The effective One-on-One

By Stuart_Selbst
In MSP Coaching
August 21, 2013

Loree Selbst / Stuart Selbst

coaching employeesIn my previous posts I have discussed the importance of setting performance expectations for your employees and holding frequent one-on-ones with them to be sure they are staying on track with these expectations.  Today I will discuss how you can make your sessions with your employees as effective as possible.

To reiterate, I believe one of the most important things we should do as leaders is to mentor our direct reports in order to help them learn, grow and develop, which in turn helps our company to do the same. Therefore, I believe in weekly one-on-one’s with every single direct report.

Once you schedule these weekly sessions, do everything you can to stick to them.  Naturally, things will come up which must be dealt with right away that will side track some of your sessions.  Reschedule the session immediately.

These sessions should always be held in private so if you have an office, close the door.  If you don’t but can find a conference room of some sort, use that instead.  However, if all you have is a cubicle then you will have to make do.  Just be sure your voices don’t broadcast across the office.  Your discussions probably only need to be 30 minutes in length but again, schedule one hour if you can as there might be times when you will need it.

Always begin by asking your employee what’s new, what’s going on, where they are with any assignments, what the customers are saying and so on.  Allow them the first 10-15 minutes (out of 30) to just talk to you and fill you in.  Also, ask them what is going right, what is going wrong and what they need from you.

During your 10-15 minutes you should be prepared to tell them how you plan to follow up on any issues they have brought to your attention, if necessary. You should also provide any positive and/or corrective feedback you may have and make other assignments or delegate appropriate items.

This time each week allows you not only to review their past week, but any progress they have made toward their annual performance expectations.  Always make notes on what the two of you discuss each time you meet.  In my years as a leader I found that it was easiest to type things into a document I created that broke the conversation down into 3 general categories; the employees 10-15 minutes, my 10-15 minutes and the last part of each meeting which should contain any immediate plans or actions items.

Before each one-on-one take a moment to pull up the past week’s discussion document so that you can follow up or review with them anything that is pertinent.  By keeping on schedule with these discussions, and keeping good notes, you will create a years’ worth of information that you can have at your fingertips when it comes time to write the annual performance evaluation.  You will also see your employees start to embrace the process and utilize the time with you to its full advantage.

Communication of this type is transformational and key to your success.  At Stuart Selbst Consulting we can teach you how to become a more effective leader.  Call us at 480-389-5481 if you could use help developing your skills in this area.

All the best in success,


Read More