Empower employees through purposeful coaching

Jonathan Mills
3 min readApr 21, 2024


“The development of an individual to his or her highest level of performance can be seen as a journey of empowerment” (Ken Blanchard et al, The 3 Keys to Empowerment)

Coaching is about enhancing performance, not scolding team members for doing wrong or badly in the execution of their duties. The intent needs to be authentic to avoid resistance to any coaching attempts. Coaching is a journey that a manager undertakes with an employee to bring out the best possible results from the employee’s contribution. The journey focuses on the potential of the person and seeks to empower the employee to think in news ways about growth, development, and achievement. As Emmit Smith notes: “We are all born naked into this world, but each of us is fully clothed in potential.” Coaching is thus transformative in nature — it empowers the employee to believe in his or her potential, to envision excellence, and to put plans in place to improve.

Of course, low performance needs to be addressed with employees. Confrontation of poor performance needs to be firm on the standards that need to be achieved but also compassionate with the human condition. Coaching thus should be balanced, focused on the performance ideals, and encouraging with respect to the employee’s potential. When coaching for better performance, therefore, the following guidelines from Free To Grow’s Coach 2 Excel workshop apply:

  1. Do not ignore low performance — the team needs to see the manager’s concern about excellence and anything or anyone that hinders achieving great results. The manager should address the behaviour of the low-performer directly and not lay the problem at the feet of an entire team when the fault lies with one person.
  2. Obtain and provide information — gather information from the employee and in turn respond to the employee’s need to receive information. Give the low performer an opportunity to explain his or her side of the story.
  3. Agree on performance standards — clarify and establish development goals that will enable the employee to reach the agreed performance standards. With the employee, develop an action plan that lays out steps that can be used to rectify past mistakes and set a course for positive development.
  4. Implement corrective measures — the employee should take responsibility to act and be accountable to the manager. Proactivity is key if an employee is to raise performance to an acceptable standard.
  5. Refer the employee to the resources needed to improve performance — tools (people or processes) that will give the employee the opportunity to improve. This may involve referral to someone external to the organisation or to a team member to help with the issues at hand.
  6. Make sure that you give appropriate feedback — focus on the behaviour, not the person. Always remain specific for the sake of clarity.
  7. Re-evaluate the employee — the manager should re-assess the employee to determine the extent to which the planned improvement did take place. Focus on the opportunities for improvement and achievement rather than the faults in the employee.

Empower employees through coaching purposefully. Relate all coaching efforts to the goals of the team and to the purpose and the desired future results of the organisation. Show all employees the respective parts they have to play and their potential to exceed expectations.

Free To Grow offers the workshop, Coach 2 Excel, to assist managers with coaching skills to enhance employee performance.

Originally published at https://www.stretchforgrowth.com on April 21, 2024.



Jonathan Mills

Jonathan has spent over 30 years focusing his efforts on developing people throughout the world. He believes that people have the most impact when stretched.