Coaching and Counseling - Procedures

Last Updated 01/03
Applies to Administrators and Staff
Related Policies:


The University encourages open communication between employees and supervisors. It is the role of the supervisor to communicate job performance expectations to the employee. This communication exchange starts with the initial orientation and training of the new employee. As the employee performs the various job functions, it is essential for the supervisor to provide verbal feedback concerning the quality of work.

Coaching is the ongoing process whereby the supervisor directs the development of the employee through regular performance feedback. If the employee is meeting the supervisor’s expectations, positive feedback can be used to reinforce performance and further motivate the employee to even higher levels of performance.

Counseling occurs when there are performance problems and may be used to assist the employee in achieving a satisfactory level of performance prior to initiating any more formal resolution for administrators or any Corrective Action for staff. In such cases, the supervisor should meet with the employee to clarify performance expectations and determine what obstacles are impeding the employee’s ability to perform to standard. The problem could be a lack of clear instructions, a need for training, the lack of tools/resources, or the impact of another employee’s behavior. Whatever the cause, it is supervisor’s role is to minimize the barriers to acceptable performance and provide clear expectations for the employee. The position description can be a valuable tool for this purpose.

The following may be helpful in preparing for a counseling meeting:

  • Before the meeting – Review relevant documentation.
  • During the meeting – State the problem in terms of expected performance vs. actual performance; allow the employee to respond; and jointly develop a solution.
  • After the meeting – Document the meeting, and, most importantly, follow-up.

The counseling meeting should be viewed as developmental rather than punitive. For staff, the supervisor should stress that counseling is not part of the corrective action procedure, but that corrective action may result if the employee does not change the job behavior. Written documentation pertaining to the counseling meeting is not kept in the employee’s personnel file, but it should be kept in the departmental file or a management working file.

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