Arguably the single most important leadership and managerial competency is motivating and developing staff. Prime motivating factors for people at work is the feeling of being good at their job and that their work is valued.

If your job or business involves leading or developing others the most important thing you can do every day is support and help your team become proficient and learn new skills.

Workplace training is a core strategy to develop the skills, knowledge and attitudes that can provide a competitive edge and build resilience within an organisation. Attendance on formal courses and workshops can be expensive in both money and time. An effective coaching programme is a way to increase Return on Investment (ROI) and improve staff engagement by focusing on the strengths of your team.

What is coaching?

Even though the individual members of a team may have experienced the same formal training, individual performance will differ due to natural ability, comprehension and motivation. The most effective leaders take an interest in individuals. They recognise strengths and weaknesses, take time to expand on formal training, identify what is required for career advancement and encourage staff to take on responsibilities in order to improve. This is what coaching is.

“Good management is about maximising people’s strengths and making their weaknesses irrelevant”
- Peter Drucker

Making Coaching Effective

Critical to effective coaching is mutual credibility and trust. The coach gains credibility through operational competence, and trust by being reliable and fair. The individual being coached must be open and respond to the coaching. It is important to recognise how learning is stimulated and that the majority of people learn best by doing. Good practice is to employ a variety of methods to present material and provide opportunities to put ideas, skills and strategies into practice.

A basic structure for an on-the-job coaching session would be:

  • Explain 10% 
  • Demonstrate 20% 
  • Allow Practice 70%

Tips for the Coach Feedback

  • Give feedback as soon as appropriate after an event 
  • Communicate directly with the person concerned 
  • Be specific and accurate 
  • Frame feedback to get a response and remedial action when criticism is involved


  • Address specific issues 
  • Be prepared

Don’t rush to provide solutions

  • Share experiences and ideas
  • Don’t assume your experiences are valid in the current situation 
  • Encourage individuals to identify solutions


As well as being an excellent motivator and contributor to job satisfaction delegations to staff in transition to a leadership role add to performance and provide for career growth

Tips for the person being coached

Avoid defensiveness

  • Accept positive feedback graciously 
  • Listen carefully to what is actually being said 
  • Seek constructive outcomes from criticism

Contribute to the process

  • Ask questions and seek information 
  • Make suggestions

Take Responsibility for your own performance

  • Responsibility for individual performance rests with the person being coached

Paul Galloway
Training Manager
DDI: 03 474-9732