Performance development and coaching

Performance development and coaching are about focusing on people’s goals and aspirations, then choosing leadership approaches to support their growth of knowledge, skills and abilities to meet short and long-term goals. Taking an active role in supporting your employee’s development is one of the best ways to ensure employee success, and ultimately the success of your department.

At UVic performance conversations can be nested within the Performance and Development Cycle (PDC). This model provides a structure for setting goals, providing ongoing feedback and coaching, and identifying ways to support your employees’ learning and development objectives.

Forms and resources

Performance Development Cycle
To support your employees through the full Performance and Development Cycle, you’ll use five key skills:
  • Goal setting
  • Building a learning and development plan
  • Coaching
  • Providing feedback
  • Providing recognition

Goal setting

Encouraging employees to set goals allows them to plan for and make incremental steps towards meaningful outcomes. Keep in mind that this is not about adding more work outside of the employee’s regular role or job description.

Check out the setting key goals handout as a tool to support employees in creating their goals.

Building a learning and development plan

Creating a learning plan gives employees a structure to follow as they make steps towards their goals. It is a tool for personal accountability as it keeps employees learning efforts aligned with their goals. This plan can also help you develop awareness of the employee’s strengths and opportunities as they progress towards their developmental goals. When creating a learning plan with employees, we suggest to include three types of learning opportunities (based on the “Three Es” model):

  • Education: includes the standard offerings in traditional face-to-face or electronic learning environments such as training sessions, workshops, conferences, courses, degrees and certifications.
  • Exposure: refers to learning happens by listening, auditing or reading. Examples include: access to technical and professional knowledge libraries, watching subject matter experts, attending information sessions, team or committee meetings and introductory orientation meetings.
  • Experience: refers to situations where learning happens by participating in activities such as job shadowing, cross-training, coaching/mentorship, secondments, project work, volunteering, cross-functional working groups, presentation opportunities, etc.


Performance coaching

Guide the conversation using these performance coaching questions to help your employees discover their strengths and allow you both jointly identify ways to improve performance. Remember to listen 80% of the time as you move through these questions, and pause to give the employee time to think, keep the process positive and inclusive.

Providing feedback

Early and regular feedback clarifies expectations and provides support to your employees. Remember it is much easier to talk about the small issues today than waiting to address more challenging issues later on. Providing timely feedback takes practice to make it feel comfortable and authentic, so here is the Effective feedback handout to help you start practicing.

Providing recognition

Leaders are encouraged to use recognition, rewards and positive reinforcement throughout day-to-day activities. Everyone wants to feel appreciated, so one way to retain our talents is by showing we value their work. Members of our university community contribute to its success in many ways, whether through teaching, years of service, volunteering or research.

Download UVic's Recognition Toolkit for a model of recognition along with assessments, ideas and resources to help build a culture of recognition and appreciation with your team including a suite of customizable print and electronic greeting cards.

Find out more about UVic's various recognition and awards that celebrate our people's achievements throughout the year.