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Managers’ Corner: Unlocking the power of coaching

This article is courtesy of the Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness. For more team development resources, contact

As a leader, it’s important to take the time to recognize your team members and the value that they bring to the team.

Some leaders only use coaching as a tool to correct poor behavior or underperformance, but it is an invaluable tool for reinforcing and recognizing your team’s efforts. If you focus solely on correction, you’re missing out on critical opportunities to grow and develop your team. Coaching for reinforcement helps ensure that your team stays motivated to keep moving forward and succeeding.

Five coaching opportunities

  1. For consistent high performance
    Don’t take employees’ consistently high performance for granted. Make sure to provide positive feedback, so that they know that their extra effort is recognized. Without recognition, employees may feel discouraged and lower their performance standards on future projects and responsibilities.
  2. After overcoming a setback
    When an employee overcomes obstacles or setbacks, providing positive feedback acknowledges their resilience. Congratulate them on their perseverance and commitment, calling out their specific solutions.
  3. For demonstrating teamwork
    Teamwork needs to be purposely built and fostered. When employees actively contribute to team projects, support their colleagues, and foster a collaborative environment, providing positive feedback encourages continued collaboration.
  4. After completing a challenging task
    When an employee successfully completes a difficult project or task, providing positive feedback reinforces their abilities and motivates them to tackle future challenges with confidence. Acknowledge the specific ways you observed them stretch beyond their comfort zone to produce results. Remind them that you’re always there for support, but that they have clearly shown their abilities to tackle challenges head-on.
  5. For demonstrating improvement
    When an employee grows in a particular skill or area, offering positive feedback acknowledges their progress and encourages continued development — especially if they were previously coached in that area for improvement. Do not wait until an entire project or goal is complete to recognize the improvement. Calling out small improvements can help encourage sustained growth.

Remember: Coaching is a critical process that fosters employees’ development and the team’s overall success.

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