Here are 4 Steps to Strong Coaching from Managers.
- Are you a Manager? Ask yourself ‘Do I take these Steps?’ and then file this away for when you need it.
- Are a Host or Executive? If you are a real go-getter then you are hungry for this kind of feedback. Or, if you suspect that you are on ‘thin-ice’ with your manager, then suggest these steps to get their actual opinion of you, and to engage them in proactively coaching you.
This program takes you through the detailed steps of addressing and improving performance:
Step 1 – Prepare a Clear Assessment
- Is there a written job description that details the expectations of the job?
- Is there a standard Annual Evaluation Form for your Property?
- Set aside 30 minutes of quiet time to reflect on the Host’s soft skills:
- Read through the Job Description and the Evaluation Criteria
- Give the Host a ‘grade’ of ABC for each part of the Job Description and the Evaluation Criteria.
- A = ‘Really good at this’
- B = ‘Okay at this’
- C = ‘Not good enough at this’
- For the C’s, write down 3 specific examples of where the Host went wrong.
- Are their written goals such as ‘Increase Theo by 10% over last quarter?”
- If so, review the Host’s results.
- Reflect on your assessment of the Host’s soft skills.
- How can the Host meet/exceed their goals by working on their B’s and C’s?
- Prepare your summary! Map out a conversation that runs like this:
- Here are some areas that are really strong for you!
- These are some areas that need improvement.
- So we have talked about your strengths, and some areas that you need to improve, and I am here for you. Moving forward, how about we do X and Y each month.
Step 2 – Set up a Meeting but Don’t Terrify Them!
Schedule an hour with the Host.
Make sure your email gives them some homework to do ahead of time, so they can sit and reflect beforehand.
- Subject “Discuss your Results”
- Hi Jackie, Let’s spend some time going over your Job Description (attached) and discuss what you do well, and where you could improve. This is an informal conversation to see where I can give you some pointers on how to succeed. Please read the Job Description ahead of time and think about what you do really well (A), what you do adequately (B), and where you think you can improve (C). You won’t be giving me your own score but I want you to have thought ahead of time about what you see as your strengths and your areas for improvement. PS. Great job on the event last night. Thanks!
Try not to freak them out with your email! You don’t want them to lose productivity as they fret about the meeting.
Step 3 – Meet and follow the Sandwich Method
Meet with the Host in calm quiet place, and run the meeting as the Sandwich Method.
What is the 3-step Sandwich Method for giving feedback?
- Start with something positive (bread)
- Cover the negatives (the meat!)
- Close with encouraging words (more bread)
Sometimes, managers will describe the bread as fluff, but it really isn’t.
To stay motivated, the Host needs to know where they are strong (first slice of bread), their challenges (the meat), and that you still believe in them (last slice of bread).
(Of course, you might be at the point where you don’t still believe in them! In which case, look further down at Corrective Action.)
You run through the conversation that you prepared earlier:
- Here are some areas that are really strong for you! (The A’s)
- These are some areas that need improvement. (The C’s)
- and, we have talked about your strengths, and some areas that you need to improve, and I am here for you. Moving forward, how about we discuss this when we meet each month?
‘As you cover each Job Skill, do not ask them what grade they gave themselves! That was just an exercise to get them thinking.
Describe the behavior as you see it, with a specific example.
Focus on the behavior and not what you suspect to be the reason:
- You don’t talk to as many guests as necessary. Not – I think you’re scared/lazy/too busy with your phone.
- Your appearance needs to improve with a sharper image. Not – I think you’re scruffy, and without taste in clothes.
Don’t ask them to agree to your assessment!
- They don’t have to agree with you, they just have to listen carefully and then take steps to meet your expectations.
- If they say, “Well, I don’t see it that way…‘, you say ‘The point here is that I see it this way, so you are going to have to work to change my perception“.
Finally, give the Host something in writing that summarizes the C’s. This can be as simple as this:
- Jackie, we met on 3/19 to discuss your performance. I have asked you to focus on the following:
- Make sure you talk to 40 guests a week.
- Improve your image to be sharper and in line with the rest of the team.
- Focus on 10 Inactive players to get them back on property.
Ask them to sign your copy, and put it in your folder.
Schedule another meeting in a month’s time to discuss their improvement.
Step 4 – Monitor and give Feedback
For the next 30-60 days, depending on how urgent the situation is, you monitor their behavior, and note specific examples.
- Send ‘atta-boys’ for positive change. “Hey! Just a quick note to say congratulations on meeting your goals this week”
- And send ‘Nahs’! “Hey, we talked about your appearance and I was not impressed when I see your tie undone yesterday”.
I know from experience that it can seem like a large investment in time to meet regularly with each team member and go through this kind of process. But if you don’t, and you just wait until the Annual Review, then:
- You are at risk of the employee saying the dreaded words ‘This is new to me! You’ve never mentioned it! How can you ding me for something that you never told me! I am going to HR”.
- Plus! One of your key roles as a manager, is to coach and grow your team.
Are You ‘Done” with this person?
If you ‘done’ with this person, then it is time to meet with your HR representative and find out the process for “Corrective Action” which usually includes verbal warnings, written warnings, and then dismissal.
If your Property doesn’t have a Correction Action process then consider the following steps so that you can protect yourself against a charge of unfair dismissal. You can also Google for Correction Action Process. Consult with your manager and make sure they are aware of what you are doing, and support your actions.
Make sure everything is written down, or in a printed email, and put into a physical folder along with dates.
Give verbal warnings such as ‘We have discussed your appearance. It is is not acceptable and you must improve it within 30 days or you risk disciplinary action that could result in termination’. Hand-write a note for your file that captures what you said, the date, the rough time, and the location. And what the employee said, if anything.
If the change is insufficient, then put the same words into writing. ‘We have discussed your appearance. I gave you a verbal warning on 3/19. I am now giving you a written warning that this is not acceptable and you must improve it within 10 days or you risk disciplinary action that could result in termination’.
And then, if the time comes, you are well-prepared to justify the termination, and you can feel good that you did everything that you could to help the employee.
In summary, your role as the manager is:
- Be crystal clear about your expectations and whether they are being met.
- Give the person a chance to change and succeed by being clear, being consistent, giving specifics, and providing immediate feedback.
- Grow the talent that is on Property
And, not incur the expense of constantly bringing in new people, training them up on your Club and Amenities, and then moving them on because they did not ‘cut it’.
As always, let Jackie know if you have anything to add to this!
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