What Does Being “Coached Out” Mean?

With authority comes responsibility, and it can be best understood by a person working in a company’s HR. The Human Resource Department of every firm is the least liked one because they are responsible for managing people, their issues, problems, conflicts, salaries, etc.

And one of the biggest responsibilities is ensuring that all employees working in the company are right for the roles designated.

And it’s where layoffs, rightsizing, and firing underperformers come. Confronting underperformers and unfit employees are the hardest thing HR managers must do.

It’s not easy to tell anyone that you are no longer needed at the company. And it becomes even harder when you know the person is responsible for a family behind him.

Therefore, the HR department is always trying to come up with better strategies to say the same things differently. Be it feedback to employees or telling them to look for another job, HR managers have come up with nicer things to say.

Another reason why companies do not want to fire their employees directly is fear. The fear of being stigmatized as an organization where employees are not valued makes companies hesitant to fire their underperforming employees.

Coaching Out is a similar concept, and we are going to discuss it in detail. What does coaching out mean, why are employees coached out, why coaching out than firing, and a lot more. So let’s get into it.

What Is Coaching Out?

Coaching Out is a concept that explains the communication between the HR manager and the employee who might not be a better fit for the role or is constantly struggling to perform well.

Many people perceive coaching as something like making a stage for an employee to leave on their own. It is not about making working conditions miserable for the employee.

We can call coaching an ethical way of firing an employee. It’s when the company recognizes the partnership between the employee and employer. They honor the contribution of employees that he had made in the past. We can define the term coaching out as,

Coaching out is a communication between the employee and employer aimed at convincing the employee that he might not be able to continue his services for the same role. Communication leads to a consensus on a smooth transition plan for the employee.

The firms decide not to go with the formal disciplinary process of laying off an employee. Instead, the company goes for a more flexible and pleasant way of coaching the employees to look for other opportunities that might utilize their skills to a higher level.

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Reasons Why You Have To Let An Employee Go?

Why do firms decide to let people leave the organizations or departments?

There are many reasons or situations when business entities decide to let go of employees that are not needed or might not be the right fit for operations. Here are the main reasons why companies let employees leave:

  1. Most companies have a policy of letting the constantly underperforming employees go. When after several attempts of coaching to performance, no change is witnessed, and the ultimate decision of companies is to lay off such employees. Generally, experts say that the lowest 20% of the employees as per performance should be coached out. 
  2. When there is an economic downturn in the market, medium to small enterprises is the most affected ones. Therefore, laying off extra employees is inevitable for the companies. In such situations, companies usually decide to coach out the employees without getting the partnership affected.
  3. In many cases, when the requirements of a certain role change in the company, there is no option but to replace the employees having the right expertise. In such circumstances, companies have to coach such employees or offer them alternative roles in the company.
  4. Coaching out is not always from the organization, but sometimes the companies might coach their employees to other roles in the company.

What Does Being Coaching Out Mean?

As an employee, being coached out means being convinced that continuing the same role in the organization might not be fulfilling and worth it.

When the company advises employees to look for other positions at other companies, go after what they feel aspired for, or switch to another position in the company, it is called being coached out by the company.

Is Coaching Out the Same As Firing or Layoff?

Coaching out may or may not be considered the same as firing or layoff. Coaching out is more like ethical firing, where companies convince the employees to leave the organization voluntarily. In coaching out, the company is more kind and polite.

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They do not go through the formal disciplinary action of firing. Therefore, we can safely say that coaching out is not the same as firing or layoff.

Firing or layoff is a one-dimensional decision of the company that is imposed on the employee. Contrary to that, coaching out is a consensus between the employee and employer that the position is no more the right fit or the employee is no longer fit for the post.

Best Way To Coach Out An Employee

It is a heated debate among HR professionals about what is the best way to coach an employee out of his job. There is no hard and false rule for how to coach an employee, but we can suggest a better way to agree on a smooth transition plan between the employer and employee.

Despite coaching the employee at once, it’s better to work on ways to improve their performance. The method we will mention will only work when you have to coach the underperforming employees. So do it in three steps that are as follows:

Step #1 Coach To Performance

As a team leader, you have to address the low performance or struggles of one or members. It is necessary because a highly motivated team as a whole is what will help you achieve your goals as a team.

Therefore, the first step is to coach the under-performing employees on their struggles, problems, and possible solutions to alleviate the hindrances.

Step #2 Coach And Assess Consistently

Once you have discussed the performance issues with underperforming employees, the next step is regularly checking in on progress.

Do not let the employee on his own and record all progress by comparing it with performance goals. After a certain period, coach them on how their performance is lacking from the actual goals and what is necessary to meet them.

Step #3 Coach Them Out

The final and confronting stage is to coach them out. But don’t rush to tell them they need to switch jobs. Ask them if they would be happy to talk about another role in the same organization, at another company, or industry.

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Based on your personal relationship with the employee, give him suggestions on what can work better for him. Motivate him to take the leap and tell him that this has to happen in a formal way sooner or later. Therefore, he should find a better place where he will feel motivated to work.

How To Coach Employees Out Of Their Job?

As mentioned earlier, there is no hard and false rule of what should be the process for asking an employee to quit. However, how a company will coach an employee out of a job will be something like this:

  1. The first step is preparing to initiate the process, which implies documenting the performance gaps and reasons why an employee might need to leave the job.
  2. The next step is talking to Human Resources(HR) and explaining why it is necessary to coach a certain employee and how the transition plan will work. The legal options and procedures are also discussed at this stage.
  3.  The next step is where the actual communication between manager and employee begins. It is the stage when you describe the performance expectations, actual performance, and how it is affecting the business. This communication aims to tell the employee about the consequences or the next plan of action.
  4. Now it’s time to provide options to the employees. The options can be:
  5. Resign now or in the near future after taking some days to reflect on themselves
  6. Look for another position in the same company or somewhere else. However, the time given for this option depends on employees’ attitude, performance in the past, association with the company, etc.
  7.  If a consensus is not developed, you might inform them about the only option of a formal disciplinary process that the company will have to initiate.

Final Words

We have thoroughly discussed what being coached out means at any company. We have also highlighted other ways to avoid laying off employees by the method of coaching out.

However, it is inevitable for the companies to keep the best performing individuals because the ultimate goal of every business entity is profit generation and wealth maximization.