Tips on Coaching an Employee

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Since you want your team to innovate, they need to take risks. When they take risks, they have the potential to make mistakes. Although everyone makes mistakes, serious ones can end up costing your company significant amounts of money. As a result, you need to handle mistakes as they happen to avoid repeating them. Follow these guidelines to successfully meet with a team member who made a major mistake at work. 

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Ask Questions  

Privately talk with your teammate to determine how the mistake was made. Find out what was going through their mind, what result they expected, and why they thought it was a good idea. Remember that your team member probably had good intentions for the action they took. Perhaps you could’ve more clearly explained something, set different expectations, or better transferred your skills and expertise.  Maintain professionalism and composure throughout the discussion.   

Talk About Solutions 

Find out how your team member plans to fix the mistake and minimize the impactHold them accountable for their actions to change their mindset and get them back on the path to success. Remind your teammate to take the time to focus on the bigger picture and consider all options. Making a quick decision can have an additional adverse impact on the business. Act as a sounding board throughout the discussion. Provide your input as needed. 

Invest in Training  

If the mistake was made due to lack of knowledge, provide training in the area. Since everyone learns differently, perhaps your teammate needs to spend more time developing in a certain area through explanations and hands-on experience. Work with your team member to create a plan to implement what they learn. Provide coaching to further develop the area needing work. Using time and other resources for additional training and coaching helps your company long-term. You want to avoid having a similar error occur in the future.   

Consider the Frequency of the Mistake 

Think about whether this was the first time your teammate made a mistake or a regular occurrence. If they consistently make errors, have a strict conversation with them. Remind your team member to carefully consider their decisions and take action best suited for the situation and company. Encourage them to run their ideas by you before they choose how to proceed. You might point out something your teammate didn’t consider that could change the way they handle an issue.     

Resolve Business Problems  

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