People Development Systems management and employee training for business
FREE Stuff

Coaching has become one of those buzzwords that means many different things. As we use it, coaching is a close business partnership that helps employees produce fulfilling results in their professional lives. It goes beyond the standard methods of motivating employees and creates an intrinsically motivating experience based on insightful questions, planned activities, and measurable outcomes. Whether we do the coaching for one of your employees or we train you (the supervisor/manager) to be the coach, the result is significant and lasting.

For example, PplDev coached a supervisor that was abrasive and intimidating in communicating with his employees. A smart manager with a lot of potential, he was about to lose his job and ruin his career. Several different interventions could have helped to close the gap in the supervisor's performance, but coaching produced a significant and lasting result that conflict management training had failed to produce.

The following excerpt from our new book, The New Supervisor's Coach, helps to explain the coaching model we use and promote. In this scenario, Pat, a supervisor, is being coached by her manager, Keri. We've also included two job aids that will help explain the relationship between the Situational Coaching Model (the general approach) and the specific coaching models for the five most common coaching opportunities.

Pages 53-55 in The New Supervisor's Coach:

Keri handed Pat a sheet of paper that read “Situational Coaching Model” across the top.

Situational Coaching Model

Keri said, “The four-step model of effective coaching applies to all five of the opportunities we’ve listed. There are specific steps we’ll look at that vary depending on the opportunity, but the four general steps apply to the five opportunities at a high level.

“For example, Step 3—plan a change—applies to all five opportunities. You will collaborate on a solution, ensure understanding, and gain commitment to a plan no matter what the opportunity. Then there are specific ways to carry out Step 3 depending on the opportunity. You’ll notice how they differ as we work through each of the five coaching opportunities.”

“Okay,” said Pat. “Before we get to the specific situations and steps, it would help me to understand the four general steps a little better. Can you give me an overview?”

“Of course!” answered Keri. “Thanks for asking. Here’s how they work:

  • Step 1 is done on your own before you meet with the employee. It’s important to not assume anything about a situation. This step is all about ensuring that you understand the situation as best you can before you start coaching at Step 2.
  • Step 2 begins the coaching session. This step is all about coming to a mutual understanding of the situation. You did your homework in Step 1, but there may be something you don’t know or haven’t considered from the employee’s perspective. You have completed Step 2 when you both agree on the nature of the problem or opportunity.
  • Step 3 is all about coming to a mutual agreement about what to do. You have completed Step 3 when you both agree on next steps to address the problem or opportunity.
  • Step 4 is all about follow-through. You have completed Step 4 when you both agree on when to meet for a progress report.”

“I like its simplicity and how it flows,” remarked Pat. “Thanks for taking the time to explain that to me. It’s helpful to get a big-picture view of the model.”

“You’re right that it is simple in concept. Just know that you will be challenged by the complexity of people and their responses. What I really like about the model are these benefits:

  • Helps the talkative supervisor to stay on task and not get off on tangents.
  • Helps the new supervisor with assurance that they’re coaching correctly.
  • Helps the supervisor who avoids conflict to be assertive.
  • Helps the impatient or brash supervisor to take a collaborative approach, listen, and help the employee feel supported.”

“I can’t wait to get started and feel the assurance that I’m coaching correctly,” said Pat.

“Where do you want to start?” asked Keri.

“Well, I think I’d like to start with my two Realignment opportunities, but I think it’s better to learn this model by beginning with the less challenging situations.”

“The least challenging situations are OJT and Encouragement. Here are the specific steps for OJT.”



Please contact us with your questions or special needs.

Like us on Facebook for lots of great tips. Check out all our videos on YouTube
Connect with us on LinkedIn for networking. Follow us on Twitter for up-to-date posts.