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Coaching and Work Planning Guidelines

Regular two-way feedback is intended to keep the supervisor and the staff member working in a successful partnership.


  • Regular day-to-day feedback
  • Positive feedback—let supervisors, co-workers and employees know when you appreciate the work they are doing—recognize and compliment the kind of behavior you want to see continue
  • Corrective feedback—to note problems and a plan for solution (see the 4-part feedback planner)
  • Two-way: the supervisor needs to elicit feedback as well as give it
  • Focus on work outcomes
  • A periodic review and updating of KARs and goals in the work plan.


  • Frequently—as work outcomes are apparent
  • Informally based on staff member work – quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily, after completion of special projects, after notable accomplishments, etc.
  • Two semi-formal sessions, about 1 hour each to review the current work plan and progress towards goals.
  • Encourage your staff to initiate meetings with you as needed.


  • Communicate with (as opposed to checking up on) the staff member.
  • At the agreed upon times (as well as informally through the year), discuss with your staff member his or her progress in meeting goals and any measurements that may be listed in the work plan. BE SPECIFIC and have examples prepared. Be prepared to make adjustments to work plan expectations, or to provide resources or assistance if necessary.
  • NOTE IN WRITING any changes to the work plan.
  • Your staff members need to be aware of your ongoing perspective of their work. It remains your responsibility to ensure that your staff members know, perhaps using multiple methods and sources of feedback, where they are doing well as well as where to improve now and through the year.

LSA Mission Statement

“To achieve pre-eminence in creating preserving and applying knowledge and academic values, to enrich the lives of students, and to transform them into leaders and citizens who challenge the present and illuminate the future.”

Sample Unit Mission Statements

Anthropology mission statement for staff:

"The mission of the Department of Anthropology staff is to support students and faculty, teaching and research, and each other."

LSA Finance Team:

"The LSA Finance Team supports College faculty and staff in the use and management of Unit, College and University financial resources."

LSA HR Administration Team:

"The LSA Non-Academic HR Administration Team supports College units in making and implementing resource allocation and procedural decisions that result in recruitment and retention of staff capable of supporting the mission and goals of the unit and the College."

Types of Goals

A goal is a written definition of what you expect to accomplish within a specific period of time. Goals should be strategic and can be found at many different levels in an organization. (1) Organization Goals, (2) Unit or Department Goals, (3) Individual Goals.

Types of Goals:

Maintenance Goals

  • Major substance of your work
  • Cover primary on-going job responsibilities
  • Based on job description

Development Goals

  • Learning a new job
  • Developing a new skill
  • To improve performance

Innovative & Problem Solving Goals

  • New initiatives
  • One-time efforts
  • Require special planning
  • Produce a significant result
  • May solve specific problems

Work Planning Meeting Suggestions

The purpose of the work planning meeting is for the supervisor and the staff member to reach common ground on what is expected of the staff member, and what support and resources she can expect from the supervisor and others. This meeting is the opportunity for both of you to discuss perceptions of the staff member’s specific job now and to clarify expectations for the upcoming year.

"…Appraisal just looks in the rearview mirror. Planning looks to the future to maximize performance to come, not to analyze performance that is past and unchangeable. The real increases in productivity come from aiming the employee at the bull’s-eye and then getting out of the way."

—Robert Bacal, Performance Management

Before the Meeting:

  1. Staff members should prepare a draft work plan with areas of responsibilities and possible goals.
  2. Supervisors should prepare for the meeting by considering their priorities and goals for the position for the coming year.
  3. Arrange a time and place to meet privately, without interruption.
  4. Before the meeting, review the draft work plan. Copies should be available for both supervisor and staff member.

During the Work Planning Meeting:

  1. Work to establish rapport between staff member and supervisor and to maintain an atmosphere of mutual communication. Remember to ask questions based on the goal setting nature of the meeting, and to listen carefully to the answers. Observe body language as an essential part of listening.
  2. If each of you have prepared material in advance, take time to compare your lists of job responsibilities and goals and to note any significant differences.
  3. Work toward settling the differences. It is not useful to spend time selling your exact wording or format. It is essential for your job, however, that agreement is reached on accomplishing your department’s goals through the clear, agreed-upon overall job goals and key responsibilities of the staff members.
  4. When you have arrived at a common understanding of the job responsibilities, agree on a process to prepare an updated copy of the work plan within a week of this meeting.
  5. Establish intervals at which supervisor and staff member will meet during the year to discuss details of progress toward the goals listed.
  6. Agree that if, at any time during the year, either of you find the work plan in need of revision, irrelevant to actual work demands, or unreasonable in any way, you will meet to revise the plan.

After the Work Planning Meeting:

  1. Schedule some additional time to complete your notes immediately following your meeting.
  2. The supervisor and the staff member should initial and date the revised work plan within one week of the meeting. Keep a paper and electronic copy with both the supervisor and the staff member.
  3. Confirm the schedule of time to check in see what resources and support are needed for success.