The Stigma of the Coach Log

From my experience, the coach log is always looked at very negatively by employees.

Shocked businesswoman with hand on forehead Free Photo

They see it as a record of their workplace “transgressions”. I don’t blame them. After all, this is exactly how most organizations tend to use them. The phrase, “If you do something wrong, you’re going to get a coach log” has become a symbol of stigma. If this is the same belief in your organization than it’s about time that you change it.

A coach log documents understanding and agreement on improvement action. It is intended to be used for a positive outcome. When people have opposing views on a subject it is important to discuss it, make a decision and come to an agreement. But let’s face it, people can go against what was agreed and pretend that the conversation never took place or that they did not agree to any form of action. This is what a coaching form is truly meant to address. To provide physical evidence to the conversation.

There are many sample coaching forms available. In fact, you may already have one in your organization. However, does it contain all the necessary fields?

Here are the important ones:

  • Employee details (Name, position, department, etc.)
  • Coach details (Name, position, department, etc.)
  • Date, time and venue (of the coaching session)
  • What is the issue being discussed? (e.g. Lateness)
  • What is the requirement/standard/expectation? (e.g. Employee must be at work at 9AM)
  • How many times was there a deviation from the requirement/standard/expectation? (e.g. 3 times a week)
  • What is the justification provided? (e.g. Traffic jam)
  • What options are available/can be provided? (e.g. Moving the start work time later to 10AM or earlier to 7AM)
  • What was agreed? (e.g. Staff agreed to start work at 7AM)
  • When will the follow-up discussion take place? (e.g. 2 weeks/specific date)
  • Signoff (i.e. Coach and employee to signoff)

Lateness was used as an issue for the example above. But this can easily be adapted to any scenario where needs are in conflict (i.e. Business needs vs. employee needs / Manager expectation vs. employee expectation). For the above example, if the employee continues to come in late despite agreeing to start work at 7AM, a second coach log can be issued.

In most cases, a single coach log will do the trick however for troublesome employees, it is common practice that 3 coach logs documented for the same issue consecutively could lead to a warning letter. This is to provide data to HR that you
(the Manager) have made 3 sincerely attempts to sit down with the employee to discuss appropriate actions but the employee has failed to adhere to what was discussed and agreed.

How much do you know about coaching? Do you need expert advice? 

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