According to the Corporate Executive Board, effective performance conversations can increase enterprise contribution by up to 20%. Companies that reinforce those conversations with strong coaching in writing are at the high end of that estimate. Here’s why that’s the case:
Research shows that people are more likely to remember what they hear when they also see it in print. Reinforcement in writing allows someone to review a manager’s points and thoroughly digest them.
It’s simple and it works.
When a sales team responsible for one product experienced a 30% hike in revenue in just one quarter, senior leaders recognized coaching in writing as one contributing factor in that success. Every manager had learned how to write meaningful coaching follow-ups in the previous quarter.
A vice president in another organization shared this perspective: “Strong coaching in writing has had a huge impact on management.” She had been frustrated that the majority of performance reviews in her unit merely scratched the surface in providing helpful feedback. Her goal was to transform what she saw as “lazy” documents into “dynamic” performance improvement tools.
Even with lots of training to help leaders understand how to coach, most people still find it challenging to coach in writing. They have the WILL to provide effective feedback, but the SKILL is missing.
That skill has nothing to do with good business writing elements like organization, clarity and style. Those qualities have zero impact on behavior. What matters most is content, not structure.
To turn performance conversations into results-focused opportunities, managers must go beyond vague generalities and the typical litany of activities completed. Strong coaching in writing is always specific, and there’s always some direction. That’s the kind of feedback that drives performance, and as all successful businesses know—performance drives rewards.
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