Coaching tips to boost employee engagement

In my previous article I discussed the reasons behind quiet quitting and how, in generic terms, you can tackle the challenges related to employees who perform “but just the minimum”.  Link to the article

I am thankful for the great feedback I got from the article, and it inspired me to continue on the theme. I will shortly share some coaching questions and advice how to meet the employee who show signs of frustration, lack of commitment and dissatisfaction. In many organizations the annual performance reviews and discussions are performed during Q1 and I hope the thoughts below will be useful.

The lack of engagement or frustration can be a blend of many things as mentioned in my previous article. It is usually never a question of one parameter and this is why coaching questions work so well in these circumstances. It gives the employee the chance to transform the negative feelings to something positive, constructive and engaging.

My recommendation is always start by thinking about your own way of managing the dialogue.  Before making up your own analysis it is always good to:

  • Listen carefully what the employee is saying and be emphatic by trying to understand what he or she is saying and, even more importantly what he/she is not saying. This will help you and your employee reframing the issue in a better way.
  • When understanding the issue you can also be certain that you provide the employee with the support he or she needs to overcome the frustration.

The common mistake is that the managers draw conclusions, build solutions and aim to solve the issue too fast, without really understanding the problem. Some questions to ask your employee and make sure you have understood correctly the situation could look like this:

  • What would success look like for you in this situation?
  • What resources or support would you need to feel more positive and motivated in your work?
  • Can you describe this situation to see it in a more positive light?Reflecting around the past experiences can be a source of additional insight. It might be that the employee has experienced negative emotions before and overcome those. These questions can widen the perspective to addition above:
  • Can you think of a time when you overcame a similar challenge? What did you do differently that worked well?
  • Have you tried any strategies to address your frustration? If so, what were they? Did they work?

In coaching practice, we always aim to some concrete improvement actions which are defined by the client. Elaborating the different ways to meet the feeling of frustration can be formulated also in following questions:

  • How can we work together to find a solution to this frustration?
  • How can you use your strenghts to overcome this frustration?
  • What can we do to ensure that your work aligns with your values and interests?
  • What kind of feedback do you find most helpful and motivating?
  • What is the one thing that you can do today to make a positive difference and reduce your frustration?
  • What can we do to celebrate your progress and achievements along the way?

I strongly believe that negative feelings can be processed in a positive way and above questions can sserve as a starting point to more in-depth dialogue on motivation, accountability and workplace satisfaction. When investing time and effort to coach your employee. One discussion will most likely not be enough and sometimes you might need to engage an external coach to support employee.

International Coaching Federations Global Coaching Client Study shows most clients reported improved work performance, better business management, more efficient time management, increased team effectiveness, and more growth and opportunities. The same study found that coaching clients noted greater self-confidence, enhanced relationships, more effective communications skills, better work-and-life balance, and an improvement in wellness. Nearly 70 percent of individuals indicated they had at least made back their initial investment.

We at AIMS International Sweden are specialized to support companies broadly when working with Talent Management issues including building new way-of-working and providing Executive Coaching, Leadership Assessments and Executive Search. Please contact us in AIMS International Sweden in case you want to hear more from the solutions we can provide.

Mikko Taipale works as Partner and Executive Search and Talent Management Consultant in AIMS International Sweden. He is also a Certified Coach by International Coaching Federation (ACC).  Before starting in AIMS International Sweden he worked close to 20 years in large corporates as a HR leader with a focus on Talent Management practices.


Mikko has more than 20 years of experience in international roles within large global organisations. He has hold Senior HR leadership roles and specialist positions within both telecom and automotive electronics and worked in Sweden, Finland and Germany. Mikko has a Master of Law degree and he has practised in the City Court of Helsinki. Before transitioning to HR Mikko worked several years within legal consultancy.


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