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3 Coaching Scenarios in the Workplace Right Now

Opprortunities for coaching conversations

Photo by Pavan Trikutam on Unsplash

Opportunities for Coaching Conversations Are All Around

In the 2017 Executive Coaching Survey, 58 percent of respondents stated coaching was important for employees who need leadership development.

Especially for new or growing leaders with high potential, coaching is one way to build strengths as well as spot potential needs for development. However, this isn’t just having an external coach, it can also include manager-coaches who bring coaching skills into their role.

The following three scenarios are ways that managers can incorporate coaching skills into common situations with direct reports and employees.


Scenario 1: Coaching A Career Goals Conversation

One of the best uses of coaching is to discuss career opportunities with a current or emerging leader. Whether initiated by that leader, or by a coach, or a manager-coach, having a conversation about that leader’s future is an opportunity for leaders to think out loud, test ideas they have, and gain the confidence needed to take the next steps.

This is a great time for leaders to think about their ideal next role within the company, how they want to take on new responsibilities in a current role to grow skills, or how their role may be changing to adapt to business needs. The coach can help the leader see the possibilities available for the future, as well as the action needed to head in that direction.

Coaches and manager-coaches can easily facilitate this process using the Coaching Conversation Model from The Coaching Clinic: establish focus, discover possibilities, plan action and accountability, remove barriers to action, and recap the next steps and deadline.


Scenario 2: Coaching Through A Performance Opportunity

Another scenario that is served well by a coaching conversation is where there is an identified opportunity in performance. This is not necessarily a sub-standard performance, but rather a performer who is not living up to their potential. If a manager has identified a leader that is doing fine but could be doing so much more, this is a perfect opportunity for that manager to have a coaching conversation with the “higher-potential.”

In the 2017 report, business leaders’ preferred method of measuring coaching benefits and effectiveness was 360-degree feedback before and after coaching, at 29 percent. Using an assessment and follow-up reassessment that provides a concrete measurement to highlight the frequency of demonstrated behaviors can identify the change in perception, with coaching serving as a catalyst for that change.

For leaders specifically, one of the most validated and reliable leadership assessments is the LPI®: Leadership Practices Inventory®, used by millions of leaders and coaches to positively shift a performance opportunity.

Paired with knowledge of effective coaching skills, managers can act as coaches during a performance conversation. These coaching skills, like discovery questioning, contextual listening, messaging, and acknowledging allow managers to uncover why a leader may not be performing up to their potential.

Coaching is the opposite of being a mind-reader: it’s about giving others the opportunity to solve their own problems, by asking sharply focused questions to uncover the answers that the leader undoubtedly has within them.


Scenario 3: Coaching in a Performance Evaluation

Whether your organization’s performance discussions happen annually, quarterly, monthly, or all the time, they are evergreen opportunities for coaching.

Since they are typically a time specifically dedicated to thinking about the past and planning action going forward into the future, it’s easy to incorporate coaching into the performance discussion. Instead of focusing on just telling leaders how they performed or what they will be doing in the future:

  • Give the leader opportunities to explore their own ideas for what skills and projects may be needed coming up
  • Discover possible barriers to what the leader identifies as a goal or need
  • Allow time for that leader to reflect on the past year, how they could have done better, and what they would improve


Long gone are the days where coaching is a punitive measure for employees who need to improve. Now, coaching opportunities abound for coaches and manager-coaches in the workplace to highlight the potential of their leaders and help them maximize the potential they have within.

If your managers are seeking the coaching skills to help employees succeed, consider bringing The Coaching Clinic® into your organization.


*The 2017 Executive Coaching Survey by Sherpa Coaching can be found here: http://www.sherpacoaching.com/annual-executive-coaching-survey/

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Linda Dausend

Linda Dausend CPLP, is a senior consultant at FlashPoint. Linda collaborates with clients to unlock the power of great leaders within their organizations.