Sometimes it seems like there’s a new word for management every week.  But are there real, meaningful differences in these language changes, or is it all just cosmetic? What’s the difference between talent management and performance management?  Is all feedback considered coaching?  What’s the difference between mentoring and coaching? If you’re new to management or HR, it can be confusing when different terms get thrown around.  

While some of them are obvious and some are a bit more obscure, the terms we use to describe the performance management process fit together to define the process as a whole, each one building on the next.

Feedback – Simply put, feedback means conversations – the day in and day out discussions around how to approach a particular issue, along with more formal discussions, goal setting meetings, etc.  As a manager you should be giving feedback to every member of your team on some aspect of their performance at least once a week.

Coaching – Building on feedback, coaching is more structured feedback, often with a goal in mind.  So if you are coaching, you do it primarily through giving feedback regularly as a team member builds a new skill or works on changing a habit.

Performance Management – Daily and weekly coaching is part of an overall  as they do their work.  On an individual basis, it refers directly to the process that managers use to work directly with their team, but there are also software packages such as Success Factors that are used more globally within an organization.

Talent Management – In most cases this refers to the same process as performance management, but is often considered at the organizational level to encompass strategic initiatives.  So performance management is generally considered a subset of talent management.

Human Capital Management – At the highest levels of the organization, the senior management team defines how the organization approaches its relationship with all the people who make up the company.  This holistic view is referred to in academic or theoretical conversations as Human Capital Management.  

Have a performance management question?  Feel free to ask it here and one of our experts will reach out to see how we can help.  And don’t forget to check out our performance management eLearning series to give your emerging leaders the tools they need to succeed!