Coaching Made Easy- You Don’t Have To Yell


March 30, 2010

Tired of spending 80% of your time on 20 % of your staff?  Tired of walking around the office or shop floor on eggshells due to the actions of one or two employees?  Do you want to demonstrate to the powers-that-be that you are a competent leader, capable of taking on more responsibility?  Well, do I have the thing for you!

It slices, it dices, it can cut a tomato paper thin….

Oh, sorry.

Wrong approach.  This is NOT an infomercial .  But if it was, I WOULD have a simple idea for you.  JUST COACH.

Loylola's Coach Farmer whispers instructions to Terrance Whiters (2004). Photo by Brian M. Payne.

I know, it’s not the newest, greatest thing since sliced bread, but it is proven to lead to your success, your employee’s success, and the success of your team.  But, coaching is not easy, you say.  I know, but most things in life that are worthwhile do not come easy.  Time and again we do what feels easy in the moment and do not give someone some feedback.  We see an employee or colleague behave in a way that we know is blatently counter-intuitive to what is in their best interest or the best interest of the organization.  Well, as leaders, colleagues, and employees ourselves, IT IS OUR JOB TO STEP UP AND COACH THAT PERSON.  Think you can’t?  Do this:

  • LOOK FEAR IN THE EYE– Don’t shy away.
  • START THE CONVERSATION– Take the lead.
  • WALK THE TALK– Demonstrate that you are willing to give fair and honest feedback DAILY.

Sometimes the person you want to coach does not think they need it.  Sometimes they are in denial that a problem exists.  It’s ok.  That is why you need to step up and do it.  Don’t wait for someone else to come along and do clean up for you (like HR).  By then, the problem usually has grown so huge that it involves performance improvement plans, action steps, and maybe termination.

You do not have to scream it from the rooftops.  Sometimes the best coaching comes in the form of a whisper. It’s that gentle, subtle approach that gets the point across.

So, do it today.  Go out and give feedback.  Do it to everyone you encounter, not just people who work for you.  Tell someone at a store or restaurant if they do a good job.  Tell them if they could have done something better.  Tell your colleagues, tell your staff.  JUST COACH.

Practice will make perfect.


  • I love the simplicity in this, Trish. So many managers will shy away from providing feedback…just keep brushing it under the rug until something (or someone) explodes.

    Another simple add: when providing feedback, do it in the third person vs. the first person. Comment on the project, behavior, etc. as if it was an object. When done this way, the recipient of the feedback will rarely become defensive or confrontational. The end result is the best — they will be LISTENING to what they’re hearing vs. thinking about what they’re going to say to look better.

  • It’s definitely important to give feedback, and whispering is certainly a lot more effective than yelling; but coaching is more than just giving the feedback. There has to be an ongoing conversation, and the employee has to be invested in the process; and willingly, not just under threat.

    It seems to me that part of the problem is that managers just don’t have the time to really coach in a committed way, but they are also slow to bring in outside coaches who can work with the employee with full commitment. This can lead to a marked improvement in performance.

  • That’s really easy…giving feedback. It works. Although more often than not, the effects are temporary in organizations. You cannot keep on whispering when there is a recurrence. It is always better to have a continuing coaching program in place. Sustainability and accountability.

Comments are closed.

Loylola's Coach Farmer whispers instructions to Terrance Whiters (2004). Photo by Brian M. Payne.
Loylola's Coach Farmer whispers instructions to Terrance Whiters (2004). Photo by Brian M. Payne.
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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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