Problem child: Call a time out, huddle up

Friday, September 30, 2005

Q: How do you motivate an employee who seems like he's just going through the motions? When do you stop coaching and give an ultimatum that he improve or go find another job?
A: First coach, you must be consistent and your team members must see this throughout the organization. Whatever you have done with previous team members who have had similar issues is what the others can relate to. You must make a clean break from the old and replace it with a new model. There is no cookie-cutter approach to coaching. Every team member is different. However, you can still have a general process or model for team members "going through the motions."
Call a time out and huddle up
Move swiftly and speak to the team members early on. Assess the situation from their perspective.
Go deep and use coaching probes to get to the root. These include who, what, when, where and why. After you have gained their view, a good coach will share what they are seeing from the sidelines.
Be honest and clear.
Call the play
Before the team member gets back into the game, you must give them the play. This includes your expectations, their role and responsibilities for how the game should go from this point forward.
Let them know you will be watching the game, and you will call periodic time outs to assess their progress. As a coach, you will need to decide how many time outs you call before you need to consider trading the team member.
If the play you called has been clear and honest, there should be no surprises.


Ty Bello is vice president of homecare business development for Gulf South Medical Supply. Reach him at or (800) 532-4035 ext. 1640.