Coaching for Success

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Coaching for Success

By: Terence R. Traut

Coaching is perhaps the most effective method of increasing performance available to managers, team leaders, and colleagues. This article defines coaching and outlines a process for effective coaching.

Coaching Defined

Coaching is perhaps the most effective method of increasing performance available to managers, team leaders, and colleagues.

If you wish to improve the skills of your employees, you must plan to observe them and provide them with feedback. If you're like most supervisors or managers, you have limited time and are looking for employees to become proficient - and independent - faster.

Entelechy's Coaching Model is designed to help you do just that!

The Coaching Model is appropriate for developing the skills of employees if the employee is willing to improve. Coaching should not be used as a softer, gentler version of corrective action; if a performance problem occurs, you will want to use the Problem Solving model.

The Coaching Model is based on several important principles:

  1. There are two primary goals to coaching:
    • To improve performance.
    • To help employees gain the ability to self-assess.
  2. It is important that the coaching sessions follow a predictable process. This will help the coachees feel more comfortable and relaxed, which will help to ensure they actively participate in these sessions. It is for this reason that we suggest that you share the coaching model with your employees prior to coaching.
  3. Coaching is a planned development process and should not be a surprise.
  4. The way you open the conversation sets the tone for what will follow.
  5. After we open the conversation using our initial probe, we discuss positives first and areas for improvement last. Beginning with positives first is motivational and accomplishes the following:
    • The goal is to have employees increase their performance. If they are not in a positive frame of mind, they will not be open to this change.
    • Reinforces good behavior and ease into the coaching session.
    • Builds self-esteem.
  6. Ending the coaching session with a discussion of areas for development ensures that they are focusing on those areas.
  7. Always give the coachee a chance to self-assess before you offer your insights. Encouraging self-assessment is positive for several reasons:
    • It encourages improvement even when you are not coaching.
    • It allows you to determine why the employee may not be performing as desired; they may not know that they're doing something incorrectly.
    • It builds self-esteem.
    • It increases the chances that behavior will change.
  8. Reinforce correct self-assessment.
  9. Defer or redirect inappropriate or incorrect self-assessment.
  10. We focus coaching on only two strengths and two areas for development. Limiting the discussion is important and accomplishes the following:
    • Increases the coachee's ability to reach proficiency.
    • Focuses on the most important issues.
    • Other issues can be addressed after some progress has been made on the most important issues first.
  11. If an employee is not identifying areas that you identified (or has identified them incorrectly), use increasingly specific questions to allow the employee to self-assess if possible. This allows you to determine if the employee doesn't know what's expected, doesn't have the skill, or simply chooses not to demonstrate the skill.

The Coaching Model at Work

Now let's turn our attention to Entelechy's Coaching Model in practice.

Step 1: Open the Conversation

The coach opens the conversation with a general question; this helps the coach get a sense for the accuracy of the coachee's self-assessment. If the coachee responds with, "that was the best call ever" and you thought that the call was poor, you know that you'll have to adjust your coaching conversation.

Step 2: Probe for What Went Well

The coach asks the coachee what went particularly well and listens for the responses. By identifying what went well first, a positive tone for the coaching session is set. We want to make sure that the coachee continues doing these things. This also forces the coachee - NOT THE COACH - to identify superior performance.

Step 2a: Redirect or Defer

Sometimes the coachee will bring up a negative when you're discussing positives. You will want to defer that discussion until later in the coaching conversation by saying, "I'd like to talk about that more later. What else went particularly well?"

Other times, the coachee will claim something as a positive that - in your opinion - was an area that needs development. You will want to redirect their perception by pointing out what you saw that helped you conclude that it was less than desirable. "Oh, really? Did you happen to see John's face when you discussed the product's features? That's right, he seemed to lose interest when you started talking about us rather than about him...."

Step 2b: Support and Build

When the coachee correctly assesses his performance - both strengths and areas for development - support the assessment by saying, "I agree." Build from their conclusions to reinforce the accuracy of their self-assessment. In this way, you are reinforcing one of the most valuable skills anyone can acquire: the ability to assess and improve their own performance.

Step 3: Probe for Areas for Development

The third step is to ask the coachee what he would change if he could do it again. Obviously, if the coachee knows what could be improved and knows how to improve it, he won't benefit from YOU telling him! And by mentally rehearsing what he will do differently, the likelihood of him actually carrying out the improvement is increased.

Most experts agree that two or three areas for development are enough for anyone to work on. Working on a laundry list of things to change is frustrating and futile. Focus on the areas of greatest need.

When identifying areas for development, the coachee may not have identified the one that you thought was most important. Again, you can redirect their perception by identifying what you saw that they might not have that allowed you to come to your conclusion. "I agree that the two areas that you identified would definitely had made the call go better. What do you think the effect of your product feature presentation was on the customer? Why? What might you do differently the next time...?"

Step 4: Summarize and Support

Even though you may have limited the coaching to a few strengths and a couple areas for development, you will want to briefly summarize the discussion, especially what the coachee will do differently the next time. This recap will cause the most important things to remain fresh in memory. You will also want to support the changes by saying something like, "I think those changes will make your next call go even better."

Follow these four steps to help your employees and colleagues increase their performance.

(This information comes from Coaching for Performance, a module in Entelechy's High Performance Management program. Check out this module as well as our 40 other modules, training tools, and eGuides at

I have a diagram jpg or Word drawing of the coaching model that would illustrate the process better than words. I also have this available in Word format.

About The Author

Terence R. Traut is the president of Entelechy, Inc., a company that helps organizations unlock the potential of their people through customized training programs in the areas of sales, management, customer service, and training. Check out our 40 customizable modules, training tools, and eGuides at Terence can be reached at 603-424-1237 or


Dave 09.01.2010. 05:23

Why would the Hawks consider Pete Carroll of USC for team president and head coach? Don't you think they would want somebody with a professional football background? Why a college coach and when there are great pro football coaches that have a success rate like Bill Cowher?

They screwed up with Mora and let him go, shouldn't they take the time and attempt to get it right the second time? Make an argument for Carroll.


Admin 09.01.2010. 05:23

I just read an article that said Carroll is connected to two higher-ups in the organization. One guy is an SC alum and the team attorney. Another guy has worked with Carroll down in LA, dealing with the Staples Center.

Considering Paul Allen is not a football man by any means, he'll probably sign off on whatever his people think is the best choice.


purplyanne 04.07.2006. 15:23

Can you cite other qualities that will contribute to the success of the Coach's role.? Coaching for Success-New roles are supporting this new business model.Our new organization relies heavily on each associate's participation in Teams.The Coach role is to assist us Business Leaders and Process Owners in this team environment. The significance of these responsibilities cannot be underestimated as the role requires a special kind of person. To be successful in my own opinion, a Coach must first have a thorough understanding of the business, its strategies and the core processes. I'm sure you will agree that the Coach is a key member in the organization. A person who will be instrumental to our future success.


Admin 04.07.2006. 15:23

apart from it the coach should possess the following qualities,

1. he should be a team facilitator
2. he should possess hardwork and consistency
3. he should work towards goals
4. he should maintain good rappo with co-workers
5. he should have focussed approach towards all tasks
6. commitment to assignments
7. and finally competitive spirit..........


Packers 2011 SB Champions!! 15.05.2010. 15:22

How much of the Flyers success is Peter Laviolette responsible for? What a great coach, he came in mid-season and just fixed this team up. How much credit does he deserve?

Packers 2011 SB Champions!!

Admin 15.05.2010. 15:22

Lavi deserves a lot of credit. He's a great coach and coached the Carolina Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup in '06. He makes a ton of smart decisions. In '06, after losing the first two games, he switched goalies from Martin Gerber to rookie goalie Cam Ward, and Ward led the team and won the Conn Smythe for MVP in the playoffs. In this last game, he knew he had to do something when his team was down 3-0, so he took a timeout and just told them to try to score one before the end of the period. They did just that, and had the game tied by the end of the second.


FunkMeister21 25.12.2012. 05:41

Should the Carolina Panthers fire their head coach Ron Rivera? or should they fire their offensive coordinator. Personally Ron Rivera is not a head coach. He doesn't seem dedicated or know what he's doing. It's classic coach who success is dependent on one player- Cam Newton. Doesn't know how to coach, no guidelines. I don't think anyone in locker respect his abilities.


Admin 25.12.2012. 05:41

Yep, absolutely. Ron would make for an excellent D-Coordinator, not a very good head coach.


gabymiraglia 30.04.2008. 18:53

How is important is an actors' schooling to their success in their chosen path? I mean things such as: the prestigousness of the school, is schooling really needed, do only the ones who go to great schools find success?? Anything else you can think of. Thanks.


Admin 30.04.2008. 18:53

I believe that acting is a gift. Either you have the gift or you don't, and if you don't then no amount of "schooling" is going to gain you more than very modest success at your craft.

If you do have the talent, then I believe that proper training is like polishing the silver. The more you polish, the more it shines.

I am sure there are fine actors who didn't put much emphasis on schooling. But I also imagine that they are in the minority. Almost all actors today at least have acting coaches who help them when they get big parts in movies or plays.

The great American composer Irving Berlin, I'm told, couldn't even read music. But he was certainly the exception rather than the rule.

Polish your talent.


IZZY *&hearts* 27.12.2007. 02:12

How can I convice my ice skating coach to teach me harder things? My ice skating coach and I have been working on the same jump for months. I am really good at it, but she still will not teach me new things! What can I do?

IZZY *&hearts*

Admin 27.12.2007. 02:12

Tell your coach that you would really like to learn some new things while perfecting that last jump. Your coach probably wants to make sure you are experiencing success and are getting the basics down before he/she pushes you on to more difficult things, and should explain to you why you shouldn't move on yet if you ask (it could be you have some bad habit in Xjump that they don't want you to carry on into Yjump -I know that was the case for me with double sal from axel). Even if your coach is hesitant to introduce a new jump yet, maybe he/she will teach you some new spirals, spins, or other moves to keep you from getting bored. If you still really feel like you need to learn a new jump and your coach still will not teach you one after you tell him/her that, I would consider talking to another coach and maybe switching to one who will be more willing to let you decide the pace at which you learn things.


John H 09.09.2008. 14:01

Who can provide me 1 to 1 affiliate marketing coaching? I'd like to benefit from 1 t 1 coaching to get my affiliate marketing business off the ground successfully. I'd like individual coaching as I've used it before and it works. I've read books, studied online etc, but I'd like a personal coach to get me off the ground. Does anyone know of someone who provides such a service?

John H

Admin 09.09.2008. 14:01

All I can say to you on an honest basis is that some of these online opportunities are proven to be scams that is very true therefore it is about researching to see what is genuine and what is not however some people think that online businesses are get rich quick schemes which they are not they take alot of work just like any business however the rewards for that work will be good. I have been a personal development and success coach for 5 years not and the most genuine opportunity I have found is a 3 1/2 year old company.


Heather 18.10.2011. 23:54

How do I do better at soccer if the coach is always focusing on his annoying son? I am a good soccer player but the stupid coach puts me and the other players except his annoying son who thinks he is the best in the world. Should I switch teams or tell what I think of him to his face?


Admin 18.10.2011. 23:54

Hey you need to put bad coaches, bad players and any other outside sources aside. You cannot control them or what they do... all you can control is your own actions.

First of all you need to start training on your own - work to improve the basic ball skills, dribbling, shooting, passing, and ball control.

Work to improve your fitness: strength, power, speed, acceleration, endurance, and flexibility.

Next you need to always give your best effort on the field. Remember you only have one chance to play that game so leave it all out there. be the hardest working player on the field.

You should also start watching professional Soccer at least 1 game per week, you can learn so much from pros.

You can get more training advice and tips from the link below. You may also want to take a look at Soccer Success Secrets - The Ultimate Soccer Training Guide - This can help you improve your game in so many different ways and really put you ahead of the competition. I'll put the link below as well.


nigelnobody23 29.04.2008. 12:47

How good would larry brown be as coach of the bobcats?? How much success would having brown on the roster be and what players do they need for future success.No silly answers please guys.


Admin 29.04.2008. 12:47

Larry Brown is a hall of fame coach who is very good in building teams. He has good young players to work on. Adam Morrison, Emeka Okafor, Jason Richardson and Gerald Wallace.

I won't be surprised if the Bobcats would make the playoffs next year. Larry Brown is that good.


cycnos 19.11.2010. 12:28

What are professional women looking for in a life coach? I am a life and business coach. I worked as an attorney for twenty years. I believe that there are many boomer professional women out there that are well educated and have pursued their careers diligently.

Now, about 15 to 20 years into it, they feel burnt out and they feel afraid. They rely on their jobs and the income it provides but they are not happy.

I want to hear what issues they are facing and what is on their minds.


Admin 19.11.2010. 12:28

I know someone who calls herself a life coach. She preaches about all these techniques like EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique. She claims to have an advanced degree but there's no record of education to prove it. Her personal situation is pathetic. She has no capacity for planning anything or following through on her goals. She is in severe financial distress and is losing her house due to mortgage foreclosure. Yet, she has continued to schedule some kind of life improvement classes and teach people how to live better lives.

There are women out there who can and do benefit from life coaches. Sometimes all they need is to see their life through someone else's eyes in order to get a better perspective so they can make more informed decisions.

What a life coach needs to be is transparent. A life coach also has to be human and have flaws - and then show that those flaws are not necessarily an obstacle to success. A life coach has to be the example.


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