Motivating and communicating

Four guidelines for effective coaching


Learning to be a good coach for your employees doesn't mean mastering complicated techniques or memorizing dozens of rules as much as simply developing the right attitudes in yourself. To be an effective coach, you need to follow some basic guidelines to help you cultivate the habits and perspective that bring out the best in your staff.

  • Be flexible in your approach to teaching. People learn things in different ways. Just because you respond well to pictures and visual examples does not mean that all your employees will. You need to learn how to teach the same material through different means so you can reach all your people, regardless of their style of learning.
  • Be a model of responsible behavior. As a coach, you can't make excuses unless you're willing to let others do the same. You need to model the kind of behavior you're trying to coach. For example, if you want employees to use their time efficiently you should use a daily to-do list and other tools to help you manage your own time well.
  • Show confidence in your people. If you assume that your employees have the ability to succeed at whatever task you put before them, that confidence will help inspire them to work harder. Show your faith by investing in tools to help employees do their jobs better, and by giving them responsibility to make decisions and act on them.
  • Give employees options, not orders. Good coaching teaches employees and proteges to create and make choices. If you're making all the decisions, the employee isn't learning how to think independently or how to make a selection from varied options. If an employee makes a mistake, for example, don't respond with criticism. Try to find out why he or she made the wrong decision, and show the person how to choose correctly the next time. 

Jules Ciotta is president of Motivation Communications Associates. He can be reached at (770) 457-4100 or



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