Employee coaching can and does take place in many circumstances.
Anytime a conversation takes place to guide behavior or build new knowledge or skills.
Coaching can be on a very informal basis, a short chat at a desk, in
an office corridor, at a coffee machine. It can also happen in a more
An appraisal type discussion or performance review and to set goals for the coming year.
These are natural occasions for coaching to occur.
Coaching is quite different to offering one-way guidance.
That’s what we call Mentoring.
Our suggestion is to follow these steps every time this kind of coaching discussion takes place:
The foundation of coaching is the coach’s ability to establish rapport with the individual. Coaching should be a sincere and positive event with the goal of working together to deliver improvements in performance and growth.
Clarify, in a non-evaluative, non-accusatory way, the specific reason the discussion is taking place. Describe how a coaching-style discussion will be valuable to both parties.
Critical is getting the employee to agree what the main focus of the discussion will be.
Coaching should be specific to a given skill, area of knowledge or a new behavior.
It is not a general chat about many things at the same time.
The skill of specifying the issue or behavior change required consists of four parts.
Next, explore ways in which the employee may learn new skills or behave in a new or different way.
Avoid jumping in with your own alternatives, unless the individual can’t think of any.
Push for specifics not generalisations.
Listen for commitment words. Question words like try, might, possibly , could, should.
Your goal in this step is not to choose a particular path, but to maximise the number of choices for the employee to consider and to discuss their overall benefit.
Employees may raise excuses or present barriers to doing things differently at any point during a coaching discussion.
The Manager should help them to reframe and think as laterally as necessary.
The goal here is to ensure that the employee is confident to act.
They should not be reluctant or nervous or feeling stretched beyond their capability
The next step is to help the employee choose one particular way forward.
The manager should ideally look for a verbal commitment from the employee regarding what action will be taken and when.
The role of the manager is now helping an employee that they coach to execute well.
One way to do this is to provide a final summary on what has been agreed.
Confirm this in a email to ensure clarity for both parties on what has been committed to happen and by when. Include in here future review dates
Coaching employees is fast becoming something every leader needs to do regularly.
Coaching is not about issuing commands to people to change their ways.
Nor is it one-way guidance about what should be done differently in the future.
Coaching means having a structured discussion with an employee .
It should allow for two-way discussion and a joint decision about what should be done next.
If this is done well, employees will more rapidly learn and grow.
They will begin to make greater contributions to the organisation