The Ultimate Coaching Cheat Sheet

How should I handle coaching? How often do I have to coach? Instead of talking people through the lengthy process, hand them this cheat sheet, so that they can tick the boxes themselves!

The Ultimate Coaching Cheat Sheet

How should I handle coaching? How often do I have to coach? Why should I coach? Probably questions that you as an HR or Talent Managers have heard a million times before. Instead of talking people through the lengthy process, hand them this cheat sheet so that they can tick the boxes themselves!

If you're not comfortable giving feedback on someone's work, don't coach!

Why Coaching? 

  1. You will feel rewarded because you are helping people develop, learn and grow to fulfil their roles. Good managers believe this is part of the job, not an extra.
  2. You will create a better relationship with each employee.
  3. You will build an understanding of what each employee needs and learn to adjust to that person.
  4. When people are being coached well, the company and your team thrive. 

Most importantly, you will motivate your team and create a trustful relationship by setting clear expectations and listening carefully. 

Skills of a Good Coach

Being a coach is a big part of leadership, if not one of the biggest. Mind you that coaching isn't the same as training. A good manager can do both but knows the difference. Coaching is the process where you are a guide to someone and push them to realise their full potential. You have a supporting role. It's about asking the right questions and sharing your expertise.

There are different situations that require coaching:

  • Relational issues
  • Sharing expertise
  • Self-improvement of soft skills
  • Career change
  • New problems

Each situation needs a different approach but comes with the same core responsibilities. Except the fact that you have to carefully listen and not impose your own opinion, there are some other coaching responsibilities:

  • Establish focus  
  • Discover possibilities
  • Remove barriers
  • Share expertise
  • Set up a plan of action together
  • Follow up + feedback


Popular Framework

A good guideline to do all the things mentioned above is to follow the GROW Methodology. This method focuses on structure and developmentGROW stands for Goal, Reality, Options and Will.

Goal: Look at the behaviour the person wants to change. What is the goal both on a long and short term? Is the goal SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely)? Challenge the person in front of you with inquiring questions!

Reality: Examine the current situation. What is happening now? What is the effect? Raise general awareness and self-awareness in this phase. As the coach, your role is to make sure everything is clear, to stimulate self-evaluation and clarify the steps that need to be taken.

Options: Explore the options. Think of ideas that might lead to a solution. Discuss these, think about the pros and cons and pick out the best ones. Offer your own suggestions but let your team member take the first step. Asking someone to first look for solutions themselves forces them to focus on the situation and outcome more. You have to guide the person in the right direction without actually making the decision.

Will: After examining the reality and exploring different options, you will now both have a good idea of how to achieve this goal. Motivate the person, set up an action plan and a time frame.

Frequently Asked Coaching Questions

Questions coaches ask themselves:

  • How do I start coaching?
  • What are coaching best practices?
  • How often should I coach one person?
  • What should I do when someone's in a bad mood or is not cooperating?
  • What do I think is an effective coaching session?

It's important you answer these questions before you start coaching someone. This will make the entire coaching process clear and realistic. 

Advice You Didn't Know Yet

1. Ask the right amount of questions: Ask enough (open) questions but don't be afraid to also share your expertise. You'll waste time asking 100 questions if the person in front of you can't possibly know the answer. Try to direct the person in the right direction without actually giving them the answer. 

2. Have frequent feedback moments: You can ask all the right questions, lead them through the entire coaching process, but it won't succeed without giving feedback and checking-in regularly! The person being coached might not always be confident, so it's even more important to positively express clear and relevant suggestions for improvement.

3. Don't try to rush anything: Almost all the coachees' realisations and aha moments come after a few days of being coached. You asked a lot of questions and they need some time to reflect on the entire process. 

4. Never have the end goal in mind: You should never start a coaching session already thinking about the end goal. Unconsciously, you will be working towards that goal, while it's important the person comes to the goal herself. 


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