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Performance coaching masquerades under many names. Some call it human performance technology (HPT); some call it human performance improvement (HPI); some call it human performance engineering (HPE); some call it human performance coaching (HPC); some drop the word "human" and just call it performance coaching (PC); some call it human performance enhancement (HPE); and, some call it human factors studies (HFS). There may be other names I may be missing here, but these keywords or key phrases capture much of the literature found on the web and in print about the topic. Much has been written about PC and related topics (see, for instance, Bakhshandeh, & Rothwell, 2022 in press; Gilbert, 2007; Mager, & Pipe, 1997; Pershing, 2006; Robinson, Robinson, & Phillips, 2015; Rothwell, 1999; Rothwell, 2015a; Rothwell, 2015b; Rothwell, Benscoter, Park, Woocheol, & Zabellero, 2014; Rothwell, & Dubois, 1998; Rothwell, King,  & Hohne, 2018). 

The premise of PC is simple. The same basic approach used by medical doctors to diagnose and treat illnesses can also be applied by consultants, human resources (HR) practitioners, and operating managers to diagnose and treat problems with human behavior and with human job performance. A similar approach is used by engineers to troubleshoot problems with machines or technology and offer solutions. It is an evidence-based approach to dealing with human problems (see Rousseau & Barends, 2011; Van der Togt & Rasmussen, 2017). 

Ask yourself this question: how many ways can the human body go wrong, and how many ways can those problems with the human body be solved? Answering that question is the challenge faced by medical doctors. Then ask yourself this question: how many ways can human behavior and job performance go wrong, and how many ways can those problems be solved? Answering that question is the challenge faced by performance consultants. 

Performance coaches apply an approach that is instantly recognizable and quite often expected by managers. PC is used by managers to solve a specific problem. They analyze the problem and issue recommendations to solve it based on their expertise in the area. Unfortunately, their recommendations are not always accepted by workers who have no ownership of solutions suggested by experts. This idea of calling in experts to diagnose and treat problems is called the medical model. It takes its name from the same approach used by medical doctors to treat illnesses.

Performance coaches apply a systematic approach to diagnosing and solving problems with human behavior and job performance. They identify the signs and symptoms of the problem; they collect data to determine the root causes of the problem; they brainstorm ways to solve the problems by addressing the underlying root causes; they discover the most efficient and effective ways to solve the problems; they seek to address any negative side effects caused by the solutions they identify; and, they manage and evaluate the implementation of the solutions. Often PCs draw on the vast research evidence that exists on how to improve human behavior and human job performance in work settings. Unfortunately, that research evidence is not always used in solving the human problems they face in organizations, and systematic ways of examining problematic human behavior are rarely taught in undergraduate and graduate courses on business management, government management, or even human resource management.

Consider a simple case study example of performance coaching in action.

The XYZ company is facing a problem with excessive turnover. In late 2021 the U.S. turnover rate for all organizations stands at 21 percent on average across all industries and locations. But XYZ company has a 70 percent turnover rate across all job categories and locations. The VP of Human Resources Maggie Smith calls in performance coach William Rosell, an expert in HR with 25 years of experience and a Ph.D. in HR, to "fix the problem" (her words). When Rosell asks Smith what is wrong, she says "we have a turnover problem." Rosell explains that Smith is conflating symptoms with root causes - a common point of confusion - and that turnover is a symptom of some underlying root cause; rather, turnover results from causes yet to be determined. Conceding the point, Smith asks Rosell for coaching to address the issue. 

In many cases, managers have occasion to use performance coaching when helping workers plan their future performance targets during performance planning and also reviewing and troubleshooting performance problems with workers reporting to those managers. It is thus essential as part of a comprehensive performance management system.

Why you should Attend

What are the most common problems that workers face in their jobs? Typical examples include:

  • Workers are not performing up to standards
  • Workers have trouble managing their time
  • Workers are tardy or demonstrate excessive absenteeism
  • Workers leave work without permission
  • Workers fail to show up for work ("job ghosting")
  • Workers misuse the internet during working hours
  • Workers are slow to meet customer requests

Common behavioral problems:

  • Workers are rude to customers or coworkers
  • Workers are insubordinate
  • Workers have trouble getting along with diverse employees

What is needed is a good approach for supervisors, managers, and executives to address these problems. That good approach is performance coaching. Hear about it - and how to use it - in this practical, dynamic webinar.

Areas Covered in the Session

  • Introduction
    • Opening poll
    • Overview of the session
    • Session objectives
    • Session organization
    • About the presenter
  • What Is Performance Coaching, and Why Should You Care?
    • Overview of Part II
    • Defining performance coaching
    • Reviewing why performance coaching is important for supervisors, managers, and executives
    • Fill-in-the-blank activity
  • What Model Can Guide Performance Coaching?
    • Overview of Part III
    • Reviewing a model to guide performance coaching
    • How to apply the model to typical job performance problems
    • How to apply the model to typical behavioral problems
    • Fill-in-the-blank activity
  • Summary and Final Q & A
    • Session Summary
    • Final questions and answers

Who Will Benefit

  • Supervisors
  • Managers
  • Executives
  • HR professionals
  • Small business owners

Speaker Profile

Dr.William J. Rothwell, Ph.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CPLP Fellow is a Professor of Learning and Performance in the Workforce Education and Development program, Department of Learning and Performance Systems, at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park campus. He is also President of his own consulting firms-Rothwell & Associates, Inc. and Rothwell & Associates, LLC. At Penn State University he heads up a top-ranked graduate program in organization development/change. He has authored, co-authored, edited, or co-edited 300 books, book chapters, and articles-including 111 books. Before arriving at Penn State in 1993, he had nearly 20 years of work experience as a Training Director and HR professional in government and in a multinational business.

As a consultant he has worked with over 50 multinational corporations including Motorola, General Motors, Ford, and many others. He has traveled extensively and has visited China 83 times and Singapore 32 times-among many other international travels.

In 1997 he and his wife founded a small business-a personal care home for the elderly that employed 27 workers. That company was sold in 2017.

He presently has four books in press: Workforce Development: Guidelines for Community College Professionals (Rowman-Littlefield, 2020 in press); Increasing Learning and Development’s Impact Through Accreditation (Palgrave, 2020 in press); Human Resource Essentials (Society for Human Resource Management, 2020 in press); and, Winning the Talent Wars Through Neurodiversity (Taylor & Francis, 2020 in press). His most recent published books include Innovation Leadership (Routledge, 2018), Evaluating Organization Development: How to Ensure and Sustain the Successful Transformation (CRC Press, 2017); Marketing Organization Development Consulting: A How-To Guide for OD Consultants (CRC Press, 2017); Assessment and Diagnosis for Organization Development: Powerful Tools and Perspectives for the OD practitioner (CRC Press, 2017); Organization Development in Practice (ODNetwork, 2016); Practicing Organization Development, 4th ed. (John Wiley, 2015); The Competency Toolkit, 2 vols., 2nd ed. (HRD Press, 2015); Organization Development Fundamentals (ATD, 2015); Effective Succession Planning, 5th ed. (Amacom, 2015), Creating Engaged Employees (ATD, 2014); The Leader's Daily Role in Talent Management Creating Engaged Employees: It’s Worth the Investment (McGraw-Hill, 2014), Optimizing Talent in the Federal Workforce (Management Concepts, 2014), Becoming An Effective Mentoring Leader: Proven Strategies for Building Excellence in Your Organization (McGraw-Hill, 2013), Talent Management: A Step-by-Step Action-Oriented Approach Based on Best Practice (HRD Press, 2012), the edited three-volume Encyclopedia of Human Resource Management (Wiley, 2012), Lean But Agile: Rethink Workforce Planning and Gain a True Competitive Advantage (Amacom, 2012), Invaluable Knowledge: Securing Your Company's Technical Expertise-Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent, Transferring Technical Knowledge, Engaging High Performers (Amacom, 2011), Working Longer (Amacom, 2008), and Cases in Government Succession Planning: Action-Oriented Strategies for Public-Sector Human Capital Management, Workforce Planning, Succession Planning, and Talent Management (HRD Press, 2008).

Dr. Rothwell received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a specialization in Human Resource Development, his M.A.B.A. in Business Administration with a specialization in Human Resource Management from Sangamon State University (now called the University of Illinois at Springfield), his M.A. in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his B.A. with High Honors and Department Honors from Illinois State University in Normal, IL. He holds certifications in HR (SPHR and SHRM-SCP), Corporate Training (CPLP Fellow), Organization Development (RODC), and Life Insurance (the FLMI designation).

He can be reached by email at WJRothwell@yahoo.com or by phone at 814-863-2581. He is at 310B Keller Building, University Park, PA 16803. See his website at www.rothwellandassociates.com, his videos on YouTube, and his wiki site at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_J._Rothwell