Coaching for Performance

Coaching Overview



There are may definitions of coaching, but here is one we like, coaching is:

"A method of directing, instructing and training a person or group of people, with the aim to achieve some goal or develop specific skills. There are many ways to coach, types of coaching and methods to coaching. Direction may include motivational speaking and training may include seminars, workshops, and supervised practice."

Just as important to understand what coaching is, it is important to understand what it is not. It is not the same thing as giving feedback. They are both important to employee development and improvement, but are used for different results at different times.

Why Coaching is Critical for Performance

The importance of coaching

Coaching should not only be when you complete a performance review. It should be an on-going activity.

Coaching versus Feedback

Understand the difference between feedback and coaching

Feedback is a statement. When you offer feedback, positive or negative, you are telling your employees how you expect them to behave.

Coaching is a conversation. When you coach an employee, you work with them to gain their buy-in into the goal you have in mind, and collaborate with them to help them achieve it.


  • Observation of a current or past behavior, making clear what should change or continue
  • Focused on current or past behavior
  • Reactive to a situation
  • “Telling” or “Advice” 
  • Goal is for receiver to act a certain way


  • Conversation focused on a problem to be solved, question to be answered, or objective to be reached
  • Focused on future behavior
  • Proactive to obtain a goal
  • Asks questions
  • Goal is for recipient to explore options

Test your self

Which statements are feedback and which are coaching?

Drag the coaching statements next to the picuture.

  • Great idea, let's go with it
  • Next time include Tim in the meeting
  • How do you think you can train others on  your idea?
  • What do you think could be causing the bottleneck?

Coaching Opportunities

When to coach

Coaching should happen throughout the year, don't do it only at review times. Some possible times could be:

  • Developing skills after classroom training
  • Resolving specific issues 
  • Identifying future actions 
  • Product or service training 
  • Managing change 
  • On the Job 
  • Career Development

Be prepared before conducting a coaching session

Prior to having a coaching discussion, be prepared and follow the GROW model. Use the template below to organize your thoughts and information. In addition:

  • Schedule time and private location
  • Make sure the employee is aware of the topic so they are prepared 
  • Plan a warm-up topic 
  • Establish a positive tone 
  • Regularly check for questions/concerns
  • Have questions written and some actions 

The conversation should be:

  • Candid 
  • Objective 
  • Detailed 
  • Open 
  • Confidential

The GROW Model

Coaching Methodology

Effective coaching is a process. The GROW model is proved methodology managers use for employee coaching. It is starts with a Goal in mind,  select each step to learn more.

Coaching Different Employee Types

The Silent One


  •  Avoids communication with manager 
  • Doesn’t converse easily in general 
  • Is a “doer” rather than a “talker” 

Coaching Tactics:

  • Ask open-ended questions 
  • Ask for examples or illustrations of a point 
  • Give employee enough time to answer/pause and wait 
  • Don’t butt in – avoid temptation to finish sentences for employee

The Blame Someone Else


  •  Avoids taking responsibility for performance issues 
  • Tries to blame others for any problems that emerge 
  • Has a ready supply of excuses for any performance issue 

Coaching Tactics:

  •  Focus on specific actions 
  • Give immediate feedback 
  • Document performance 
  • Avoid distractions 
  • Gain acceptance of problems and solutions

The Bored One


  • Has been doing the same job for a while 
  • Is not working up to potential 
  • Expresses little or no enthusiasm about his or her work 

Coaching Tactics:

  •  Get to the person behind the employee
  • Restate the employee’s position to emphasize that you value his/her point of view 
  • Focus on potential and next moves 
  • Discuss development plans

The Defensive One


  • Cannot admit to areas where improvement is needed in their performance 
  • Easily feels attacked
  • Takes personally any non-optimal remarks about their performance 

Coaching Tactics:

  • Create an informal setup 
  • Stay positive 
  • Leave out character analysis -Stick to the facts

The Emotional One


  •  Cries easily, especially when encountering feedback or situations not to their liking
  • Takes personally any non-optimal feedback
  • Feels “victimized” by the world and/or people
  • around them -May be going through difficult personal issues at the time 

Coaching Tactics:

  • Start with the positive 
  • No surprises 
  • Be sympathetic 
  • Encourage the employee to seek professional help, if appropriate 
  • Have tissues handy

The Argumentative One


  • Often feels he/she is being wronged 
  • Seeks out confrontational situations 
  • Shows poor control of anger when challenged 

Coaching Tactics:

  • Control the agenda 
  • Prepare! 
  • Focus on specifics

You Don't Understand One


  •  May be more knowledgeable about his/her technical function than the manager
  • Believes he/she is more qualified or competent 
  • Shows frustration or resentment with superiors or others viewed as less knowledgeable 
  • Doesn’t feel the manager knows what he/she is doing all day 

Coaching Tactics:

  • Establish a collaborative tone 
  • Focus on next moves and development actions 
  • Leverage the employee’s competence

The Prepared Manager

Helping an employee modify these difficult responses is a process (denial/push-back/ acceptance) that is rarely completed in a single meeting

Address the denial and push-back inclination during the feedback discussion and begin to build acceptance 

Continue to monitor and work with employee afterward to enhance and sustain acceptance of their ownership of performance

Get Started

Start Practicing

The best way to build your coaching skill is to start using it. Use the GROW template below to map out your first coaching session. Think about the "type" of person the employee is, what is the topic you want to coach on?