While meeting with one of your employees, you feel that you’ve made a good action plan to help coach them. Together you have come up with several action items on both sides to help develop the employee. The problem is, a few days later, you forgot what the action items were. This is a common problem for leaders in small businesses who are likely tasked with putting out fires, leaving little time for strategic endeavors, including employee coaching. Here are some ways to lessen, if not stop altogether, the troubles you’re facing when following up:

Take Notes

Forgetting is easier than you realize. Create a dedicated place to take notes for each specific employee so your notes won’t get lost. This can be as simple as using a specific page in a notebook or creating an online document for a specific employee.

Write down the main topics of the meeting. Make sure you include what you, or your employee, wanted to accomplish. The more detailed your notes, the more helpful your follow ups will be for your employees.

Complete Your Assignments

Taking notes and then never looking at them again, isn’t helpful to anyone. Take them out and review your action items periodically. Schedule times for follow up meetings or to complete your action items. Check in with your employees face-to-face. This way, you can evaluate their progress for yourself, and your employees can express concerns to you personally.

Provide Feedback

Let your employees know how they are progressing. If you see improvement in a specific area you discussed, let your employee know. When your employees hear that what they’ve been working on is actually improving, it will increase their motivation and make them feel proud of the work they’ve done.

Evaluate Yourself

Take time to evaluate whether you are completing your action items in a timely manner. Ask yourself if you are fulfilling your employees needs and carrying out what you promised to do. Have open conversations with your employees to evaluate what is and what isn’t working. Be willing to change to be more helpful.

Regular one on one conversations with employees can greatly improve employee performance, but only if you take the time to follow up on what you discussed.