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Coaching for Optimal Performance Using Big 5 Factors

Alex was recently promoted from Associate to Sr. Associate at Jeffries, Smith, and West, an accounting company in Los Angeles, CA that specializes in tax audits for companies in the entertainment industry. Prior to this promotion, Alex didn't have any managing experience with this firm, but with the promotion she now manages a team of six Associates and three Junior Associates. Many of the employees on her team are people that she has worked with previously and knows quite well from her experience as an Associate.

One of the Associates whom Alex has worked with and now manages is James. James has worked for Jeffries, Smith, and West for three years and has developed a reputation of "playing hard," but not always "working hard."

Alex has worked with James on two separate occasions. The first time was two years ago when they were on a team that did an audit for MGM. While on this project, Alex observed that James was a very competent person and excelled as a member of their team. The second time Alex and James worked together was nine months ago when they worked on an audit for Viacom International Inc. While on this project, Alex saw a very different side of James. James seemed to be bored and unengaged with his work. On top of that, Alex overheard their managing Sr. Associate complain about James' lack of organization and discipline.

Because Alex is now James' manager, she is trying to figure out what she can do to help James be the employee that he was when working on the MGM job. To do so, Alex reflected upon the differences between the MGM job and the Viacom International Inc. job to see what kept him engaged and working hard in the MGM job or what caused him to be disengaged from the Viacom International Inc. job. One difference between the two jobs that stood out to Alex was the managing Sr. Associate. The managing Sr. Associate with the MGM job, Jackson DeRosa, was probably one of the best managers that Alex had encountered since being with the firm. She loved how he was so personable with his subordinates. He seemed to know each employee personally, and even more, he seemed to know what buttons to push to motivate his employees. Jackson was known throughout the company as being the only manager who always met his deadlines and everyone loved working for him. In sharp contrast to Jackson was Alex's managing Sr. Associate on the Viacom International Inc. job, Gary Boone. In Alex's opinion, Gary was a very critical boss that seemed to care only about the numbers and not his employees. Gary often had his employees work 14 hour days on the weekend. Since that time, Gary had left the firm.

If you were in Alex's position,
1. What type of coaching style would you choose when working with James?
2. What behaviors would you engage in while coaching James in order to ensure that he is productive?
3. Be sure to provide reasons for why you would engage in your specified behaviors.

Solution Preview

Dear Student,

Within industrial psychology, Myers Briggs Type indicator is usually the standard for managers and human resource departments to categorize employees to help determine the best method of coaching for optimal performance. Employees were given a test and evaluated on categories that included extraversion-introversion, sensing-intuitive, thinking-feeling, and judging-perceiving. A personality profile was based on evaluating these categories. A new method of creating personality profiles has been introduced in the workplace that expands upon the categories of the Myer Briggs Type indicator. This is called the Big 5 Factor Personality Type. This method evaluates emotional reactions, interpersonal patterns, and openness to experience, agreeableness, and work ethic. By evaluating these categories, immediate supervisors can predict job ...

Solution Summary

This solution examines how the Big 5 Factors can help a new manager develop a coaching style to increase the performance of an employee that has been identified as having performance issues. This solutions explores how coaching the employee on conscientiousness, a component of the Big 5 Factor, can help improve the employee's overall performance by focusing on internal factors that can increase performance versus external factors that distract from performance.

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