The purpose of One-On-One Coaching Meetings (see more on what it is here) is to maintain focus on achieving the goal (something of value) and to provide the necessary levels of direction, development and support with people that report directly to you. When implemented, this process will make each or your direct reports more focused and empowered to take on their individual tasks. Use this method to run the meetings:
1) Preparation by the Employee
To ensure a smooth One-On-One with your employee, it’s important that they are prepared to give you the numbers before the One-On-One takes place. It’s not unusual for employees to spend fifteen to thirty minutes preparing for this weekly meeting by pulling all the information from the past week together. They should also come with their list of discussion items, concerns, frustrations, questions, ideas, etc., to be discussed.
2) Preparation by the Manager
One-On-Ones are almost always the highest impact event of the week for the Manager. Therefore excellent preparation for it is very important.
The first step is to analyze the metrics for the employee and their business areas so you have questions to dig into with them.
Take a step back and ask yourself how the Employee is feeling these days. How is their commitment level? How are their skill and commitment level related to each of the key projects they’re working on or have coming up? What “situational leadership” style might you use on various projects you’ll be discussing?
Note: A simple One-On-One preparation form can be very helpful for both parties.
3) Opening Check-in
Right off the bat, you can measure the feelings of an Employee. More than once I’ve had meetings go exceptionally well by reading the mood of the Employee and changing course right away to be more supportive. And often I’ve missed this step and had these meetings go one-hundred miles an hour, sideways. Most likely you will say “So, Bob, how are you doing?” to start the meeting. The next few words that he says and how he says them will give you immediate information if you really listen to their response, and really care about the person.
This skill is especially important to master if you’re leading people who work from home or remote offices where you can’t read their body language.
If the response is favorable, such as “great” or “good,” proceed with One-On-One. In some cases, though, you might get an unfavorable response such as, “not so good” or “brutal.” At that moment you have to immediately find out what the dilemma is and diffuse it. You’ll learn that there will be a mixture of maturity levels within your base of employees, too.
4) Review Actual Results vs. Goals Set
Following up on the goals is important. As a Manager you want your employees to learn to hit the goals they promised. This builds commitment and discipline.
If they hit their goals, praise—and in a big way—is due. If they missed their goals, then dig in by asking as many probing questions as you need to uncover the root cause and to help move them and the project along.
5) Problem Solve
When an Employee misses their goals, you have to ask why. This is what drives the analysis of the call in, helps to generate options, and results in making recommendations to overcome the restraints and maximize the forward-driving forces. This is when a game plan is developed to ensure that the future proximal goals are achieved or exceeded.
It’s part of your job as a Manager to develop and refine your employee’s problem solving skills. You’re not responsible for solving these problems. Yet you are responsible for leading and developing your team into people who can solve their own problems.
6) Set Goals for the Next Period