University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Guidelines and Outline for Effective Coaching

Guidelines for Coaching Employees


  1. Know the subordinate’s job
  2. Specify the standards for acceptable performance
  3. List specific examples of the subordinate’s unacceptable or deficient performance
  4. Consider possible barriers to good performance
  5. Outline the coaching session
    • Have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish
    • Word your comments carefully
    • Plan questions to generate discussion
    • Have a tentative action plan developed
  6. Set the right climate
    • Schedule time
    • Arrange the physical setting to reduce barriers

Outline for Effective Coaching

Let subordinate know what's expected

  1. Clearly define job duties and responsibilities
  2. Clearly describe the standards for achievement

Let subordinate know how he/she is doing

  1. Make an accurate appraisal of performance
  2. Discuss with the subordinate - get agreement

Develop a plan for improvement

  1. Focus on one job weakness
  2. Have subordinate assist in developing the plan
  3. Get commitment to the plan

Help subordinate implement the plan

  1. Observe performance and improvement
  2. Praise improvement–encourage new efforts
  3. Constructively correct failures
  4. Teach by example
  5. Periodically review process

Reward results - give or withhold rewards based on results

  1. Possible rewards include recognition, increased freedom to do job own way, increased job responsibilities, job enrichment, job rotation, salary increase, promotion, professional development