The Art of Employee Coaching

August 16, 2016


When business owners are asked about the biggest risks facing companies, they tend to think of physical losses: property damage, computer hacking or theft. However, a common (but less obvious threat) may pose an equally daunting risk: disengaged employees.

Employees who are not personally invested in their company’s success cost their employers time and money. They do so by working inefficiently, producing subpar deliverables and radiating negative (and often contagious) energy that affects the morale of their colleagues, or worse, clients. Whether or not these employees are uninterested, burned out or unhappy, a disengaged worker can cause significant damage to the workplace. That is why the issue needs to be addressed quickly and skillfully, before it spreads.

There are many ways to combat employee disengagement, but perhaps none are more successful than coaching. Proper coaching from a skilled mentor can help stave off disengagement. It can also reverse the course of employees who have already “checked out.” It promotes higher productivity, greater employee buy-in and a favorable reputation within the industry – all of which can greatly impact success levels of the company as a whole.

Coaching Defined

Employee coaching is more than an annual review, or even monthly check-ins. It is a regular cycle of feedback and direction that supervisors offer the employees they manage. The process should include important pillars for achieving success such as goal setting and performance discussion. It should involve both critical and positive feedback. In addition, supervisors should tailor training lessons that relate to the specific job functions their employees perform on a regular basis.

A Gradual Process

In order to build the healthy rapport required for employees to be receptive to guidance, managers should establish a foundation of trust and open communication. Supervisors should not expect this to happen overnight, particularly if an employee is already exhibiting signs of disengagement. Managers should begin by communicating openly and honestly. They should sprinkle in coaching conversations slowly at first. Eventually, once trust and respect have been established, more in-depth coaching can begin.

When Employees Resist

In this Insperity blog post, a company performance consultant asserts that un-coachable employees are difficult to reach for one of three reasons: a lack of motivation, a lack of knowledge, or a lack of trust. To bridge these gaps, managers need to express a genuine commitment to employees’ personal success within the company and take the time to explain to them how their individual job function contributes to the company’s overall purpose. It is important to encourage their active participation, not just in the coaching process, but in the company’s culture as a whole.

If business owners want to increase staff engagement, coaching can be a powerful way to boost motivation and eliminate any disconnections between employees and their company’s mission. Encouraging managers to consistently and actively coach their teams may not only improve internal morale, but it may also positively affect the bottom line.

Eric Bonugli is a district manager and Kay Oder is a Certified Business Performance Advisor for Insperity located in the company’s Austin office. Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 30 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance.

Topics: Human Resources

Kay Oder


Kay Oder has owned six companies, has been a resource to thousands to businesses and brought solutions to help business owners minimize risk, improve business performance and navigate today’s highly regulated and complex “business of being an employer”.

Today, Kay uses the insights gained throughout her career as a speaker, business owner and business advisor. Audiences enjoy her candid, informed perspective on HR related topics as well as her razor-sharp southern wit.

Kay is also a Certified Business Performance Advisor with Insperity, the $2.6 billion business performance solutions provider she has called home since 1993. Kay has consistently been among the company’s top producers during her 20 plus years with the organization, earning Insperity’s highest honors, including the Top Volume, Circle of Excellence and the Chairman’s Club awards.

Prior to Insperity, Kay was the President and Co-founder of Texas Valve Specialists, a supplier in the oil and gas industry. She has also owned companies in the construction, demolition, machining and promotional apparel arenas. She spent four years as a client of Insperity and upon selling her last venture, joined the Insperity team.

From an early age Kay demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, beginning at age six when she sold cantaloupes from her parents’ front yard, which she offered three for fifty-cents, with a free puppy.

Kay and her husband, Dale, relocated to Austin from the Houston area in 1996 when a theft occurred in their family: their granddaughter was born and stole their hearts, so they had to follow.

Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 30 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance. Insperity® Business Performance Advisors offer the most comprehensive suite of products and services available in the marketplace. Insperity delivers administrative relief, better benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity through its premier Workforce Optimization® solution. Additional company offerings include Human Capital Management, Payroll Services, Time and Attendance, Performance Management, Organizational Planning, Recruiting Services, Employment Screening, Financial Services, Expense Management, Retirement Services and Insurance Services. Insperity business performance solutions support more than 100,000 businesses with over 2 million employees. With 2016 revenues of $2.9 billion, Insperity operates in 61 offices throughout the United States. For more information, call 800-465-3800 or visit

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