Three useful tools for having a coaching conversation

If given the task of eating an elephant we all know how to proceed.  That’s one bite at a time.  I say forget about eating an elephant, but instead have a Snicker’s bar.  You do not have time for an elephant roast or even an elephant snack cracker.


It’s the same with coaching team or staff members.  Very often, you don’t have the time for an hour of coaching, maybe not even fifteen minutes.  In that case, you should resolve to have a “coaching conversation”.



A coaching conversation is a brief communication event using a coaching process and questions to move the team member forward.  During the conversation limit your engagement to one topic, choose a plan for conducting the conversation, and always ask your staff member for permission to engage in a coaching conversation.

During an evaluation discussion, it is tempting to attempt to cover every aspect of the staff member’s performance however; it will be more useful if you limit your discussion to one key topic.  If there are fifteen different aspects of performance, for the sake of clarity and time, only choose one topic.



Secondly, choose a process for conducting the conversation.  There are several useful models such as the GROW or ORACLE method.  Most methods are geared to accommodate a minimum of fifteen minutes but if you don’t have that amount of time focus on allowing the employee to generate the path (goal) and be careful to look at the issue the way the staff member views it.


Finally work together for options and create a plan for moving ahead and seek permission to engage in a coaching conversation.  In general, it is not the culture of the work place to have “coaching conversations”.  Rather the average leader believes it is her obligation to offer direction.  In a mentoring relationship (direction), this is true however; it is not true for a coaching conversation.  Team members will not be familiar with this style of conversation so ask permission to ask those “who, what, where, when, and how” questions.


IMG_3177.JPG Call To Action: Select a coaching method and create questions in preparation for your next staff member counseling session.


Hello, my name is Eric Brown and I am a small business, executive and leadership coach. ​I work with individuals and groups to strengthen their leadership, technical,and managerial skills. I will enable you to achieve your desired success in the workplace and life.

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