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by David Brock on February 27th, 2012

Follow-Up, a simple concept, but one which too many managers fail to execute.   Yet is is probably one of the most important elements of successful coaching.

When we coach our people, one of the critical elements is establishing the next steps and actions to be taken.  They may be tactical–about a deal, they may be improving the person’s capabilities or performance.  We want to see progress and change. 

But it’s insufficient to drop it there, we need to follow up, both to see  the outcome and to leverage the outcome to reinforce the coaching discussions.  Coaching is an ongoing dialog, we want to continue to reinforce and build on our discussions.  We miss a tremendous opportunity by neglecting to follow up.  Rather than having an ongoing dialog, our coaching becomes a series of isolated discussions, often missing the progress that may or may not have been made.

Too often, managers simply neglect to follow up, more often, they just forget.  Follow up can be easy.  After each meeting, schedule a “To-Do” in your calendar — write a note to your self, schedule the follow – up.  If it’s something tactical, for example, checking the outcome of a meeting or some other activity, write an email to the person, copying yourself, and schedule it for advance delivery.  For example, if there is an important meeting in 10 days, schedule a follow up email for the 11th day–“How did it go?  Let’s talk about what happened.”

Follow up can be simple and easy if we schedule them immediately when we agree upon them with our people.  Follow ups improve the results we get from coaching, they improve our own personal effectiveness.

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  1. Great post as always, Dave! When I follow up, I always attempt to do with some valuable to say. In other words, for me, It’s not just simply good enough to follow up but you need to bring some additional valuable information/news with you 🙂

    • Niall, it’s great to see you back here! I think you make a great point—we should always try to create value in each meeting/interchange. Without this, we’re actually wasting time. Thanks for the great observation!

  2. I had a friend suggest and I’m trying it with good results so far.
    The service let’s you forward, or cc, or bcc an email that will arrive back in your inbox on the desired date.
    A somewhat related service for regular reminders is called You tell it that you’d like to be reminded of some kind of recurring event and it will send you reminders at or around the time you want to be nudged.

    I’m glad I found your blog. (through Focus)

    • Dave, thanks for the tips. Looks interesting. I know the Outlook function works well for me–but anyone using Gmail can’t do this, so your suggestion is very helpful. Regards, Dave

  3. Derek Van Slyke permalink

    Couldn’t agree more. Good post as usual.

    While the final responsibility of good follow up may lie with the manager, I try to put some of the burden on the rep. It’s a good way to test their agreement and commitment to the improvement process. When done right, it also keeps the issue in front of them in the interim and saves the manager time.

    What do you think about sharing the burden of follow up?

    • Derek, you raise very important point. It really should be a shared responsibility. The coachee should be following up with the manager–it’s also great practice to make sure they follow up with customers. Thanks for the great reminder!

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