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The Will Skill Matrix: an effective Performance Management tool

Posted in : Coaching in the Moment on 2 April 2019
Karl O'Connor
OCN Coaching Champions Ltd

Performance Management tool

Picture the scene, you have just taken over as the manager of a team. In your new position you have spent the first few weeks getting to know each member and are trying to get a handle on their motivation as well as their knowledge and skill to do their job. But with varying levels of motivation and skillsets, how do you help the team get to the next level of performance?

The good news is that there is a simple but effective performance and engagement tool that will help you. The Skill-Will Matrix tool requires you to plot your team visually and depending on where they have been plotted on the grid, flex your coaching style. 

Will Skill Matrix


We shared this with School Principals at Legal Island’s March 2019 Conference where it was very well received as a practical tool that can be used across not only schools but also in all workplaces.

Coaching Using the Skill-Will Matrix

Underachiever : Low Skill/Low Will

Here the coaching tip is to ‘direct’ performers’ efforts by identifying their motivators while being crystal clear as to what you expect from them. Train and coach the underachiever in the first instance (refer to February’s Coaching in the Moment blog: When to Train and When to Coach) to reach a basic level of performance. If you don’t get an improvement, you may have to consider going down a formal performance management route.

Apprentice: Low Skill/High Will

It’s best to ‘guide’ the low skill-low will performer. Focus on training the core skills of their job and provide them with regular feedback as they upskill. Relax the control or close supervision as they progress on the job. Recognise their progress and encourage them to achieve mastery.

Problem Child: High Skill/Low Will

Sometimes you will find an individual who has ‘gone off the boil’, who may act like a ‘problem child’ or cynic.  Your challenge is to re-ignite, ‘excite’ and motivate them to find the old spark again. Identify the reason(s) for the low will and then develop intrinsic motivation or possible incentives to encourage their performance. Re-inforce the changed behaviour and continue to encourage and value them.

Star Performer: High Skill/High Will

The challenge with a ‘Star Performer’ is to keep them engaged. In the current buoyant job market it’s very important to retain them.  Many managers forget these key performers and focus more of the efforts on underperformers instead. This is a mistake! Highly engaged and productive employees are the foundation of the team’s success. So, what can you do?

‘Delegate’ and empower them by giving them the freedom to do their job to the best of their ability. Develop stretch goals and give them more responsibility. Treat them as a partner. Always remember, no-one is so good that they cannot get better so ensure you continue to coach them to excellence.

In May, our Coaching in the Moment blog will focus on coaching High Achievers.

This article is correct at 02/04/2019
Disclaimer:

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Karl O'Connor
OCN Coaching Champions Ltd

The main content of this article was provided by Karl O'Connor. Email karloconnor0@gmail.com

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