CSI Performance Management System


workersCoaching takes feedback and builds on it. It focuses on developing collaborative relationships and mutually supportive partnerships in the work environment. Whereas feedback is often a one-time event related to a specific issue, coaching is an ongoing process.

Coaching takes the relationship between two workers . . .

...and emphasizes partnering, collaboration, guidance, and modeling. Coaching requires dialogue, balance, and accountability in relationships to be successful.


Communication is the key

The "Coach" vs. "The Boss"

There are differences in how the "coach" and the "boss" function in the workplace. There are situations that require the characteristics found most readily in the boss. There are many other times when coaching characteristics would be more effective.

Characteristics that may describe a coach could include: role-model, spontaneous, descriptive, listening, non-judgmental, open, questioning, supportive, inspiring, flexible, caring, interested in the employees' success, comfortable with diversity and ambiguity.

Characteristics that may describe a boss could include: on task, direct, event focused, analytical, dogmatic, driven, bottom-line focused, decision maker, problem solver, complex, investigative, and controlled.

Are there situations in your work environment that could benefit from coaching?

Uses of Coaching

Coaching is an excellent tool to enhance employee growth and performance, and to promote individual responsibility and accountability. It is not just for problem solving.

Coaching can be formal (a designated time and place) or informal (a simple conversation). Coaching is an ongoing process; it is not a singular event. When coaching is done well, it creates accountability without creating defensiveness. Coaching may be valuable in the following situations:

Coaching Model

There are many types of coaching models. The purpose of a model is to provide a framework that can be placed around an issue or a challenge. It is the process used to work through an issue. An eight-step model called Coaching for Development and Improvement has been developed as a model for CSI supervisors. It includes the elements listed below:

CoachingBuilding Trust - Trust is the key component to coaching. The employee and supervisor relationship must have some level of trust for coaching to work. A mutual interest in the success of the other is critical. Trust can be built incrementally through use of supportive behaviors.

Defining the Issues - The supervisor should seek information from the employee to better understand the issue or performance in question. The emphasis is not on proving who is right or wrong, but on gathering information in a non-judgmental manner. Using open-ended questions can assist in this area.

Clear policies and instruction - Make sure CSI and department policies, procedures and process instructions are available and clearly communicated first; or the employee is instructed and given time to read, understand and and ask questions.

Motivating for Success -Workplace motivation is an ongoing challenge. Taking employees from compliance to commitment can be difficult. Finding or creating that motivation means helping the employee get in touch with what matters to him – what are his internal motivators. Sometimes this is easiest achieved through the use of open-ended questions leading to some self-discovery.

Creating a Plan of Action - For the purpose of buy in and commitment, any action plan should be created jointly by the supervisor and the employee. The plan should be simple, measurable, and attainable. (See S.M.A.R.T. Goals for more specific information.)

Working with Sidetracks - When confronted with sidetracks, obstacles, resistance, and excuses, many of us become frustrated. The key to working with sidetracks and obstacles is to recognize them as existing realities and refocus on the issue at hand and move forward. Sometimes real issues can appear as obstacles. Be careful to recognize those issues and deal with them as they can derail the plan.

Committing to Action - Once a plan of action has been worked out, assign roles and timelines. Get verbal commitment to the overall plan as well as the next step. This is a great opportunity to tie up loose ends and clarify expectations.

Following Through - Coaching is an ongoing process. Don’t leave the relationship to chance. Continue to follow through with formal or informal coaching.

Whatever coaching model you choose be sure it is simple, flexible and easy to use. Remember, coaching focuses on building collaborative relationships.

How is Feedback Different from Coaching?

Feedback is a part of coaching. Coaching takes feedback and builds a relationship with it. Supervisors can use coaching in many situations, e.g., for successful or unsuccessful performance, change in direction, new projects or new team members.

Approaches to Feedback and Coaching



Listen to respond

Listen to understand

Point out specific information

Ask clarifying, open-ended questions

Can control outcomes

Respect, value, collaborate, and partner with others

Commitment to things being right

Commitment to Learning

Can be one-sided, closed

Positive exchange of information, open

Change others' behavior

Support others

Defend position





Coaching Challenges

There are challenges to coaching. Some of those challenges may include: lack of time, heightened emotions, fear of losing control of the situation, indifference, or the hope that "this too shall pass."

Coaching takes time and a commitment to relationship building. Remember, coaching is not for every situation. Serious, blatant, and/or ongoing employee performance problems may need to progress to the next level: "Realigning Performance."

Remember: When helping others prepare for change, developing staff in new areas, carrying out process improvement, increasing the potential for retention, facilitating growth, building commitment or working to change the College ’s culture, coaching may be the tool to use.

TimeTake a Minute to Reflect

Does coaching fit your supervisory style? If yes, what one thing do you plan to do to create coaching relationships with your staff?


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