Focus and Challenges of Coaching

In a previous publication, we explained how coaching could be understood. Now, we will cover the focus and challenges related to coaching.


Sometimes as leaders or as managers, we wonder: what should the focus of the coaching be to support the development of my associate? This is what we learned. Usually the focus of the coaching is:

  1. Developing a skill in the associate.
  2. Filling a gap in the associate.
  3. Achieving a goal with the associate.
  4. Supporting the learning of Agility of the associate (staying flexible, growing from mistakes and successfully responding to challenges).

Now, to support the range of focus alternatives, usually coaches will need strong competencies in:

  1. Holding coaching conversations: both “in the moment” and informal, scheduled sessions.
  2. Listening and questioning effectively: encouraging reflection, listening, asking questions, and sharing input during coaching conversations.
  3. Giving constructive feedback: to motivate and stretch others—and close performance gaps.
  4. Promoting agility: guiding and advocating transparency, inspection and adaptation while generating self-organizing teams and confident individuals.


People’s Mindset

The individuals that are part of the organizational teams are so different and diverse that we will come across those with a fixed mentality and those with a growth mentality.

The first ones, view skills and intelligence as predetermined and consider their success as a result of how smart they are. Fixed mentality individuals can be hard to coach. The learning of agility can become more challenging for them. The second type of individuals, conceives that with practice and support, they can develop and grow their abilities. Growth mentality individuals will require a coach with strong listening and questioning capacity as well as capable of giving constructive feedback. Frequent conversations will allow them to flourish and incorporate more learnings to develop their abilities.

Building Trust

Associates will allow you to coach them if they trust you. Usually they will trust you if they know they are safe to explore their perceived limitations and missteps. To build trust:

  1. Follow through on what you say you are going to do.
  2. Show appreciation for each team member and their contributions.
  3. Take shared responsibility for success and failures.
  4. Admit when you are wrong and correct your mistakes.

Coaching takeaway…

  1. Great coaches will have a clear focus to support the development of the associate.
  2. Learning of agility means being able to stay flexible, grow from mistakes, and respond to challenges.
  3. Key challenges can be people’s mindset and associate level of trust towards us.

Nastasha Velasco

Agile Growth and Performance Development in Tech & Social Impact Organizations.

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