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Navy Personnel Command Announces Refocus on Mid-Term Counseling

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On the heels of the release of eNavFit to the Fleet and release of the updated BUPERSINST 1610.10F, the Navy Performance Evaluation System (EVALMAN), Navy Personnel Command’s Talent Management Task Force (TMTF) announced an overall refocus on mid-term counseling. The announcement, in NAVADMIN 039/22, is designed to change the way the Navy has conversations and provides feedback to Sailors about performance. “For us to get better as a Navy, we need to have honest, real conversations with our Sailors about development and performance improvement,” said Rear Adm. Alvin Holsey, Commander, Navy Personnel Command.

A brief summary of changes to Chapter 18 of the EVALMAN include mandating midterm counseling, the introduction of coachlike skills when conducting performance counseling conversations, the optional use of the Military Individual Development Plan (IDP) as a developmental tool, steps to prepare for mid-term counseling, and how to conduct performance counseling conversations.

“It’s important for supervisors to provide quality mid-term counseling because providing feedback can be difficult,” said Master Chief Interior Communications Electrician Frank Leone, senior enlisted leader for MyNavy Coaching. “If not done properly, it can do more damage than good. Supervisors need to be able to deliver feedback in a way that will encourage the Sailor and leave them with a sense of direction and enthusiasm to move forward.” According to Lt. Cmdr. Erica Harris, MyNavy Coaching scientific research advisor, the current process for mid-term counseling, “does not yield consistent and measurable results related to deliberate development and desired increases in individual and unit performance.”

“You have pockets of excellence across the Navy providing great mid-term counseling while others aren’t engaging in these conversations at all,” Harris said. “How can Sailors know how they’re performing without feedback from the supervisor? Only by receiving feedback about past performance can Sailors enhance their current and future performance. And this is why the IDP is so useful because it serves as a tool for Sailors to keep track of their progress towards their performance goals, providing accountability and ownership of their development.”

Along with the updates to Chapter 18 of the EVALMAN, TMTF also released a new training webinar focusing on the importance of performance counseling conversations, and a new kneeboard card exploring questions supervisors and Sailors can use to bolster mid-term counseling conversations. The training webinar focuses on the purpose and importance of having any performance counseling conversation, the roles in performance counseling, how to give and receive feedback, and how to complete the IDP (NAVPERS Form 1610/19) to drive development between performance conversations. 

The training also discusses the Mid-term Counseling Checklist (NAVPERS 1610/20) to ensure all steps for conducting mid-term counseling are performed. Although this training is not mandatory, it is strongly recommended Sailors review this training within the next 90 days.

A kneeboard card called “Engaging in Performance Counseling for Supervisors” and “Engaging in Performance Counseling for Members” features five open-ended questions for both supervisors and members to use to improve the quality of feedback received during performance counseling sessions.

The kneeboard card is a reference tool Sailors and supervisors can use to ask open ended questions and obtain meaningful feedback about past performance and future goals, creating bi-directional feedback. “I personally used the Performance Counseling Kneeboard during my O-6 sessions over the last month and found them to be helpful,” Holsey said.

Holsey said this renewed focus on midterm and performance counseling will set Sailors up for success by engaging with them to get a clearer picture of their performance during the reporting period and identify areas ripe for development.

“In order to develop our Sailors, retain top talent, and identify high-potential Sailors for promotion, we’re all going to need to double our efforts,” he said. The Talent Management Task Force, led by Rear Adm. Michael Schwerin, ensures the Navy attracts, develops, trains, and retains top talent. The end state is effective Sailor development to retain the best and fully qualified Sailors employed in the right assignments to maximize the Navy’s warfighting effectiveness.

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