Magazine article Talent Development

Make Space for Coaching: Regular Meetings with Your Employees Should Be Made a Priority

Magazine article Talent Development

Make Space for Coaching: Regular Meetings with Your Employees Should Be Made a Priority

Article excerpt

"He resigned in the men's restroom." Those were the first words out of my client's mouth on a call a few weeks ago. I was sure that I had a poor telephone connection and had not just heard that one of my clients' direct reports had given his resignation in the restroom. What had happened?

The story was long, but the bottom line was that my client's days were so full that his direct report told him that it was the only time the two of them could talk. The direct report said that he could not wait more than 3.5 weeks to get on his supervisor's calendar. The resignation was effective immediately.

That's an extreme case of a too-full calendar--a calendar that did not afford my client the space for coaching and supporting his direct reports.

HR professionals know well the high costs of refilling a position. There are vacancy costs while the employee's position remains open. Business impact costs include the loss of clients, increased competition as the employee moves to a competitor, and disruptions in teamwork, as well as a loss in productivity as the new hire masters her job.

According to Dun & Bradstreet business research, it can cost organizations 150 percent of an individual's salary to replace that person in a management position. Rehiring for an employee's position can cost 12 percent of pre-tax income for a company with average employee turnover, and 40 percent of pre-tax income for companies in the 75th percentile of employee turnover, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Rehiring an employee's slot is time and resource intensive.

So what can you do to ensure that you have time to connect in a meaningful way with your direct reports and retain your key talent? Add a little SPACE to your calendar: specific time to connect, preparation, agenda, consequences, and expectations.

Specific time to connect

Set aside precise times to connect with each member of your team. If you rely on ad hoc times to connect with your team members, it won't happen.

Consider scheduling all of your connection and coaching sessions with your team members on the same day each week, every other week, or each month. That will allow you to quickly discern and connect the themes from what is said in each session. Keep the sessions short-30 minutes or less--and consider having the meeting in a location other than your office or your direct report's office to minimize distractions and interruptions.


The key step to preparing for the one-on-one session is to make it simple and doable. Using Outlook, you can create a rule to automatically forward all of the emails you send to each of your direct reports that require follow-up to a specific folder labeled with the employee's name. Then, when it is time to prepare for your meeting, you have all of the items you want to discuss in his folder in your inbox--automatically.


A meeting without an agenda is destined to run long and veer off track. Ensure that the time you spend with your direct report is on target by preparing an agenda in advance of the meeting.

An effective agenda clearly states the outcomes or goals of the meeting and ensures that an appropriate amount of time is allotted to each agenda item. Use the Outlook folder you created with the items you wanted to follow up on as the starting point for your agenda. Also, ask your direct reports to prepare an agenda or at least a list of items they want to address so your time together is both structured and highly productive. …

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