Coaching Your Beginners

HCer* Kevin Eikenberry wrote a good article yesterday on the basics of coaching. His advice is terrific for every new supervisor, and as a reminder to those embattled managers who have been at it for a while, and may need to reconnect with their sense of empathy when they are coaching those who they think of as ‘beginners.’

Kevin offers these suggestions:

  1. Don’t assume anything
  2. Tell people why
  3. Be patient
  4. Space feedback out
  5. Reduce their risk

I encourage you to click over and read the examples and how Kevin expands on each point: It’s Not Easy Being Green: Five Keys to Better Coaching of Beginners.

In regard to number 4., we have recently learned about the great retention value in spaced repetition, remember?

"Spaced repetition is a learning technique where you don’t learn something in just one sitting. You’re exposed to the information periodically over time, so that it sinks in."

"Some people call spaced repetition behavioral conditioning or internal reinforcement. My good friend John Haggai calls it ‘the mother of all skills’ and ‘the mother of permanent change.’ That’s because one statement makes little if any permanent impact on someone. It has to be repeated over and over again. Not immediately, but after a period of time for reflection."
~ Phil Murray within Know Can Do! Put your Know-How into Action

Number 2. is another I would emphasize; the sooner someone knows all of the why connected to their work, the sooner you will be able to draw out their initiative and creativity that may be stimulated by that particular task involved – a win/win for everyone. When someone is new at something they will alway have the greatest amount of energy with it: As a coach and manager, you are wise to capitalize on that flavor of freshness before any routine and automatic pilot creeps in.

Here is an article from the MWA Coaching archives about digging deep into those whys:

The power of questioning: Ask “Why?” Five Times

When you read it, you will meet another great coach,  Timothy Johnson, author of two books, and Chief Accomplishment Officer of Carpe Factum, Inc.

*You may have noticed that I use the acronym “HCer” at times to refer to the Ho‘ohana Community. Make yourself known as an HCer: Stand up and be counted! Join up on this page.

Photo credit for "It’s not easy being green" ~ Kermit Looms found on Flickr by Brendan Adkins


  1. says

    Sunday Mālama: Know Can Do! ~ Part Two

    We are trading up in our Know Can Do! study and learning plan! The coaching technique is that we give ourselves spaced repetition with our learning, by periodically introducing seemingly new ideas which actually serve to repeat and reinforce what

  2. says

    Managers: Are You Teaching? Know Can Do!

    I spent most of my day yesterday newly creating a class that I have now given dozens of times since MWA was published. The task could have been done in less than a half hour versus the six it took