Your organization is engaged in delivering a structured approach to leadership development, talent management and coaching. Delivering and receiving coaching is an essential management skill set necessary to help everyone improve, especially top talent.

Consider what it would take for you to become a more consistent, effective and respected coach for all of your direct reports and people within your span of responsibility. To begin, it is important to recognize that the single greatest contributing factor to achieving successful outcomes by virtually every measure is your talent and demonstrated ability as the person in charge.

How do leaders develop the most consistent and accurate coaching plan for their direct reports to most benefit from an essential coaching skill set of delivering and receiving coaching?

There are 7 steps for coaches to follow. They are:

These 7 steps are detailed in this Roadmap tool. Instructions are provided for the coach to provide an estimation. In addition, there are 3 macro elements for an organization to adopt a high performance culture of coaching.

1. The evaluation process (it must be as objective and evidenced based as possible).
2. The reporting format (needs to be both prescriptive and personalized).
3. The discipline of having frequent and periodic coaching follow-up sessions. (Quarterly, monthly, bi-weekly, weekly as necessary)

Coaching Roadmap Variables


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Determine Overall Complexity of the Assignment (degree of difficulty):

Determine Overall Demonstrated Leadership Ability Level:

Determine Overall Performance Level:

Select (3) Demonstrated Leadership Strengths:

Select (3) Deficiencies/Development Challenges:

Frequency of Coaching Session Based Upon Need and Overall Performance:

Appropriate Coaching Style for this Conversation:

High Degree of Difficulty (referred to as H3): Defined as having all three Management challenges:

  • High span of responsibility (total # of people)
  • High financial, revenue and/or operational responsibility ($$$)
  • High customer/patient responsibility (quality, safety, service)

Note: At the Vice President and C-Suite level, the Degree of Difficulty is always high due to the overall level of responsibility the role requires. A majority of leaders serve as front-line managers and directors.


Excelling: Leader/manager is a high achieving and talented performer that consistently exceeds expectations and achieves superior outcomes/results by virtually every measure.

Succeeding: Leader/manager is a good and consistent performer that meets expectations and achieves good outcomes/results the majority of the time.

Struggling: Leader/manager is an inconsistent performer that meets expectations and achieves good outcomes/results some of the time.

Failing: Leader/manager is a poor performer that rarely meets expectations and achieves below average outcomes/results most of the time.

Identify the leadership strengths demonstrated by the leader. Strengths should be a dominant focus of your coaching relationship. Constantly consider observed and demonstrated strengths within the following categories:

Reference the following list of leadership strengths. Please rank the top 3 dominant strengths demonstrated by this leader. If only 1 or 2 strengths can be identified, that is fine. Use 'Other' to list a strength not listed but demonstrated by or observed of this leader.

  • Resources related: Has the organization provided the tools, equipment, resources and financial support to be successful?
  • Skill/competency related: Does the person demonstrate a degree of mastery with the skills and overall competency to be successful?
  • Experience/maturity: Does the person demonstrate the overall level of experience and maturity to be successful?
  • Behavioral Style/EQ: Does the person demonstrate the self-awareness, manage their behavioral style intensities and emotional intelligence to be successful?
  • Talent of direct reports: Has the person hired or appointed effective management capability within their span of responsibility?
  • Personal issues: Does the person have any personal issues that are emotionally limiting their ability to focus and be effective?

Regular and ongoing communications is important for coaching to be effective. It is not effective to simply meet once per year. If the leader/manager is performing well (succeeding or excelling), formal coaching can be on a quarterly to monthly basis to reinforce good business practices, provide assistance with current issues and contribute to growth and professional development. If the person is performing poorly (struggling to failing), coaching must be more frequent.

The coaching plan may require contact on a weekly basis. If the person being coached needs "partnering" (assistance to do their day to day work), an evaluation must be performed to determine if the person can perform in the role as expected. Remember, partnering to help people with day-to-day management responsibilities is not sustainable. The result can lead to sub-optimizing of the coaches' performance.

Consider how many formal coaching conversations regarding a specific deficiency or challenge you have had with the person you are coaching. AND, consider how often you are going to meet with the person quarterly to follow up on progress?

The selected frequency could impact which style of coaching conversation will be most appropriate to use in your coaching sessions.

  • Formal session quarterly with monthly informal sessions
  • Formal monthly sessions
  • Formal monthly sessions with occasional informal sessions
  • Formal weekly sessions

Consider the following 3 coaching styles and select the most appropriate for this conversation.

Sympathetic/relational: Are you perceived as being caring, trusting, compassionate and understanding with the challenges that the person is facing? Remember to ask questions with genuine inquiry, listen attentively, be conscious of your body language, facial expressions, and choose your words carefully to have the most beneficial impact. The guideline to follow here is to have the person feel that you are being empathetic, understanding and recognized as a trusted advisor.

Collaborative: Are you essentially sitting "side by side" with the person, asking questions and exploring optional strategies and tactics to work through the challenges? The guideline here is to resist outright "telling" the person what to do, have them feel that they are contributing to the design of the improvement initiative and for you to be recognized as the experienced mentor/coach to approach for feedback and advice.

Direct/authoritative: Are you crystal clear and level headed with your communication to where people will understand that the issues being discussed are serious, demands immediate attention and requires ownership and responsibility? The guideline here is to avoid excessive emotion and to demonstrate "tough love". You clearly care about the person but you are not going to care for them by letting them deflect their responsibility.