A Manager's Guide to Coaching: Simple and Effective Ways to Get the Best Out of Your Employees


To stay on top, you need to do more than just tread water—you need to grow. And that means that you need to progressively develop and improve your skills. As a manager, you may find yourself being encouraged to constantly improve employee performance through effective coaching, but you may not have the time—or the knowledge—to do it successfully. Brian Emerson and Anne Loehr have spent years showing some of the country’s top companies how to develop their most promising employees. This concise guide for busy ...

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A Manager's Guide to Coaching: Simple and Effective Ways to Get the Best Out of Your Employees

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To stay on top, you need to do more than just tread water—you need to grow. And that means that you need to progressively develop and improve your skills. As a manager, you may find yourself being encouraged to constantly improve employee performance through effective coaching, but you may not have the time—or the knowledge—to do it successfully. Brian Emerson and Anne Loehr have spent years showing some of the country’s top companies how to develop their most promising employees. This concise guide for busy managers gives you the tools you need to coach your people, and yourself, through any work situation. A Managers Guide to Coaching takes you through the entire coaching process from discovery, through clarifying wants, problem solving, defining action, and developing accountability. It provides specific, powerful questions to ask when coaching and motivating employees to peak performance, as well as sample conversations, responses, and different ways you can follow up. With compassion and honesty, the authors offer invaluable advice on:

the top 10 tips every manager should know before you start to coachhow to handle difficult conversations, conflicting priorities, and problem team membershow to hold follow-up meetings after goals and priorities have been setsample questions you can adapt to various situationsexamples of common problems and how you can use coaching to address them.

Clear, practical and straightforward, this is the secret weapon that will help you take your employees from good to exceptional.  

Brian Emerson and Anne Loehr are certified executive coaches and cofounders of Safaris for the Soul, leadership development retreats in Kenya, Patagonia, and Iceland. Anne Loehr specializes in the hospitality industry has worked with leaders at The Away Network, The Nature Conservancy, and Carlson Destination Marketing Services. Brian Emerson has advised clients such as PBS, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Natural Resources Defense Council on leadership development and effectiveness. They live in the Washington, D.C. area.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Selected by Ready to Manage as one of the Top 20 Best Books on Coaching and Mentoring for 2012

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814409824
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 4/2/2008
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 329,830
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian Emerson and Anne Loehr (Washington, D.C.) are certified executive coaches and cofounders of Safaris for the Soul, leadership development retreats in Kenya, Patagonia, and Iceland.

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Read an Excerpt


Getting the Best from Employees

If you’re not growing, you’re dying.

It’s a basic rule of life here on earth and in the business world today. It’s what drives most of us to be better at what we do and who we are. It’s the desire to “be more.” Because of this desire, the term “coaching” has caught the attention of both the personal-growth and business worlds, creating a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry and a situation in which everyone wants a coach. More than ever, employees are asking for developmental opportunities and managers are being told they need to “coach” their employees on a regular basis. We’ve even worked with managers who say they’ve been told to “stop managing and start coaching.” This all sounds great in theory—managers coaching employees to grow and be more effective—but there’s one problem. Although many people agree that having a coach is a great way to move toward success, very few people know what a coach actually is or what a coach actually does. This leaves many managers scratching their heads as they try to fit one more ambiguous task into their already over-busy schedules.

So what is a coach, and what is coaching? This is our definition: A coach is someone who helps another person reach higher effectiveness by creating a dialogue that leads to awareness and action. By creating the space to step back, look in the mirror, and grapple with the tough questions, a coach helps a person examine and deal with their reactions to obstacles and, in a sense, “get out of their own way” as they achieve better results, in a more efficient manner.

But why is this important? Why is helping a person deal with their own personal obstacles so necessary? Why can’t people just focus on the task at hand and put all that other emotional stuff to the side? The answer, much to the chagrin of many people and managers, is that as humans, we don’t have a choice. If we are going to grow, be more, and reach higher levels of effectiveness, we have to spend time learning how to clear one of the biggest hurdles of success—our own emotional baggage.


When we are faced with a task (in business, or any aspect of life), there are three things that we need to be as successful as possible:

*Aptitude—the know-how, skills, and capacity to complete the task at hand

*Attitude—the drive, confidence, focus, and determination to complete the task at hand

*Available Resources—the tools, equipment, and time needed to complete the task at hand

Without these three components, we cannot be at the top of our game. The degree to which each of them does or does not exist directly contributes or detracts from our ultimate level of success. It can be thought of as an equation with variable components.

Start with Aptitude, the most obvious component of the equation. Without the proper skills and know-how (Aptitude) to complete a task, we are left scratching our head and frustrated. Think of a kid on her birthday receiving her first shiny, new bike. She has the determination and excitement (Attitude) to ride her new wheels (Available Resources), but she lacks the skill and ability (Aptitude) to go whizzing down the street as she envisions. After two or three wipeouts, you end up with a frustrated little birthday girl.

Just as crucial to the equation is having the Available Resources to complete the task. Think of the last time your team at work had a great idea or new approach to accomplishing success—but you lacked the budget, time, or people power to execute it. You had the capacity to figure out a new solution (Aptitude), the drive and confidence to make it a reality (Attitude), but lacked the money or people (Available Resources) to pull it off. Not a fun place to be in, by any stretch of the imagination.

As managers, and people, we are comfortable and see the need to focus on Aptitude and Available Resources. When things aren’t working in the office, managers are often very willing to train people in new skills or throw more money at the problem. However, it’s the middle part of the Success Equation—the keystone if you will—that most people tend to overlook, forget about, or outright ignore. Attitude refers to things like the drive, confidence, focus, chutzpah, enthusiasm, grit, determination, need, desire, fortitude, and inspiration to accomplish the task at hand. Although difficult to measure and manage, without the right Attitude, having only the Aptitude and Available Resources will get you nowhere. Unfortunately, managers often say things like, “why can’t people just do their jobs and leave all that other stuff at home.” Well, people don’t “leave all that other stuff at home” because as humans, we can’t. Understandably, many managers wish that this was not the case, because managing would be immensely easier if people could really “check their emotions at the door.” We get it, and, unfortunately, it’s not possible. Think of the times your work day has been affected because you were ill, or you had a fight with a family member. This doesn’t even include the events that happen at work. When rumors of a downsizing start in an organization, how many people are able to completely check their emotional reaction to the news and focus 100% on their work? Not many. So, for better or worse, managers have to accept that our Attitude affects our Level of Success, and focusing on it is more than “a nice thing to do.” Like it or not, Attitude is hardwired into the Success Equation for humans, and not just as a variable on the periphery. Attitude is perhaps the most vital component in the entire equation, and focusing on it is a manager’s business imperative.

Hardline business people are often most comfortable thinking of this in terms of sporting analogies. Anyone who has played sports has probably been told at one time or another to “get your head in the game,” “focus,” “get psyched up,” or “don’t think that you can’t beat these guys!” Sports coaches know that the confidence, drive, and determination (the Attitude) of their athletes can make all the difference between playing and winning.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

1 Getting the Best from Employees 1

The Success Equation 2

Using This Book to Coach Successfully 14

2 The What, Why, and When of Coaching 17

What Is the Tool of Coaching? 19

Coaching versus Therapy 26

When to Coach and When Not to Coach 28

To Coach or Not to Coach—Case Studies 33

3 How to Coach and W.I.N. B.I.G.! 45

The Coaching Process 46

Coaching Questions 49

The W.I.N. B.I.G. Coaching Formula 58

Coaching Frequently Asked Questions 79

4 The Tenets of Coaching 85

Coaching Mindset 88

Coaching Actions 88

Coaching Tricks of the Trade 89

The Seven Tenets of Coaching Mindset 90

The Seven Tenets of Coaching Actions 102

The Seven Tenets of Coaching Tricks of the Trade 111

5 How Do I Use This Book? 125

Using This Book as a Resource to Coach Employees and Colleagues 127

Using the Book as a Tool to Give to Employees to Kick-Off and/or Support Coaching 133

Using This Book as a Tool to Coach Yourself 135

6 W.I.N. B.I.G. Questions for Specific Coaching

Situations 141

Interpersonal Problems 149

Motivation 153

Time Management 158

Dealing with Conflict 162

Clarifying Goals 167

(Lack of) Available Resources 171

Developmental Opportunities 175

Life Balance 180

Conflicting Priorities 184

Delegation 189

Increasing Confidence 193

7 W.I.N. B.I.G. Questions for Any Coaching Situation 199

Wonder about Root Cause—Discovery 200

Investigate Wants—Vision 203

Name Possible Solutions—Problem Solving 207

Build a Plan—Action 210

Insure Action—Accountability 214

Give Affirmation—Validate 218

Index 223

About the Authors 229

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Savvy manual teaches managers how to coach

    This tremendously useful book by two seasoned executive coaches, Anne Loehr and Brian Emerson, expertly explains what coaching is, how it functions and how managers can learn to put it to work to improve employees' productivity and morale. Although every member of your staff is surely pumping hard to stay employed, get ahead and do well, many people may be unaware of attitudes or behaviors that are holding them back or jeopardizing their careers. That's where a good coach plays a crucial role. The authors delve into coaching's methods, explain its benefits, and offer thoughtful instructions and examples. The last third of the book is devoted to specific questions to ask while coaching. How you'll react to the writing style, which is generally clear and serviceable, depends on if you think that "coachee" is a real word and that "everyone does their work" is good enough on the grammar front. Either way, getAbstract heartily recommends this straightforward, practical book to managers who want to be productive coaches.

    To learn more about this book, check out the following link: http://www.getabstract.com/summary/14459/a-managers-guide-to-coaching.html

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2011

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