Coaching and Counseling 

Definition of Coaching: A directive process by a manager to train and orient an employee to the realities of the workplace and to help the employee remove barriers to optimum work performance. According to Berry and Fehrmann (1993), it is the process of developing employees by providing them with opportunities to develop their skills and experience while ensuring they receive continuous feedback, counseling, and follow up.

Definition of Counseling: A supportive process facilitated by a manager to help an employee define and work through personal problems that affect job performance.


  • Determine whether it is working well to follow an individual’s coaching preferences. There may be times when you need to change your approach. For example, people might say they will come to you when they need help, but they don’t and they continue to have problems. This is an example of when you should intervene rather than wait for a request for help.

  • Regularly talk about your development with others. Let them know what you are working on. Invite feedback and coaching from others. Make it easy for them to talk with you about how you are doing.

  • Pay attention to when people are most open to discussion and how they like to structure it. Some people tend to be more open to conversations in the morning, others later in the day. Some people prefer informal conversations; others like to prepare.

  • As a coach, you want to identify the root cause, not the end result. For instance, you may maximize your coaching efforts by ensuring that you focus on the root cause of an employee’s area of weakness, rather than just the surface-level issue. For example, an employee with poor communication skills may have an underlying weakness—such as a lack of product knowledge—that you must make sure to address, rather than just focusing on improving his/her communication skills.

  • Don’t forget to analyze external factors (e.g., systematic problems, lack of resources) that may influence the person’s performance.

Self-Directed Learning Activities

Relevant Readings:


  • Fournies, F. F. (1987). Coaching for improved work performance. Liberty House.

  • Minor, M. (2002). Coaching and counseling a practical guide for managers and team leaders. Crisp Learning.

  • Peterson, D. B., & Hicks, M. D. (1996). Leader as coach. Personnel Decisions Inc.

  • Whitworth, L. (2007).Co-active coaching: New skills for coaching people toward success in work and life. Davies-Black Publishing.


Guided-Learning Activities


  • Identify someone who you may be a coach to, ask him/her how you can be most helpful to them. Ask for examples of when you and others have been effective or helpful as coaches. Also, find out what he/she does not like in a coach.

  • If possible, ask your supervisor or someone you identify as a coach to work through the 7-step Coaching Model (handout) with you. If it is not possible, identify someone you may be a coach to and work through the 7-Step Coaching Model together.

  • If possible, askyour supervisor or someone you identify as a coach to work together and develop a coaching plan. See handout (Coaching Plan Guidelines (PDF)) on suggestions for creating a coaching plan and a coaching plan template.

Formal Training/Education

School and Course Module:

  • Laramie Country Community College

MGT 1500 3 CREDITS LEADERSHIP ESSENTIALS Students develop performance-based competencies and skills needed to prepare for leadership positions in today's workplace. Topics explored include leadership communication, conflict resolution, employee and self development, change management, coaching, managing performance problems, and team building. Students develop action plans for transitioning the skills discussed during class into the workplace.

CNSL 2300 3 CREDITS COUNSELING SKILLS FOR HELPING PROFESSIONALS Students discuss and apply basic counseling and communication skills. In addition, students develop and demonstrate a command of basic skills including listening, responding, encouraging, and initiating change in interpersonal communication through mediation and conflict resolution.

  • Central Wyoming College

Counseling-2300: This course presents instruction and practice in basic counseling and communication skills. It emphasizes listening, responding, encouraging, and initiating change in interpersonal communication through mediation and conflict resolution. (3 lect.)

Online Courses: