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7 October, 2016

Quickly Improve the Behaviour of Poor Performers by Focusing on Their Future Behaviour

To quickly improve the behaviour of poor performers, you want their managers to coach them using a Corrective Feedback coaching method.

There are 2 parts to this method – the first is for their manager to ask them the impact or importance of their inappropriate behaviour. We covered this last time, so this time we’ll cover the second part.

The second step is for the manager to ask them how they could improve their future behaviour. This is important. The reality is, you can’t change the past – only the future. The natural inclination for many managers is to ask for the person to justify their past behaviour – “why didn’t you do this, why did you do that?” But think about the mind-set this puts people in – it’s asking them to defend their past actions, so naturally they’re going to be more defensive when it comes to changing their behaviour.

If your managers ask poor performers for ideas about how they could change in the future, they are much more likely to be open-minded towards changing their behaviour.

Questions your managers might ask for this purpose include;

  • “What could you differently next time around?”
  • “If you were to deal with that situation again, what you could you do differently to get the right outcome?”

The critical issue here is that the key to coaching is to ask rather than tell. You want your managers to take 2 steps, asking poor performers the impact of their behaviour, and how they could improve their future behaviour.

Next time we’ll take a look at the most powerful questions you can ask in these Coaching Conversations.


To get our report “The #1 Most Costly Leadership Development Mistake Businesses Make, and What to do About It”, which shows how to make sure you get the increases in employee performance and engagement you’re wanting from your leadership development program, for more profit, click here.


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