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Coaching for Results


On average, how much time do you as the owner, along with your store managers, spend coaching your employees on a daily basis? Giving instructions and telling your employees what to do doesn’t count as coaching. What I’m talking about is meaningful one-on-one time where you’re helping, suggesting and showing your employees how to perform their jobs better.

Think of a sports team. When the players and coaches are together, either during the game or at practice, coaching the players to perform better is all the coaches do. If your stores aren’t achieving their potential, maybe it’s a coaching problem.

I think by all accounts we can agree that Google is a highly successful company. A recent survey revealed that Google’s best and most effective managers demonstrate eight key behaviors. As the owner of your business, along with your store managers if you operate multiple locations, rate your company in these eight Google behaviors, using the following scale: 1=Excellent, 2=Needs Improvement and 3=Poor.

  1. Is a good coach.
  2. Empowers the team and does not micromanage.
  3. Expresses interest in and concern for team members' success and personal wellbeing.
  4. Is productive and results oriented.
  5. Is a good communicator — listens and shares information.
  6. Helps with career development.
  7. Has a clear vision and strategy for the team.
  8. Has key technical skills that helps him or her advise the team.

Here’s also a few of my own key behaviors:

  • Clearly communicates team goals: first, second and third shift.
  • Gives actionable feedback regularly that helps improve employee performance.
  • Recognizes and rewards the behaviors you’re working hard to promote and want to see more of.
  • Delivers difficult feedback constructively.
  • Shares relevant information.
  • Helps employees understand how their work impacts the company; connecting job to the big picture.
  • Has had meaningful discussions with employees about career development in the past six months.
  • Supportive and places trust in the team.
  • Gives a clear vision for the team. Employees know the biggest priorities ahead.
  • Celebrates individual, team and company success.

Coaching Strategy
Owners and managers must go beyond overseeing the day-to-day work and support their employee’s personal needs, development and career planning. That means providing smart, steady feedback to guide people to greater levels of achievement.

Identify, describe and institutionalize the essential behaviors you need your employees to consistently demonstrate in order for your company to be successful and achieve its potential. Don’t expect your employees to demonstrate the required behaviors if the folks you have in leadership positions cannot or will not demonstrate the same behaviors.

Leaders must lead by example, not speeches. Coaching doesn’t have to be a long drawn-out process. Simply hold one-on-one meetings with each employee, what we refer to in my company’s Leadership Academy as "10-10 Huddles." The employee has 10 minutes to give their supervisor feedback on the supervisor’s performance, in terms of how they can be helping the employee better. The final 10 minutes are for the supervisor to give the employee feedback on their performance.

These 10-10 Huddles are not performance reviews but rather, timely feedback to help the employee improve their job performance now, not next week. You can equate these 10-10 Huddles to how coaches interact with their players during the course of the game. Coaches do this because they want to win the game.

You now have an 18-point coaching assessment and a strategy of how to move forward. Get to work. Your competitors aren’t going to wait for you to get it right!

Terry McKenna is principal and co-founder of Convenience Store Coaches & Employee Performance Strategies Inc., where he helps convenience retailers achieve greater financial results by optimizing their workforce. McKenna can be reached at (910) 458-5227 or [email protected]. He also maintains a blog at

Editor's note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner.

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