Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.

Sam Walton

As a Leader, one of the most important roles is to coach the team to do their best as a team and individual. By doing this, Leader will help them make better decisions, solve problems, learn new skills and otherwise progress their careers. When Leaders coach their team members, this may or may not apply. It’s more powerful for people to draw conclusions for themselves, rather than having these conclusions thrust upon them. On the other side, a team leader will often have expert knowledge to offer. It’s the daily job to guide team members to make decisions that are best for them.

Coaching – overview

The coaching field is the result of the convergence of several developmental strands dating back as far as the 1950’s (report Results Coaching System). However, it is only in recent times that coaching has been recognized as forming a largely cohesive set of principles, knowledge and skills. The emergence of coaching as a popular profession began in the United States in the late 1980’s. Since this time the proliferation of coach training schools, close to 100 in the USA for example, and the establishment of the International Coach Federation (ICF) has led to a dramatic increase in the numbers of professional coaches worldwide. Formed in 1995, today the International Coach Federation (ICF) is the leading global organization, with more than 20,000 members (December 2012), dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high professional standards, providing independent certification, and building a network of credentialed coaches (ICF website).

Researches about Coaching

There are interesting insights from researches made by American Management Association presented in Coaching – A Global Study of Successful Practices: Coaching is associated with higher performance & Coaching is primarily aimed at boosting individual performance.

Boosting Employee Engagement

Employees who receive coaching are often successful senior leaders who are facing career challenges as a result of organizational or industry changes. Many experts agree that a plan to capitalize on executives’ strengths – what got them to positions of prominence in the first place – is more useful than to focus on shortfalls (Buckingham & Clifton, 2001). So, it is not so surprising that “boosting employee engagement” is cited by about 41% of respondents as the purpose for which their organizations use coaching. Clearly, the stigma of coaching as a consequence for poor performance is changing, as evidenced by the fact that almost as many respondents view coaching as an engagement tool as they do a way to address workplace problems.

Coaching & Feedback

Coaching is a useful way of developing people’s skills and abilities, and of boosting performance. It can also help deal with issues and challenges before they become major problems. A coaching session will typically take place as a conversation between the coach and the coachee (person being coached), and it focuses on helping the coachee discover answers for themselves. After all, people are much more likely to engage with solutions that they have come up with themselves, rather than those that are forced upon them. Coaching can be a better way of helping people view their own actions and reactions objectively, so it’s useful for helping people to build self-awareness. Developing self-awareness is important for better relationships and for a more fulfilling life, both in the workplace and at home. With a good understanding of how we relate to others, we can adjust our behavior so that we deal with them positively. By understanding what upsets us, we can improve our self-control. And by understanding our weaknesses, we can learn how to manage them, and reach our goals despite them.

Feedback is information about an observed behavior that can be either appreciation or constructive. It’s like holding a mirror up to your employee so he or she can see what impact a specific behavior is having, and when a change in behavior will lead to better results. Employees want to hear how they are doing and providing them with regular coaching and feedback will keep employees engaged and motivated and can increase their job satisfaction.

Feedback can be incredibly useful if people want to grow. The purpose of giving feedback is to improve the situation of performance. Similar to coaching, feedback should be part of day-to-day interaction with employees. Give feedback whenever an employee: 

  • Does something that is particularly “right.” 
  • Seems to be doing something that is not quite “right” given the performance objectives and goals you’ve established. 
  • Does something that has an impact – positive or negative – on others. 
  • Could be doing something different to create greater or more positive impact. 

Coaching uses the feedback process to direct and redirect work efforts and behavior.

Coaching provides this direction in the context of a relationship wherein the manager attempts to help the employee reach their full potential. Most Leaders are aware that the way they coach can play big role in ensuring their team’s success. But, when it comes to giving feedback, many don’t know how to coach, and simply resort to telling others how to improve which isn’t coaching. 

Combining coaching and feedback is a powerful way of motivating people to improve their performance. Used wisely and with skill, coaching based feedback can help people reach their potential. Ongoing feedback and coaching is used to reinforce appropriate behavior, to teach the employee new skills, to motivate employee to pursue higher levels of performance, to mentor employees, as well as to correct performance deficiencies.

Exhibit 1. Thomas G. Grane “The Heart of Coaching”.

The GROW Model  – model for coaching session

The GROW Model is a simple powerful framework for structuring any coaching sessions. The model was originally developed in the 1980’s by Sir John Whitmore. 

The GROW Model is a simple four-step process that helps you structure coaching sessions with team members.

GROW is acronym that stands for: – Goal; R – Reality; O – Options; W – Will. A good way of thinking about the GROW Model is to think about how you’d plan a journey.

First, you decide where you are going (GOAL), and establish where you currently are (REALITY). Then you explore various routes (OPTIONS) to your destination. In the final step, you ensure that you’re committed (WILL) to making the journey and are prepared for the obstacles that you could meet on the way.

GROW questions

Goal: What would you like to happen? How would you like it to be? How would it look three months from now? 

Reality: How important is this to you? How do you feel about this? What will you do differently now?

Options: What steps could you take? Is there anything else?

Will: What will you do about this? How will you do that?


Coaching can be a better way of helping people view their own actions and reactions objectively so it’s useful for helping people to build self-awareness and grow.

What the coach can bring to the learning experience is insight, a desire to help, genuine concern, and feedback.

  • Coaching involves a coach who cares very deeply about the welfare and success of another person. 
  • An effective coach uses a wide variety of behaviors to challenge, support, encourage, enable, guide, and shape the thoughts and actions of the person being coached.
  • The aim of the coach is to be there when needed but also to know when it’s time for the person being coached to step out on his or her own. 
  • People learn from trying and from making mistakes. 
  • Never forget the value of offering genuine, sincere appreciative feedback and coaching.