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7 Tips for Coaching Difficult Employees - Sarah Hedayati - Blog

7 Tips for Coaching Difficult Employees

Whether you’re a man­ager, super­vi­sor, or trainer, one of the inevitable aspects of your job is the need to deal firmly and fairly with prob­lem employ­ees. Just as there are any num­ber of rea­sons why an employee can become a problem—bad atti­tude, inabil­ity to do what’s required, unre­spon­sive­ness to feed­back on per­for­mance, and so on—there are var­i­ous ways to han­dle the issues and the employ­ees who cre­ate them.

Fol­low­ing are seven tips to keep in mind.

  1. Deal with the issue right away. If you delay your response or ignore the issue alto­gether, you may look weak and inef­fec­tive. You’ll also send a mes­sage to other employ­ees that they too can get away with inap­pro­pri­ate behavior.
  2. Stay calm and poised. Because you’re the one in the posi­tion of author­ity, you’ll set the tone of the dis­cus­sion. Always main­tain a pro­fes­sional demeanor and con­vey a tone that says,  “This isn’t work­ing. How can we fix it?”
  3. Allow the employee to vent. Just as you would an upset cus­tomer, give the employee a few moments to air his or her griev­ances. Some­times this vent­ing is exactly what a per­son needs to do before calm­ing down and dis­cussing the issue more rationally.
  4. Empathize. Let an upset or dis­grun­tled employee know that you’re aware he or she has strong feel­ings about the issue and that you’re inter­ested in help­ing the employee to resolve them. Empathiz­ing is not the same thing as agree­ing. It just lets peo­ple feel heard and acknowledged.
  5. Focus on the issue, not the per­son. No mat­ter how strongly you believe that the employee’s behav­ior or atti­tude is at the root of the prob­lem, don’t make the issue a per­sonal one. You want to com­mu­ni­cate that you are for the employee but against the behavior.
  6. Always give the employee an out. It will only fur­ther upset employ­ees if they feel that they’re being backed up against a wall. When work­ing to resolve an issue, be sure to give the employee an oppor­tu­nity to choose the cor­rect out­come of the discussion.
  7. Focus on a solu­tion. When emo­tions are run­ning high, it’s all too easy to get stuck in a con­tin­u­ous cycle of dis­cussing the prob­lem. Once the issue has been clearly iden­ti­fied, move the dis­cus­sion for­ward by focus­ing on ways to resolve it.

Print this list and keep it handy for the next time you need to coach a prob­lem employee.

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- originally published on Impact's Customer Service Blog at  - learn more about call center sales trainingcustomer service training programs and customer service assessments from Impact Learning Systems.

Publish Date: February 23, 2012 6:17 PM

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