Your learning and development objectives seem straightforward: you want your team to learn and grow. But you’ve realized that your existing coaching plan isn't working as well as you'd hoped. Some of your team members are seeing success, but others are stuck in place—or worse. They're actually starting to lose ground, and you're seeing signs of frustration or disengagement.
You may have assumed that everyone needs coaching in the same areas and should follow the same path toward achieving their goals. But if you look closely at each individual, you’ll see there’s a lot more variety than you might expect. Your employees have unique learning needs, goals, and personalities—if you want them to do their best work and ultimately thrive, your coaching plan must account for those different aspects.
Personalized learning should be a major part of every organization's L&D strategy. Incorporating it into your coaching plan can make all the difference between employees who go through the motions and those who are truly invested in their own success. Here are some high-impact approaches to making the shift to personalized coaching plans.
You can improve coaching outcomes by addressing each employee’s specific needs. Everyone processes information differently—what works great for one team member will be a waste of time for another.
For example, if you have two employees who are struggling with similar issues, one might respond better to having their performance reviewed on a weekly basis, while the other might benefit by spending more time talking about their goals or brainstorming new approaches to current roadblocks. The key is to be flexible and willing to adapt your coaching style to find what works best for each person.
Take some time to learn about the people you’re coaching—who they are as a person, what motivates them at work, and what they want from their career. Then, based on those insights, you can customize your sessions to make the most of your time together. Let's say you're coaching someone who wants to move from sales to customer success, and you discover they struggle to set OKRs. Based on this insight, you can work with them to set OKRs that will help them acquire customer success skills.
If you're struggling to find the time to create fully individualized plans for each team member, you can start with an employee coaching template and then adjust it based on your employees' individual needs.
The key is to be flexible and willing to adapt your coaching style to find what works best for each person.
If your employee coaching program doesn't include personalized goals like KPIs or OKRs, you're missing out on the opportunity to help your team grow. Giving your teams something concrete to aim for and a clear map that illustrates how to get there will help them become more invested and motivated and make it easier for you to hold them accountable for their results.
To set clear coaching objectives, establish measurable goals very early in the process. Start by identifying a few specific areas where an employee wants to develop right away, then determine what needs to happen in order to achieve that goal. Goals will vary from person to person and may include:
The goals you set together don’t need to be complicated or grandiose. Establish a foundation before you tackle larger goals—you don't want to set unrealistic targets that will make your employees feel like they're falling short. Work on smaller, more attainable goals that support larger objectives and provide some quick wins. For example, if their goal is to lead a big project, a small win might be getting their manager on board with that project.
Related: Employee Wellness Programs: How to Set Goals and Objectives
Establish a foundation before you tackle larger goals—you don't want to set unrealistic targets that will make your employees feel like they're falling short.
As you coach your employees, you’ll want to make sure you customize each session to their specific goals and OKRs. Every employee has different needs and objectives, so it’s important to keep specific notes for each team member and review them before you meet. This gives you the opportunity to personalize every conversation and make sure employees get the most out of each session.
It’s also helpful to create an agenda for your coaching sessions, so everyone knows what topics are up for discussion and has time to prepare. To maintain consistency, send out an agenda in advance of each meeting to make sure everyone is on the same page. The agenda items for each meeting can include how they've progressed toward their goals and anything that's come up since your last session. You can also ask them to describe one challenge and one success they encountered throughout the week, then give them feedback on each.
Also, take note of anything that you coached your employees on during the week, and make a point to check back on that with them at the start of the next session. This will help both of you stay focused on the areas your employee needs help with most.
Create an agenda for your coaching sessions, so everyone knows what topics are up for discussion and has time to prepare.
Measuring the success of your coaching program is a great way to ensure that you’re helping each team member develop and improve. The most straightforward way to do this is to keep a close eye on the goals and OKRs for each team member to see how they’re progressing toward their goals and where they need help.
Another way to measure results is by conducting an assessment at the beginning, middle, and end of your coaching program. You can use this data to see which areas have improved and if there are any that still need work. This strategy is especially helpful if you want to see how much growth has taken place between assessments and where there is more work to be done.
Finally, ask employees for feedback on how their coaching sessions have helped them improve their performance and achieve their goals. By asking for their input, you’re giving them an opportunity to reflect on what they’ve learned and how they’ve grown during the coaching process. If you or your team needs a refresher on how to give constructive feedback, our peer feedback template might help: