a free trial of Together!

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