Coaching conversations for Thinking Performers

coaching conversations

Coaching conversations for Thinking Performers

What role can coaching play in creating a motivated organisation where employees put their knowledge and skills into action

A lot has been written about coaching.  To the uninitiated, it can take on the appearance of ‘smoke and mirrors’ – just another initiative that repackages old management theories and sells them under a new banner.  This could not be further from the truth.

For those that have really embraced the concept, it has a fundamental and powerful impact on both the individual, the organisation and across the whole supply chain. When someone suddenly realises the possibilities for personal growth and for achieving aspirations, they will happily step out of their comfort zone and take the first steps towards releasing their potential and impacting positively upon the bottom line.

So, what is coaching?

Coaching is a personal development process designed to enhance a person’s success in achieving her or his professional objectives within the context of the organization.

But what does that mean?

It means that despite it being focused on the individual, it is important that everyone understands that within an organizational context the ultimate goal is to improve effectiveness and efficiency, i.e. profitability.

Coaching is a structured conversation, where the coach asks high quality questions and listens actively. The coachee reaches deep inside to unlock hidden resources and then chooses to use them for their self, their community and/or their organisation.

For me the keys are:-

  • Good questions
  • Great listening

…and the understanding that we already have all of the resources to achieve many of our goals within us!  We just need some help in liberating them.

According to the ILM:-

  • 90% of organisations with over 2,000 employees use business coaching
  • 95% say that coaching has delivered tangible benefits to their business

This doesn’t mean that coaching only works in large organisations; it means that we now have some benchmarks for the validity of using coaching as an intervention for improving performance.

Thinking Performers are people who not only receive coaching but adopt a coach/leader mindset themselves – they walk their talk every day.

What can the organisation expect from someone who embraces a coaching mindset?

They generally have a vision and they happily share it, empowering others to connect to the objectives of the organisation.  They put ideas into action – they are Thinking Performers!

They co-create an environment where being proactive is rewarded and where team members are aligned towards organisational objectives.  Better listeners ask better questions and reach quality decisions in a shorter time frame.  They help others align their personal vision with that of the organisation.  They are ‘brand ambassadors’, working to help others connect their own personal brand values to that of the organisation.  They understand and demonstrate the concept of know, like and respect, which builds trust.

Thinking Performers understand accountability and hold themselves and others accountable for their actions.  They shares personal experience, learning and wisdom freely with others; they want others to grow.  They see the unrealised potential in others and help them to see it for themselves through coaching – both formal and informal.

They are committed to continual learning and personal development and will share that learning willingly.  They understand logic, however, they are equally comfortable with intuition and imagination, and they use all of these to improve communications, reduce conflict and improve consensus.

They know how to, and can, challenge others without making them feel criticised – they are passionate about helping others succeed.  They know that no team wins when any of its members are losers.  They coach and mentor others to improve performance and to help them to develop continually.

A Thinking Performer looks for win-win outcomes at every opportunity.  They do not look to thrive built on the ‘failure’ of others – they look to thrive built on the ‘success’ of others!

What makes a good coach?

Looking at the list above, you can easily identify key attributes.  Mary Connor and Julia Pakora, in Coaching & Mentoring at work, suggest that these might be some of the skills and behaviours[i]:-


  1. Supportive
  2. Sounding board
  3. Challenging
  4. Networker
  5. Respected
  6. Assertive
  7. Open
  8. Transparent
  9. Creative
  10. Visible
  11. Interpersonally skilled
  12. Strategic
  13. Kind
  14. Genuine
  15. Just

Others include:

  1. Active listener
  2. Questioning skills
  3. Empathetic
  4. Goal focused
  5. Credible
  6. Accountability
  7. Intuitive
  8. Positive & enthusiastic

Look at your organisation and ask “what behaviours do I see” and “what behaviours do I want to see?”

What makes a good coachee?

Be prepared

Don’t just turn up flustered and un-prepared; your brain will still be focused on the last activity that you did and you will be thinking on the next thing you have to do. Go through your notes and remind yourself what you committed to do.

Consider the issues you face

By fully understanding where you find yourself and thinking about how you can explain your issues to your coach, you will save time and will gain much more insight.

Set outcomes

Start with the end in mind and think about what you want to get out of the session and the whole process.

Ask yourself what you want to change

A good coachee knows that coaching is about change and needs to know what it is that needs to change and why.

Be a good listener

Not only does the coach need to be a good listener, so does the coachee. A good coachee is listening to the questions and will allow themselves time to think.

Asks good questions

A coachee needs to ensure that they understand the questions being asked. They will clarify if they are not sure.

Understand the art of reflection

Too often, we jump in and agree actions. It is acceptable to ask for time to reflect. By that, I do not mean days and days, but a few minutes to mull things over works a treat.

Show your emotions

Coaching is not a test, it is a supportive sounding board, and letting ‘stuff out’ can really help to get to the heart of an issue. Just remember that your coach is not a counsellor.  They will provide the questions… will provide your own answers!

Be honest

Find the courage to admit that you feel a failure or frustrated or angry. Your coach will ask you good questions to get to the root cause. From there you will get clarity and find a resolution.

Be grateful for this fantastic opportunity

You are really lucky to have your organisation invest in you, really maximise this opportunity and get the most out of it.


Organisations that embrace coaching, and know what to look for in a coach and coachee, will ultimately reap the rewards and impact the bottom line.

The coaching process is designed to bring out the best in people, with a focus on organisational results. These results create Thinking Performers who will enable

  • Improved effectiveness and efficiency
  • higher employee morale
  • better employee relations
  • other key goals that you set as your measure of success

Coaching produces Thinking Performers who will act as Brand Ambassadors, building and maintaining a culture for continuous improvement and increasing success.


Please contact Thinking Performers on or call on 0844 800 2958 to request more information.

[i] Connor M & Pakora J 2007. Coaching & Mentoring at Work. Open University Press, McGraw Hill Education, P47

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