Most performance review systems are a disaster. They’re a perfect example of a great idea – getting team leader and team member together periodically to review what’s work and what’s not and make plans for continuous improvement – that has become a bureaucratic “fill in the forms” exercise. They are demotivating and degrading in most organizations and would be better to be dropped altogether.

Moving to a more enabling role is all about coaching. Here are a few coaching tips and techniques.

  • Make a list of only the strengths (no weaknesses) of each of the people you lead. Meet with each person individually to review your list and get their input. Discuss ways you can play to their strengths and preferences by realigning or reassigning their roles and responsibilities.
  • Discuss the long-term career goals of each person on your team. Work with them to develop a personal growth plan that will help them get an objective assessment of their current strengths and weaknesses. Explore potential growth and development opportunities that will move them along their preferred career path.
  • When a member of your team comes to you with a problem, ask for his or her opinion on what to do about it before you offer your opinion or take the “monkey” off their back and put it on yours. Use questions to lead them toward areas they may not have considered. Provide relevant experiences or teaching points if this is a good opportunity to enhance their learning.
  • Meet with each person on your team before they go to a workshop or training activity. Discuss how what they’re going to be learning fits into their career development plan and/or the organization’s values or goals. Review what will be covered and how you can help them apply the training. Meet after the training (or periodically throughout if it’s an ongoing process) to review what was learned and how the training can be applied.
  • Meet with each team member for a performance discussion at least once every six months (quarterly is even better). Review their progress against the goals you set together at the start of the year. Hold them accountable for progress since the last meeting. Establish targets for the next quarter. Add your feedback and suggestions to theirs. Ask for input on what you should keep doing, start doing, or stop doing to help them reach their performance targets. Connect the conversation to their longer-term career aspirations and your organization’s vision, values, and purpose.