General Best Practices for Coach Managers

We are in an exciting time for coaching and development. Gone are the days where employees get feedback once a year in an annual performance review because many businesses are now opting for lightweight, engaging, and effective coaching and development tools like Limeade Listening Coach.


But it is not always easy to change decades-old management processes, so read on for a few best practices to help you as a leader transition to real-time, feedback-based coaching and development practices.



1. Hold regular 1-on-1 conversations


Coach is a tool to spark meaningful conversations and we think you should be having those conversations in-person. Amy Adkins from Gallup states:


"Employees' engagement is directly influenced by their managers' engagement -- whose engagement is directly influenced by their managers' engagement... Employees who are supervised by highly engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged [themselves].”



Setting effective goals, reviewing performance, and providing feedback with Coach is not always enough to keep employees engaged. Stay focused on the human element of coaching and development by having regular 1-on-1 meetings with your direct reports.


The best 1-on-1s are weekly or bi-weekly for 30-45 minutes. 


Apart from resolving any issues that there may be, the main benefit of the 1-on-1 meeting is to give employees the support they need to continually grow in their roles. When they see your commitment to their progress and development, they will be more motivated to do the best work that they can and are less likely to up and leave for another opportunity.


1-on-1’s are not easy.  The good news is that the Limeade Listening 1-on-1 will make it easier for you.  48 hours before the 1-on-1, your team members will receive a structured update to fill out.  Going into the 1-on-1 you will know:

  • How they are feeling

  • What they are proud of

  • What they need help with

  • Agenda items they want to discuss

  • And who else in your organization deserves recognition from you.


To optimize your use of Coach, be sure to get your 1-on-1’s scheduled. 


2. Help your teams write great goals


The best way to grow your employee’s career is to start one goal at a time.  By having clear goals, you and your team member will be set up for better conversations in your 1-on-1’s.  


The best goals are SMART.  They are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. They clarify objectives so there are no questions about what success looks like. 


Goals should be written SMART-ly as often as possible to minimize ambiguity. As a manager, you should work with employees to write goals using this framework, then enter them in Coach to keep top of mind each 1-on-1 discussion. 


SMART goal Example


Increase sales: This goal is not:

  • Specific (Increase sales by how much?)

  • Measurable (Is success considered any sort of increase or is there a specific target you want to hit?)

  • Achievable (Can you increase sales? What will you do to get there?)

  • Time-bound (When should I see results?)

  • The user is left with a lot of questions surrounding this goal


Increase sales of Products X, Y, and Z by 12% by the end of Q3 2023: This goal is:

  • Specific (products X, Y, and Z)

  • Measurable (12%)

  • Achievable (I'll trust this target is within the employee's skillset)

  • Relevant (this is most certainly applicable to employees in a sales role)

  • Time-bound (end of Q3 2023)


3. Set aside 5-10 minutes per 1-on-1 to prepare


Timeboxing is a term used in agile software development which means putting strict time boundaries around an activity. When the time limit is up, you finish working whether you are done or not. When you set a time box, you are more motivated to finish tasks efficiently because you know you are working against a clock.



When using Limeade Listening Coach, only allow yourself 5-10 minutes per 1-on-1 to prepare This limitation will motivate you to work quickly and efficiently to understand what employees need, give high-level feedback, and outline an agenda for your 1-on-1 meetings.


4. Get feedback


Another great way to continually improve is through qualitative feedback provided by people you work with. Use Coach's 360 Feedback tool to request feedback about your direct reports from colleagues, cross-functional partners, clients, and external parties to get their thoughts on how you can improve.  You can get 360 feedback at any time by going to the 360 link on the left-hand navigation.


5. Take notes!


Before, during or after your 1-on-1’s you have the ability to take notes.  You can add in shared notes your team member will see memorializing your meeting or you can add in private notes for your eyes only.  The great thing about Coach is your team member can also do the same, thus ensuring you both are on the same page at all times.  When it comes to review time, Coach aims to ensure there are no surprises. 

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