Executive Coach & Mentor

Navigating Performance Discussions

A Conversation About Performance

Example: Conducting a Personal Performance Retro (PRR)

A performance conversation structure for people leaders

Are you struggling to find your rhythm when it comes to giving regular, structured feedback to your team? Or perhaps you have a team member whose performance isn't quite up to scratch? In either case the structure below is designed to help you feel more confident and achieve better results from your feedback conversations.


1. Establish a clear purpose for the meeting

Examples...To ensure that we are both doing everything we can to help you succeed by:

  • Ensuring you’re clear about the expectations I have of you

  • Giving you the feedback you need to understand where you’re doing really well and your areas for improvement

  • Providing support your ongoing development and growth

  • Identifying things I need to do differently to support you


2. Talk about performance

Is there a technique / methodology your company uses to set expectations? E.g. KPIs, OKRs  If yes, reflect same format here.

Remember that specificity is very important for setting expectations and giving useful feedback.

The technique is designed to elicit a sense of ownership and responsibility for the outcomes. Try to make sure you are listening more than talking.

Try to adapt the language below so that it "feels like you".


  1. The purpose of your role is to….(likely only necessary in the first meeting)

  2. The specific expectations of your role are...(outline fully in the first meeting; may need to revisit elements of this over time)

  3. How well do you think you’re performing? Where are you doing well? Where do you think you need improvement?

  4. The things I think you’re doing well are…(be specific)

  5. The things I think you need to improve are…(be specific)

  6. (For each of the things that need improvement…) What is your plan to work on <improvement area>?  What is your goal for <improvement area>? When do you think you can achieve your goal?

  7. (Where you want to add to / change the plans outlined in 6.) The improvement we need to see looks like this…. My expectation is that I will be able to see <insert specific change here> by <insert time frame>. Is that something you’re prepared to work towards?

  8. What does your <week by week> plan look like to achieve your end goal? (Can work through it together in the meeting).

  9. What can I do to help you achieve your goal?

  10. I suggest we meet <weekly> to review your progress and so that I can provide support and help remove any blockages for you. Are you comfortable committing to that?

  11. How would you evaluate the likelihood of your success? If you're not successful what do you expect will happen? What will the impact be on the team?

  12. Clarify any misconceptions from 11.


3. Commit to outcomes

Be sure to document the agreed actions from each meeting and refer back to them in the next meeting. Try to think of your performance conversations as a single conversation broken up into parts - with specific actions to be completed in between.