Legendary Coaching Helps Everyone Reach the Net
February 5, 2007

I read an article the other day that was an interview with legendary UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden. It discussed how coaching for sports is similar to coaching people. Wooden said, "Every one of us is different. We are similar in so many respects, but we are not identical. The person in leadership must carefully analyze everyone under his supervision to the best of his ability."


Traditionally most managers have not been looking at each of their employees carefully and coaching each one appropriately. Without motivation, support and coaching from managers that will help an individual to develop and grow, performance suffers. Yet, this is one area that new managers and even seasoned managers have had very little training on - how to effectively coach team members.

Coaching Helps Jumpstart Performance

Coaching not only helps employees develop, but it also helps improve performance. Providing employees early coaching helps your managers assess employees' bench strength, progress and find out who still needs help. But, even more than that, it helps encourage employee decision-making, creativity and it helps increase employee skills.

Coaches put emphasis on practice and normally determine who is going to play based on how the individual practices. How you practice usually determines how you will play. Good, consistent practice skills translate into playing and actual performance. The problem is, how do you learn to become a good coach who can consistently reinforce the skills a team member already has and at the same time help the individual get a better grasp on new skills?

There is Nothing Wrong with Having Well-Coached Players on the Team

Getting back to Coach Wooden, he basically said that being accused of "not having much depth" on the team never bothered him. He was more interested in having a team of players working hard on the fundamentals. It was more important to have them well-trained and working together. Similarly, that is why it is so important to the employee that their manager has a mind-set of developing and coaching, to increase the skills and capabilities of every member on the team.

So, if you are going to invest time, money and resources in training and developing employees, why not focus on programs that lead to true behavior change and performance improvement? Teaching your managers effective coaching skills is one of the best ways to get a great return on your training investment. Your team scores...and so do you.

How Do You Get the Ball Rolling?

Similar to coaching athletes in how to play winning basketball, we've found that Developing and Coaching Others (DCO) teaches managers to use coaching to re-enforce new skills. Then, employees become comfortable with the new skills; these new skills turn into habits.

DCO teaches managers to effectively recognize and handle "coaching moments" so that individuals make learning decisions themselves. This is the maximization of on-the-job behavior that results from a training and development intervention through coaching.

This is a different approach to changing behavior and upping the score on performance by meeting two key objectives:

  • To provide managers with skills and strategies to guide their people through a learning process including tactics to help them before, during, and after training. That way you can ensure that behavior change is made.
  • To provide managers with a "coaching moments" model to help their team gain understanding and insight about their actions. This way, self-awareness with opportunities to learn and improve is supported.

A Corexcel consultant can help you implement a coaching and development program that works for you whether you are training new managers and supervisors or senior managers (Yes, training your rising management stars on coaching and development is important also).

Quote for the Week

"A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are." - Ara Parasheghian


Vital Learning Corporation (2007). Developing and Coaching Others.

Davenport, R. (2006). The Words of Legendary Coach John Wooden. Training & Development.

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