A guide to better coach your team


Edward Tuorinsky, general manager of DTSbrings two decades of experience in management consulting and information technology services.

Receiving a prestigious gift used to be the pinnacle of business success – everyone wanted that 25 years of gold Rolex. But the current working population increasingly prefers it gain experience and move on. A career is like a quilt with many pieces. With this shift, I think leaders need to shift their focus from mentoring to another technique for developing and managing talent: coaching.


The limits of mentorship

With people coming and going so quickly, guidance is needed. But the idea of ​​a mentor – a senior/experienced employee mentoring another junior employee to help them move up the ranks – no longer works for many organizations. Why? Because there aren’t enough long-termers to mentor the newbies.

The concept of mentorship is designed for the long term, recognizing and nurturing the potential in young employees, through several promotions and over years or decades. In our current climate, much like a college football team, companies constantly have players coming and going, and they need to know what it takes to do their jobs well and help the team achieve its goals.

Coach culture

Employers know they have limited time with many employees, and it’s important to give them the direction they need to quickly contribute to the success of the organization. Best practices, policies, tips and standards help employees indoctrinate new roles. Coaches can provide direction and instruction to everyone on a team, help improve everyone’s abilities and set standards.

The coaching concept is based on a team concept. Even in organizations where individuals are motivated by their personal success, fostering a sense of teamwork creates cohesion and shared access to knowledge. increases performance. Coaching makes it possible for all members to celebrate each other’s successes.

Coaching is also effective in build soft skills; of employees who have been coached, those surveyed reported an increase in self-confidence (80%), improved relationships (73%), communication skills (72%), interpersonal skills (71%) and job performance (70%). Significantly, organizations that use coaching report that the support makes their employees feel better understood, more engaged and more likely to stay longer.

Good coaching lays the foundation for lasting employee success – the lessons and knowledge stay with the recipient when they move to another team. That’s why NFL recruiters watch the biggest, most successful college programs – they know those players are well taught. If you give employees the coaching they need for organizational success, then even if their career path and goals take them elsewhere, those individuals can walk away with a foundation of how to get the job done, enriching their value.

Choose the coach

While outside coaching professionals are readily available (it’s a $15.2 billion industry), many organizations choose to use internal resources and look to HR and management roles to provide this guidance. Direct managers often have the relationship and insight to provide effective coaching – and a vested interest in helping team members achieve higher levels of effectiveness.

Many professional development organizations offer coaching courses, demonstrating that any person or role can provide coaching support with the right motivation, mindset and skills. Indeed, coaching is often seen as one leadership style that is becoming increasingly popular with companies looking to improve employee satisfaction and corporate culture.

How to coach for success in your organization

• Coach the basics. Good coaching starts with an overview of the basics. That means daily, weekly and monthly coverage of what the work entails; communicating expectations; and modeling success. Fundamental coaching looks like onboarding, training, weekly check-ins and feedback.

Digging deeper, good coaching requires your organization to think formally about values, culture, goals and standard operating practices. And it requires a good coach who is skilled in communication, aware of the strategy and motivated to bring out the best in the team. It is often not easy to break employees with bad habits and to teach them a good foundation.

• Coach the script. With people coming in from outside your organization, you also need to coach the nuances of your specific game plan. That could be the way your organization writes reports, organizes client meetings, or plans agile sprints. It’s also a good dose of culture. Within my company, for example, cooperation is very important. However, we need to coach that in advance so that no one is surprised if we expect them to fill in during the crises.

Every team works a little differently, and coaching those differences is like giving new employees the playbook on how they fit in and be a part of the team.

• Coach success strategies. There’s a story going around about a manager asking his team at the start of every meeting to explain how they found the blueberries. This manager knew that most teams meet to discuss challenges and problems, and he didn’t believe that the human brain is designed that way. Consider: If we’re a hunter-gatherer group and you just found a bunch of blueberries to feed everyone, the first question wouldn’t be, “What went wrong here?” It would be, “How did you find this one?” By sharing knowledge, everyone understands how to be successful – and what ‘good’ looks like.


Coaching aims to provide guidance so that employees can project the right steps and achieve success more easily. It is important to note that while mentoring is always one-to-one interaction, coaching is both one-to-many interaction. And one-on-one to address individual performance needs and build specific skills.

The coolest thing about coaching is how the impact spreads. Employees who are coached learn to coach others, share their knowledge and lend a hand to pull teammates up when they stumble. If Georgia’s head football coach had focused only on quarterbacks, his team would not have made it to the national championships.

The coaching approach supports a well-rounded organization that attracts talent and makes the most of the available talent. At a time when a gold watch is no longer the goal, coaching offers a positive way to manage employees for as long as you have them.

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