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Five Steps for Great Coaching Conversations

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”- Maya Angelou

The pandemic has caused the biggest disruption most of us have ever faced. We’ve worked from home, become Zoom and Teams experts and home schooled while being resourceful, resilient and mindful. Now that things are looking more hopeful, we will all have to consider how to create a work environment, virtual or face- to-face, that is engaging, supportive and effective.

When the pandemic began, many of us perceived working virtually as an asset: to be able to keep connected with one another while delivering business. However, I have recently heard comments about how meetings (one -to-one or in teams) are becoming frustrating, tiresome, and non-productive. They are scheduled back-to-back, with no time to think and even less time to reflect, to the point of switching our cameras off so we can multi-task.

These habits have created patterns of communication that are at best perfunctory and at worst, a waste of time. These ineffective and meaningless meetings lead to lack of clarity, misunderstandings, poor discussion or debate, increased conflict, low team morale and stress.

We need to review the purpose and efficacy of meetings we lead. At the same time, we need to examine how we are showing up in meetings and be prepared to change. Regardless of whether we are working from home or not, it’s time to act on how we communicate with each other. The benefits of good communication cannot be overstated:

• positive team culture,

• job satisfaction,

• healthy motivated staff,

• business success,

• great work-based relationships,

• trust.

How to develop great coaching conversations

Developing a non-directive, coaching approach will bring you numerous benefits. Not only will it help you communicate more effectively with clients, staff and stakeholders, but you will enhance your work-based relationships and, as a result, you will create a positive work environment.

Usually, any change we desire starts with ourselves. These are five steps that will help you start having great coaching conversations:

1. Develop insight and understanding about our own communication style. Often our frame of reference, informs our style. That is, the beliefs we hold about ourselves, others and the organisation. We hold unhelpful assumptions and judgements and we need to develop techniques to identify and challenge these thought patterns.

2. Recognise people’s behaviours or situations that we find tricky. We can be fearful about how we impact on others or how they react to us and this interferes with how we feel and then how we act. We can learn and practice alternative strategies.

3. Learn the skills to have a coaching conversation. The primary skill required for an effective conversation is listening. How present are we with each other? We need to be honest about what interferes with our ability to listen, from our inner thoughts to our external environment (at home/virtual working). After that it’s about asking great questions that help enrich the conversation.

4. Understand what coaching is and learn a coaching model that helps you frame your conversations. This gives you a direction of travel for any conversation and a way to ensure that you and the other person are on track.

5. Create a healthy work environment by developing great work-based relationships through having mindful and rich coaching conversations

It seems timely to review how we are working together: to create organisations that nurture staff, deliver results and make a difference and demonstrate that we can change and learn from adversity and come back even better.

If you would like to explore this topic with a member of the Taylor Clarke team and how we may be able to help you, please contact


Mairi is an experienced learning and development consultant and accredited coach. Her specialist interest is helping individuals and teams to understand themselves and others with a view to building effective work based relationships where performance flourishes. She believes that using the coaching approaches enable all staff to have great conversations at work and build collaborative working alliances. This in turn can lead to positive work environments.


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