Coaching Conversations

Looking to be a little more coach-like in your conversations?  In their new book, Coaching in Organizations: Best Coaching Practices from The Ken Blanchard Companies, authors Madeleine Homan and Linda Miller recommend a 4-step process for managers looking to improve the basic structure of their performance and development conversations.


  • Connect by building rapport and setting the context. The manager needs to take a minute from other things that they may be working on to give employee’s their full attention. This may sound simple, yet any manager knows that it isn’t always easy to turn away from the computer screen, tune out the phone, and be fully attentive.
  • Focus by identifying topics and goals to be discussed. In this phase the manager needs to be sure that he or she has confirmed the specific focus of the conversation. This may seem obvious, but most conversations require refocusing a surprising average of seven times.
  • Activate your conversation by determining strategy and tactics for specific goals. To activate effectively, a manager must speak simply and directly. The key is for the person being coached to be crystal clear about which actions he or she is committed to and why.
  • Review by recapping the discussion to ensure clear agreements. In this final phase (which is missing from most conversations), the manager needs to make sure that clear agreements with timelines are in place.


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