Formal Coaching for Extraordinary Performance

Last week I shared the research on the huge gap that lies between the frequency of ideal and typical coaching.  What your feedback on my survey showed was that  most of us would like informal feedback once a week or at least every other week, while the highest percentage of people said that their “worst manager” and their “current manager” “almost never” gave this type of informal feedback. Our work is cut out for us.

In that survey I also asked about “formal coaching.”  My admired friend Kim Cameron, Professor at the Ross Business School at the University of Michigan endorses  what he calls Personal Management Interviews or PMIs.  Cameron describes PMIs as meetings that “are regular (not just when a mistake is made or when a crisis arises), one-on-one, and face-to-face (not staff meetings, luncheon dates, or electronic messages).” Based on his consulting and research over decades, he concludes: “Successful positive leaders always hold these meetings at least monthly, if not more frequently. Seldom does this strategy work when frequency is less than monthly. Frequent PMIs are important both in organizations and in families. Many times, of course, leaders choose to hold PMIs more frequently than monthly.”*

As the following graph indicates, your experience of best and worst managers closely parallels Cameron’s wisdom. Over 60% of those responding said that their best manager offered formal coaching between weekly and once a month.

frequency of coaching by great managers

So today’s lesson to us, from us, is just incredibly simple and clear:

People hope their managers will give them consistent coaching to improve at what they do.  Next week: some surprising (to me) findings on what they want that coaching to be about (so, maybe you want to wait for that Reading for Leading) as you lead with your best self!



*Cameron, Kim (2012-08-06). Positive Leadership: Strategies for Extraordinary Performance (Kindle Locations 1200-1203). Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.