Best Practice in Performance Coaching


Coaching is a learning and development process that helps to improve performance. Coaching aims at releasing an individual’s potential so as to maximize his or her performance. It improves the coacher’s skills and raises his or her awareness. The main types of coaching include sports, life, career, executive, and performance coaching among others. Coaching is instrumental in meeting organizational needs and objectives, developing individual potential, supporting improvement in performance, and enabling organizational change (Wilson, 2007).

Models of Coaching

Scholars in human resource development have developed coaching models to provide an understanding of the purpose and process of implementing coaching interventions. The most widely used models of coaching include SOS, FLOW, GROW, and OSKAR models. This paper discusses the GROW and OSKAR models of coaching. John Whitmore coined and advanced the GROW model (Wilson, 2007). The acronym GROW comes from the words goal, reality, options, and will respectively. The model proposes a four-stage coaching strategy involving the establishment of specific, measurable, and realistic goals, the examination of the prevailing reality, consideration of the available options, and the establishment of will or actions to be taken (Wilson, 2007).

Paul Z. Jackson and Mark McKergow developed the OSKAR model in 2000 (Wilson, 2007). The letters in the word OSKAR stand for the outcome, scale, know, affirm, and action and review. The model suggests that coaching should start with the establishment of the outcome to be achieved, and consideration of the current position in relation to the set outcomes (Wilson, 2007). The coach and the coach then determine the skills, knowledge, attributes, and resources needed, act and provide reinforcement and ultimately review the outcome of coaching.

Benefits of Coaching

The benefits of coaching vary depending on the person. Some scholars report that coaching brings about self-awareness to an individual. Coaching instills and strengthens self-management skills in the coach. Coaching is also vital in building relationships. Indeed, building relationships is one of the primary reasons for coaching. Effective coaching enables people to have an objective view of the impact of their conduct and then take constructive measures to promote good relationships. Coaching is also valuable to individuals who need to develop their leadership skills or are in transition. It boosts their confidence to take up new responsibilities (Wilson, 2007).

The potential benefits of coaching to an organization revolve around three themes, business outcomes, people, and relationships and behaviors. Coaching increases an employee’s confidence and self-awareness of his or her role in the prosperity of the company and his or her colleagues. With coaching, individuals become more aligned to and engaged in the objectives and strategic goals of the organization. Coaching also enhances the achievement of strong corporate and social relationships within an organization (Wilson, 2007).

Differences between Coaching and Training and Mentoring

Mentoring is the process of shaping a person’s values and beliefs in a positive manner (Brockbank, 2006). It is often a long term engagement with someone who has excelled before. Coaching and mentoring vary in length, focus, and structure of the relationship. Coaching is a short-term engagement while mentoring spans for a longer period. Coaching sessions are structured and more regular as compared to mentorship events which are informal and held when the need arises. Lastly, coaching programs focus on specific developmental aspects whereas mentorship sessions aim at enhancing personal and career development (Brockbank, 2006).

Training refers to the process of knowledge transfer. It involves telling, giving instructions, demonstrating, and open sharing of information. Training and coaching are extremes of the learning continuum. Training demands that a learner meet a one-size-fits-all standard established externally. Managers use training to equip learners with knowledge or skills. Organizations use external standards to measure the success of a training program. On the flipside, coaching uses internal resources to achieve individual development. In coaching, the coach acts as a facilitator while the coach raises issues when the need arises. Conversely, the trainer sets objectives for a training session. In addition, training sessions are pre-planned and structured while coaching relationships can be informal or formal (Brockbank, 2006).

Coaching and Organizational Objectives

Coaching is a fundamental component of effective change management and succession planning. The employee-manager resistance can be overcome through the implementation of effective coaching programs. Coupling change management with coaching provides a platform for the group and face-to-face meetings between supervisors and employees. This environment allows workers to make inquiries and get clarifications about change. In addition, the management gives employees a chance to air their concerns and worries about change. The management also collects information from the employees concerning the change and its management efforts (Rothwell, 2010).

The role of coaching in succession planning can hardly be underestimated. Leadership and executive coaching make succession plans successful. Coaching helps to succeed in high-potential leaders to comprehend and consolidate an organization’s development plans. It also empowers potential leaders to identify vital stakeholder relationships and develop strategies to strengthen them. Owing to the bumpy nature of transitions, the presence of a coach cuts the difference between the success and failure of new leadership (Rothwell, 2010).

Options for Developing a Coaching Culture

Organizations have three options in developing a coaching culture: internal coaching only, external coaching only, or blending both (Wilson, 2007). Internal coaching is the practice of recruiting coaches from within an organization. Individuals within an organization who have undergone coach training provide training services. In most cases, internal coaches deal with a wide range of fields. External coaching refers to the practice of hiring coaches from outside the organization. Companies with inadequate resources to finance internal coaching programs use external coaches. External coaches typically possess expertise and experience in organizational and business development, and organizational coaching (Wilson, 2007).

Advantages and Disadvantages of In-House Coaching

In-house coaching is the practice of using internal coaches to provide coaching services. An in-house coach is a very valuable practice for an organization. It offers line managers an opportunity to develop their leadership skills. Scholars argue that in-house coaching is more credible since the coach understands the organization and its culture. Finally, in-house coaching improves internal relationships. Provision of support enhances understanding and cooperation between the coach and the coach (Wilson, 2007).

Despite the mentioned advantages, in-house coaching activities do not always yield the envisioned objectives. First, in-house coaching raises confidentiality concerns. Since the internal coach is engaged in other allegiances and duties within the company, the confidentiality of matters deliberated on in the coaching sessions cannot be guaranteed. Most line managers have poor training skills due to a lack of relevant professional training.

This makes the coached hold in-house coaching with contempt. Lastly, in-house coaching experiences many budgetary hurdles in the course of implementation and evaluation. Given the drawbacks of in-house training, the development of internal coaches should be approached with great care. Internal coaches should be adequately trained, and guidelines on confidentiality strictly followed (Wilson, 2007).


Brockbank, A. (2006). Facilitating reflective learning through mentoring and coaching. London: Glasgow.

Rothwell, W. J., (2010). Effective succession planning: Ensuring leadership continuity and building talent from within. New York, NY: AMACOM.

Wilson, C. (2007). Best practice in performance coaching; A handbook for leaders, coaches, hr professionals and organizations. London: Kogan Page.

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