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Coaching is All About Context

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Consider the following profile. A leader of a regional operations team for a global corporation has improved operating efficiency by 20% over the past year. 70% of employees within the division (seven direct reports and 50 people over all) responded that they are either satisfied or very satisfied with this person‘s leadership. Turnover in the group is 10% per year. Is this person successful? Is she likely to remain in this role?

From this information, I don’t know.

I need to know more. How long has this person been in her role? What levels of efficiency has she achieved in the past compare to the most recent year? How competitive is her cost accomplishment compare to other divisions?

Is this leader aware of the primary challenges and opportunities facing her business unit, and is she effectively addressing them? With regard to employee satisfaction with leadership, how does the 70% figure compare with her historical numbers? How does it compare with other leaders in the organization and in the industry? What percentage of employees actually responded to the survey, and what is this organization’s experience with respect to the level of candor of responses? In other words, are these numbers that can be trusted?

And is this leader satisfied in her role? Is she engaged with her colleagues in with the business? Does she feel supported by her team? Does she inspire her direct reports and feel energized by leading this group? Does she feel sufficiently challenged in her current role, or perhaps overwhelmed by its demands?

Just as none of us would want to invest in or get a job at a company after watching a 30-second advertisement, we need to know more. All too often, evaluations are made to quickly.

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