Some Notes on Performance Counseling

(Peter Frans - Managing Partner of Trimitra Consultants)


The primary purpose of counseling is to define organizational mission and values, discuss individual job expectations and performance, reinforce good performance/work related behavior, identify and correct problem performance/work related behavior, and enhance the employee’s ability to set and reach career goals.


The best counseling is forward looking, concentrating on the future and what needs to be done better. Counseling should be timely.


Counseling should begin with feedback from the employee about his/her performance before giving your feedback. Answer these questions: What worked?  What did not?  What would you do differently?



  1. Schedule the counseling session and notify the employee; suggest the employee write down or be ready to discuss expectations and requirements.

  2. Get a copy of the employee’s job description and appropriate counseling checklist & blank evaluation form.

  3. Think about how each outcome or critical element of the performance plan supports the mission/objectives of the organization.

  4. Decide what you consider necessary for success in each outcome or critical element.  Be specific

  5. Make notes to help you with counseling.


During The Counseling Session

  1. Discuss mission/objectives of organization and how his/her performance contributes to success of organization. 

  2. Discuss items that require top priority effort (areas of special emphasis)—realizing this may change later.

  3. Discuss what tasks and level of performance you expect for success. Review employee’s written input if he/she provides it

  4. Discuss competencies needed to perform duties.  Ask employee for ideas about what how he/she might perform assigned duties.

  5. If you and the employee have different views, discuss them until you both are clear on requirements.  Even if the employee disagrees, he/she must understand what you expect.

  6. Emphasize the employee’s positive strengths.  Give examples of what excellence performance is to give the employee specifics to aim for.

  7. Ask the employee about career goals and training needs.


After Counseling

  1. Summarize key points of the counseling on relevant form

  2. Give the employee the form to review/initial.

  3. If the employee gave written input, attach it.

  4. Give the employee a copy and keep the original to use for the next counseling session.

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