It’s one thing to recognize that one of your employees needs coaching from you in a specific area; it’s another to know how to go about it. Even if you know just how important coaching is to your employee’s performance and growth, it can still feel like a daunting endeavor at times, especially if it will be a difficult conversation.
That’s where an employee coaching plan comes in.
In the following article, we’ll review the definition of a coaching plan and what the key elements of one are. We’ll also provide you with a simple and editable coaching plan template so that you can start right away. Let’s begin.
What Is a Coaching Plan?
In the workplace, a coaching plan is a document that captures the tactical step-by-step process a leader will follow to provide their employees with the coaching they need to learn, grow, and develop in their given role. It should include the area of focus/topic of coaching, the desired outcome/end goal of coaching, the plan of action, and the corresponding timeline.
Writing a coaching plan aims to capture your talking points, solidify your goal, and plan your approach. This will help you enter any coaching conversation to feel prepared, organized, and ready for an intentional and productive discussion. A coaching plan makes it more likely that you will achieve your intended goal and provide the coaching your employee really needs to succeed.
What Are the Key Elements of a Coaching Plan?
An employee coaching plan doesn’t have to be long and complicated so long as it has the key elements. The key elements of a good coaching plan are the area of focus/topic of coaching, the desired outcome/end goal of coaching, the plan of action, and the corresponding timeline. Your goal is to capture that information in as much detail as you need to confidently approach all subsequent coaching conversations. Here is a brief explanation of each of the key elements you will need to include in your employee’s coaching plan:
First, start by stating what topic or area you want to focus on when coaching your employee. If there’s something they’ve been struggling with or a mistake they have repeatedly made, then this is the space to capture all the relevant information about that. Keep in mind, though, that coaching shouldn’t only happen when something goes wrong. You should also provide coaching to your employees as a means of reinforcing positive behavior or developing skills. For example, if you have someone on your team who you are preparing for a promotion to leadership in the near future, you might create a coaching plan where the goal is to develop their leadership skills.
The next key element to include in an employee coaching plan is the desired outcome. Ask yourself, what do I want to accomplish by coaching this employee? What do I want them to get out of this/do differently as a result of this? How will I know when I’ve succeeded? Not only will writing this down help keep it top of mind for you, but it will be important information to communicate to your employee so that you are both on the same page right from the get-go.
Once you know exactly what your focus and goal are for coaching your employees, you can begin to formulate a plan of action. This is the place to break down how many coaching conversations you expect to need, what you will cover in each, and if there are any particular exercises you want your employee to do that will support the learning experience.
The final element to include in your coaching plan is a timeline. Ask yourself, when will you sit down for the initial conversation? How often will you meet? When do you expect to see progress? While this timeline will give you an idea about what to expect and the time commitment it will require on your part, expect it to change as needs and circumstances do.
How Do You Write a Coaching Plan? Use a Coaching Plan Template
If it is your first time writing a coaching plan, it can be hard to picture what it should look like, which can keep you from getting started. Fortunately, we’re here to help remove that barrier by providing you with a simple Coaching Plan Template. It will come to you as both a printable PDF and a fully editable Google Doc so that you can write the coaching plan in the way that works best for you. You can download your own copy of the Coaching Plan Template.
Next Steps: Develop Your Coaching Skills With Niagara Institute
Even with a coaching plan template and the additional tools found in Beginner's Guide to Coaching Employees, you may still feel like you don’t have the knowledge, coaching skills, or confidence to provide the level of coaching your employees need and deserve.
If that sounds familiar, rest assured that you’re not alone. According to Gallup, “Only about 2 in 10 managers intuitively understand how to engage employees, develop their strengths and set clear expectations through everyday conversations. In effect, only about 2 in 10 managers instinctively know how to coach employees.”
Fortunately, leadership training and one-on-one coaching exist for this very reason. Whether you take a highly relevant coaching program designed for everyday leaders like yourself or seek out a professional leadership coach for a truly personalized learning experience, both options are designed to help you become the best coach you can be.