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CCA Series: What is CCA?

Coaching & Corrective Action Series

What is CCA?

(Part 1 of 3 Part Series)

By Sarah Zasso, SHRM-SCP, SPHR


This article contains an overview of the Coaching & Corrective Action (CCA) process.  Before we begin, I want to explain why I refer to it as Coaching & Corrective Action vs. Disciplinary Action.  Personally, I do not like the term “disciplinary action.”  It creates an automatic and intrinsic negative association.  Whereas, CCA can be perceived as more positive.

The typical process for CCA is Coaching, Written Warning, Final Warning, Termination.

[Of course, certain situations require immediate termination or high level corrective action, i.e. theft, harassment, discrimination, etc.]

What is Coaching?

Think of your employees like a baseball team – you have players and a coach.  The goal is for all of your players to hit home runs, right?  (OK, I do not have tons of knowledge of baseball, but go with me here…)  The coach provides feedback to each player on stance, watching the ball, where to hold the bat, etc. – all in an effort for them to hit that home run.  If the player strikes out, the coach does what?  They “coach” the players so they can connect the bat with the ball next time, and hopefully hit a homerun.  And the players want the feedback.  The point isn’t to bench everyone or kick them off the team, it is to have a strong team of home run hitters.  That requires coaching and corrective action.

Unfortunately, many leaders and employees fear the “coaching” part of the process.  It’s not about punishment, it’s about correction.  You hired your employee for a reason, right?  Then give them a chance to succeed!  I wish every employee hired magically was a superstar, but that is not reality, nor is it reasonable. They sometimes need help to get there.

Coaching is when you provide feedback and guidance to an employee to help them improve, whether it be performance or conduct. Coaching is relevant for both positive and negative feedback.  For the purpose of the article, we will focus on Coaching for improvement.

Coaching is a conversation.  It is less about statements and assumption on the manager’s part and more about questions.  “How do you feel that presentation went? What are your thoughts on….?”  The creates a more comfortable environment for the employee, which an allow for a more effective and fluid conversation, and it can create trust.  In addition, it provides insight to the manager regarding what the employee is actually thinking – which helps the manager formulate their approach.

What if Coaching Doesn’t Work?

Reality is that sometimes Coaching alone doesn’t work and you have to move to the next step in the process.  This is commonly called a Write Up, Written Warning, Disciplinary Action, or similar.  Basically, it’s more serious.  This means the Coaching didn’t work or the incident was so severe that it required skipping the coaching step and directly to corrective action.

You would still use Coaching as a tool, to a point.  Depending on the level of Corrective Action or the severity of the conduct/performance, it might be more appropriate to focus on facts and understanding.

Often, the employee’s behavior improves after the Coaching step.  Employees can’t fix what they don’t know is broken, and employers should allow the employee the opportunity to improve.  Not to mention, the process and documentation can be helpful in the case of a lawsuit.

Coaching and Corrective Action is an intentional approach to improve employee performance and conduct.  It takes time and can be frustrating, but can often be worth it in the end from a morale, financial, and productivity standpoint.

Next month, look for Part 2 in the CCA Series – Having the Seek To Understand (STU) Conversation.

This article is for general information purposes only.  I am not an attorney; accordingly, the information presented is not legal advice, and is not to be acted on as such.

About the Author

Sarah Zasso is the Owner/Principal HR Consultant of Sabeza HR (, a Human Resources Consulting company.  Sarah has achieved both the SHRM-SCP and SPHR certifications and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Communication.  With almost 15 years of Human Resource experience, she has worked with a wide variety of industries including retail, restaurant, office, manufacturing, banking, hospitality, and healthcare.  Sarah has served on the board of the SHRM affiliated Coastal Organization of Human Resources since 2015 and has been elected President for 2017.  Sarah is a highly focused and energetic Human Resources professional, and prides herself on her integrity, passion, and positive nature. Sarah is dedicated to meeting and exceeding client’s expectations.

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