Don’t manage: Coach to get the best out of your people

When companies are operating well, when they are focused on value drivers that will increase the value of their asset, lots of good things happen – income, profit, cash to grow and ability to invest in people and the business.

There are four C’s of business value – human capital, customer capital, structural capital and social capital.

There is no question that human capital is the most important. Yet it is the one we often struggle with the most, because our time is spent putting out fires that human capital could handle if we spent some time with it.

And because we don’t spend time developing and investing in people, they grow bitter, disinterested and “work for the check.”

The current popular term is they are disengaged, but, quite frankly, they are just fed up with being treated poorly.

There is a movement in the workplace to move away from managing employees (telling employees what to do) to coaching employees: helping them accelerate their learning and increase performance.

A good coach challenges the employee to move from intention to action and holds the person accountable to do that.


The 3-C coaching model, as described by Gregg Thompson, author of “The Master Coach,” was created to provide a framework to help leaders, including executives, middle managers, first-line supervisors and individual contributors, rapidly develop solid coaching competencies and immediately apply them in daily interactions.

(1) CHARACTER: You don’t become a coach by assuming you are one; you earn it. You earn the right to coach others through the quality of your character, integrity, interpersonal courage and noble intention.

(2) CONNECTION: The coaching relationship requires a special relationship in which the person being coached welcomes feedback, accepts personal responsibility, challenges long-held assumptions, explores radically different options and creates a new path forward.

(3) CONVERSATION: By definition, conversation requires communication between two or more parties. Both participate. A coaching conversation is not about the coach advising or directing. It is a conversation that is distinctly fresh, inquisitive, thought-provoking and stimulates the person being coached to think and act in new ways. Great coaching conversations alternate between constructive confrontation, intense questioning, sincere affirmation and idea generation.


Where do you start these conversations? By relearning a skill most of us mastered as a child, but have forgotten – learn to ask questions.

Ask really good questions that start the conversation, listen, ask another and begin to help the person being coached discover new insights and new possibilities.

Here are some great coaching questions:

(1) ABOUT DISCOVERY: What is the most important unanswered question facing you now?

(2) ABOUT POSSIBILITY: If failure had minor consequences, what would you do?

(3) ABOUT ACTION: What is the most potent first step you can take?


When you coach people well, they start to feel appreciated. They say things such as: “really listened to me,” “told me the hard truth” and “invested in me.”

And by no means is coaching soft. To the contrary, when you ask good questions that help the person being coached really dig deep and commit to new action, it is very challenging for both.

Coaching is how you get the most out of your people. They will move from “working for the check” to giving you their minds and hearts because you believe in them.

Change your culture – start coaching. And watch your business value soar.

Tom Garrity is managing partner of Compass Point Consulting LLC in Hanover Township, Northampton County. He is a certified coach with Gazelles International and a certified exit planning adviser with the Exit Planning Institute. Compass Point provides growth and business transition consulting to small- and medium-sized businesses. He can be reached at 610-336-0514 or

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