Just Coach


January 5, 2011

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.

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.


  • Great post! The hardest part of coaching for me (whether its in athletics, my work, or even at home) is determining how each person wants/needs to be coached. Everyone has a style of coaching they respond best to, and it is the leader’s responsibility to determine how each person will respond and then try to adapt their style to each person.

    • @Brittany- Such a timely comment and outstanding point about adjusting coaching style to the employee. I had a conversation about this with a leader yesterday. I don’t think we think of this aspect enough. So glad you mentioned it. Thanks!

  • Great article! Coaching definitely does make a great manager and the best thing about it, is that it is a powerful, free, and easy tool. I also think it is important to give feedback. Employees nowadays are wanting feedback and is also a great motivating tool!

    • @Vanessa- Thanks for the comment. You’re right- it is a great motivating tool. That is the piece that we tend to forget in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of just trying to get work done. Everyone thinks feedback has to be so formal and planned. I love to see managers and other leaders doing it more casually.

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About Trish

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


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