Effective Coaching: Tips for Coaching that Works

As leaders, one of the many important skill sets is effective coaching in leading their individuals and teams. Coaching is not about telling people what to do; it’s not about mentoring or dwelling on the past. Proper coaching is a powerful process designed to increase one’s self-awareness, which, in turn, facilitates more powerful conscious decision-making, leads to organized and focused action, and finally provides accountability to measure results. 

If there’s one thing you need to ensure in your workplace, it’s having leaders who are skilled in coaching that works. An effective coach in the workplace means the difference between having employees who are disengaged and lack motivation to employees who are highly engaged, accomplishing goals, and leading to overall organizational success.

If you want to take your coaching game to the next level and help those in need on your team or organization, the following is a breakdown of what successful coaching conversations include, some examples of good skills for coaching, along with some signs to look out for. If your organization has struggled with disengaged employees, low morale, or poor retention rates, it’s time to consider investing in the leadership skills your managers and supervisors need to have to connect with their teams. 

Examples of A Good Coach

Coaching is an effective way to get high-performing employees to reach their potential, and it can also help boost morale and increase retention rates. This blog post will discuss effective coaching, what successful, effective coaches do in the workplace, how managers learn coaching skills, and more!

The best coaches have the following skills:

  • Listening closely.
  • Focusing on the big picture rather than being extremely detail-oriented.
  • Engaging employees in effective self-management.

Coaching also includes achieving goals and what moves them closer to both overall professional development and business success. Coaching that works does not include micromanaging, nitpicking, or hovering over your employees’ shoulders as they complete their daily tasks and projects. It means regular, consistent communication that provides constructive feedback that’s beneficial to both the manager and the employee. An effecitve coach works closely with their team members to help them improve, learn new skills, or prepare them for a change in their assignment or position. 

train my leaders CTA

Steps for Coaching Employees Effectively

Recognize improvement efforts.

It's essential to recognize your employees for not only their achievements but for their improvement efforts as well. A fundamental way to improve employee performance is showing employees that they're appreciated. When you consider that 94% of employees say they would leave (or have left) a job due to a lack of appreciation, you can't downplay the importance of recognition for your team.

Create goals.

You should set goals with employees based on their capabilities, talents, and skills. Ask your employee for ideas on what they think is achievable in a specific time frame so that you can set realistic goals together. Help the employee break down larger tasks into smaller chunks of work, allowing them to be more productive throughout the day.

Additionally, encourage your team to set their own goals and help them achieve those goals by coaching them through the process of setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely) goals, or even SMART-ER goals. A key to coaching employees means providing feedback on their progress towards achieving their goals promptly.

Encourage progress.

Assess your employees' progress and provide feedback. You'll notice that feedback and consistent, regular communication are critical to coaching employees. This will encourage employees to think about what they need to do next, which will help them achieve their goals. If you see an employee struggling with a particular task or project, find out why it is difficult for them by having frequent conversations, giving them the opportunity to ask questions and receive advice.

Reward achievements.

This will encourage employees to set and achieve more goals by showing them that their hard work has been noticed. Set a reward system for your employees specific to the job role, such as an extra day off or time away from the office after completing specific tasks. At times, it can be challenging to know when an employee has achieved a goal or completed a task, which is why you must take the time for regular coaching sessions. If an employee has worked hard on a project and done well, acknowledge this by giving them positive feedback in front of their colleagues. This will encourage employees to work harder and motivate them to produce even better results.

Coaching skills are essential. and the ability to coach effectively is widely seen as a tool that helps people develop their skills and abilities - not just an employee's performance at work.

Ask an employee about their learning style by coaching them through the process of discovering how they learn best. This will help you when assessing their performance in the future. Be aware of different personalities when coaching employees - some people may prefer to work independently. In contrast, others might need more direction and guidance to achieve their personal goals and see success in their overall career.

Provide feedback.

Coaching your employees to better performance requires you to provide feedback that will help develop their skills and also allows managers to strengthen their ability to communicate with and motivate their teams in the long run. Employees should be given regular opportunities to discuss their progress, and this can also work during formal reviews by using coaching language and techniques. The two processes are very similar as both use open-ended questions which prompt self-awareness and reflection. Providing regular, constructive feedback and open dialogue allows you to observe employees in their day-to-day work environment, which can be beneficial when it comes time for formal reviews.

Provide constructive criticism.

Coaching is about helping employees grow and develop over time, which means that you will need to be aware of their strengths and areas where they may need additional support. Employees should be given constructive criticism - especially during formal reviews - to learn from their mistakes and be recognized for their wins. You should try your best to avoid focusing solely on criticisms, as this will only discourage employees from striving to improve.

As a leader or manager, you should coach your employees by using coaching skills that allow you to build their confidence and show them how they can be better at what they do in the future. These coaching techniques will help people grow into confident and effective professionals who can produce results that exceed expectations.

coaching employees

Be patient.

Coaching employees is about building their confidence and showing them how they can be better at what they do in the future. This takes time, which means that you need to be patient when coaching people over a period of weeks or months.

Coaching skills are very important because they allow leaders and managers to coach employees effectively so that they produce better results at the end of the week or month. If you want the time you're investing in employees to be successful, leaders and managers must use coaching skills like demonstrating empathy, providing constructive criticism, asking questions, etc. These techniques ensure employees can grow into confident and effective professionals who can produce results and exceed expectations.


A critical piece of being able to coach employees to better performance is to empower them so that they can show more initiative at work. When coaching people, leaders and managers should ensure that their discussions and ongoing dialogue are centered around being action-oriented. This will allow for greater empowerment, which leads to results.

Coaching is all about empowering employees - not just telling them what they need to do. You should try your best to avoid coaching sessions that are full of criticism as this will only discourage people from trying their best at work. If you want coaching skills to be developed and have an impact, leaders and managers must empower people to take control of their own development.

Don't criticize mistakes.

If you want to be successful as a manager or supervisor who is working on their coaching skills, it's important not to criticize people when mistakes are made. This will likely only discourage an employee from trying their best at work. Instead of criticizing your team members for making a mistake, provide positive feedback so that they can learn from their mistakes and improve.

Offer solutions.

When coaching your employees, you must offer solutions instead of problems, as this will help empower people and allow for greater productivity. Once you identify what the issue is, and you and your employees already have agreed-upon goals, you can work to suggest solutions that will be mutually beneficial. Rather than focusing on criticisms or only providing negative feedback, you can offer new ways of completing tasks or different approaches to projects for employees to feel empowered and motivated to still get their job done.

Celebrate successes.

When managers and leaders coach employees, it's important to celebrate successes. This will motivate people as well as establish trust between employee and manager or leader. An effective coach celebrates the wins while having a plan to improve and empower employees on their professional development journey continually. Be sure to find out what motivates each of your team members and what types of recognition mean the most to them. By tailoring the celebrations to the employee, celebrating each success will have that much more of an impact!

Additional examples of using effective coaching skills in the workplace:

  • Provide employees with clear instructions, feedback, and guidance.
  • Plan for performance improvement through goal-setting.
  • Give praise where it is due, i.e., when an employee has done well or achieved his/her goals.
  • Ask relevant questions to help an employee think through a problem or situation.
  • Be supportive of your team member's ideas, even if they are not suitable for the current project.
  • Allow time for reflection by asking open-ended questions that encourage thought and self-awareness.
  • Actively listen when a member of your team is talking to you.

How Do Managers Learn an Effective Coaching Style?

A good coach is aware of their strengths and weaknesses so that they can better assist others. They use this awareness to approach difficult conversations with empathy while also being firm about expectations. Additionally, effective leaders are good listeners that are successful in communicating and effective at delegating.

While coaching can be learned on the job, training courses teach coaching skills to managers and supervisors, like Develop Your Coaching Skills from A Better Leader. Employers should consider investing in these courses to promote a learning culture and ensure that their managers and supervisors are successful in the workplace. When your leaders exemplify coaching that works, everyone benefits. Shared organizational goals are met, while employees can be motivated and empowered to achieve personal goals as well!

coaching that works

Why Is Coaching Important?

Effective coaching is important because it can help employees reach their potential and boost morale. It also increases retention rates - meaning that coaches with a good communication style (and clear understanding of the best way to start coaching employees) are an effective investment for your business!

By implementing effective coaching training, employers will be able to increase the effectiveness of managers and the benefits of effective coaching. Effective coaching involves listening closely, focusing on the big picture rather than detail-oriented points, and engaging employees in effective self-management. Coaches know how to build trust and are aware of their own strengths and weaknesses while also being firm about expectations. They use this awareness to approach difficult conversations with empathy while also being effective at communicating and delegating.

Effective, successful coaches are good listeners who focus on the bigger picture rather than detail-oriented points when having difficult conversations with empathy while also effectively communicating and delegating. This is important because it can help employees reach their potential while boosting morale, building relationships, and increasing retention rates - meaning that great coaches are an effective investment for businesses!

Real Benefits of Leaders Who are Great at Coaching Employees

The benefits that coaching can have on your organization are significant:

It increases leadership effectiveness greatly. A 2002 study found that executives who received six months of coaching increased their effectiveness by 55% when their peers rated them. Additionally, Manchester Inc. released the results of their study that looked into the business impacts of coaching in the workplace. The statistics prove that coaching is well worth the investment of both time and money, and that it produced an ROI of almost six times the initial investment, on average.

A 2002 study found that executives who received six months of coaching increased their effectiveness by 55% when their peers rated them. #effectivecoaching #coachingthatworks #workplacecoaching

Click to Tweet

Some staggering statistics show the true return on investment from coaching in the workplace.

Furthermore, a 2014 study conducted on behalf of the International Coach Federation found that of those individuals who had received coaching:

  • 80% reported improved self-confidence
  • 73% saw improved relationships
  • 72% saw improved communication skills
  • 70% found improved work performance
  • 61% saw improved business management
  • 57% saw improved time management
  • 51% noticed improved team performance

Additionally, of those who were surveyed, 99% indicated they were “somewhat or fully satisfied with their coaching experience,” and 96% said they would do it again. 

The list of benefits that a coaching culture can have in the workplace is truly endless. However, this should give you a good insight into how important it is to have leaders who have good employee coaching skills and can communicate effectively with the valuable members of their team(s). 


When You Need to Implement Coaching that Works

If you’ve struggled with high turnoverdisengaged employees who are lacking motivation, or even managers and supervisors who struggle to connect with their teams, these are all signs that your entire organization would benefit from implementing effective leadership training. Furthermore, ineffective coaching can lead to low morale, a negative company culture, and a lack of trust or poor relationships among managers and their teams. Think about it: a positive relationship at work requires transparency, trust, respect, and working together to achieve a team's success in an organization. An effective coach helps employees set goals, offers positive feedback, and has regular, open dialogue with their employees. They help the employee to stay motivated, and it is a positive experience for everyone involved when done right. As the Harvard Business Review stated, you can’t be a great manager if you are not a good coach.

If you’re an employer or a human resources professional who has noticed any of the above issues, or noticed skills gaps in your leaders, it’s time to implement a plan! You can chat with our team of experts to develop a custom solution for your workplace, or you can get started with “Develop Your Coaching Skills” to ensure your front-line leadership has the necessary skills to motivate and inspire employees. With such a significantly positive ROI and the detrimental effects that a lack of quality coaching leadership can have in your organization, you can’t afford to wait. We’d love to help you develop better leaders.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the Author Jennifer Orechwa

With over 25 years in the industry, and now as IRI's Director of Business Development, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of engagement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.

follow me on: