How To Have Coaching Conversations With Distribution Employees

Home » Podcast » How To Have Coaching Conversations With Distribution Employees

Four myths prevent frontline leaders from having coaching conversations with distribution employees. If you are to commence coaching, many believe it is either to invoke disciplinary action, it will be time-consuming, only managers can initiate the conversation, or it will be intimidating.

Coaching Conversation Fiction

Myth One: Strictly for Disciplinary Purposes

If you are not writing someone up when an expectation has not been met, why else would you have a conversation with them? This is not the only time you should be meeting with team members.

Myth Two: Time-Consuming

Coaching conversations take a lot of time and energy and require a lot of paperwork. However, you can time if you get into a good routine with your coaching conversations and keep a few notes that you can refer back to.

Myth Three: Strictly for Managers

Managers are not the only ones who can conduct coaching conversations. If you, as the frontline supervisor, choose to meet with your employees, you may find that they are more engaged.

Myth Four: Intimidating

If coaching feels intimidating, then the problem is not the act of having the discussion; it is more likely in the delivery. Adjust your approach from accusation to conversational for better results.

The fact is that employees who receive minimal individual interaction with their supervisor are more likely to be disengaged. In comparison, 67% of employees with twice the amount of one-on-one time with their supervisor are less likely to be disconnected.

That is why these conversations are crucial for your team’s level of engagement, reducing turnover, increasing retention, and overall performance.

Leaders Need to Make Time for their Teams

Our training programs are not limited to one department. On one occasion, a young engineer shared their frustration over the lack of communication with their direct manager. This individual wanted time to discuss his performance on assignments and where there was room for improvement so they could continue to develop professionally.

Unfortunately, when this individual approached their manager about conducting these check-ins, the response was, “Look, I am really busy. Just assume that no news is good news. You are doing fine. If there is a problem, I will talk to you.”

By not making time to connect with your team members, they will not know where they stand, what they could do to improve, and what growth opportunities are available.

Productive Coaching Conversations with Distribution Employees

Tip One: Schedule Time

You will only have one-on-one time if you make it a priority in your calendar. Look at your week and decide how many short coaching conversations you could have in a day. From there, you can access what day of the week and what time of the day you can make yourself available for a 10–15 minute coaching conversation.

It does not need to be more than that if you are doing this regularly enough to have a short “touch base” where your team can interact with you.

Tip Two: Recap Achievements

Most individuals do not know what they are achieving and how they can win in the workplace. They will feel good about their progress by recapping achievements for themselves and the group as a whole.

Tip Three: Strengthen, Do Not Criticize 

Avoid leading with a positive and following it with a negative. Focus the conversation around strength. Then the third tip is to focus on strengthening rather than criticizing. Use phrases that encourage growth from your recipient.

“You will be even more effective if you do this,” or even “You would be even more reliable if you do that,” can inspire growth with recommendations rather than demotivate by highlighting flaws.

If you can make time for your team to focus on recapping achievements, and reframe how you communicate improvements, your coaching conversations will no longer become a pain point in your workday. Instead, they will become a highlight as you see how these changes can improve overall productivity and performance.

Your Leadership Journey Does Not End Here

Once you have adjusted your approach to coaching conversations, you will be ready to focus on furthering your other leadership skills.

 Our Front Line Leadership Program is available onsite, in-person, virtually, publicly, or exclusively.

 We have also recently launched our Front Line Leadership On Demand program, delivered through a user-friendly LMS that allows participants to track progress over ten modules.

 Start the conversation with us by visiting our website, There is also an option to “Book a Meeting,” where we can discuss how we can benefit you and your organization.

Together we will help you build leadership excellence to achieve organizational excellence and best-ever performance.