What is Coaching?

Coaching involves someone experienced in a particular skill transmitting knowledge relating to the skill on an individual person-to-person basis.  Often it consists of a demonstration followed by the trainee imitating exactly what the coach has done.

The instruction is immediate, direct and the coach is seen to be taking a personal interest in the trainee.  Account may be taken of the trainee’s specific needs and the pace of coaching can be varied to suit the trainee’s capacity to absorb information.


Coaching is effectively informal.  Trainees progressively attain higher levels of skill.  Simple tasks are demonstrated first, then more complicated tasks after the simple ones have been mastered.  The trainee is intimately involved in the learning process and the coach is available to remedy mistakes on the spot as they occur.  Accordingly, to praise behaviour you want repeated.

A trainee can repeat difficult operations, ask questions and gradually gains confidence as the coaching proceeds.  Against these benefits are the difficulties that firstly, a demonstration is wasted if the trainee fails to focus at crucial moments, so the entire demonstration has to be repeated and secondly, an incompetent coach will coach on incorrect working methods.  A parallel approach is for the trainee to learn things independently and then be questioned by the coach.  This helps expose gaps in the trainee’s knowledge but may damage his/her self-confidence.  A congenial rapport between trainee and coach should exist therefore, before attempting successful coaching.

Coaching offers a dynamic, future orientated employee centred approach.


The G.R.O.W. model of coaching:

  • Clear, attainable yet challenging goals.
  • A clear exploration of the situation as it is now – to raise awareness of present reality.
  • Careful identification and subsequent evaluation of all things the individual might do to improve the situation – the options.
  • A decision about what he/she will

For an employee development programme to be sustainable, much of it as possible should be self-directed by the trainee.  Only by building an environment where people take responsibility for their own learning can one hope to create the momentum you need.