Authors and Consultants | GP Strategies Corporation

What Do You Do with Outcomes?—Coaching


Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

In our previous blogs in this series, we’ve discussed what to do with outcomes. Namely,

  • Train people to produce them with the right skills and knowledge
  • Equip people to produce them by supplying the right tools, processes, and information
  • Hire people either experienced in producing those outcomes or with the perceived potential to do so

In this post, we’ll look at perhaps the most powerful use of outcomes—as a focal point for coaching people to improve their performance.

Any cursory search will yield hundreds, if not thousands, of coaching programs. Most share a few basic tenets:

  • Emphasize the positive
  • Build a relationship
  • Focus on specific areas of improvement

The emphasis of these well-intentioned programs is the same: learning how to coach. In other words, they provide techniques and approaches for coaching well.

But all of them share the same gap. None of them helps you know what to coach on: what the target performance and the specific underlying actions that need to be improved are.

That’s where the outcomes approach can complement any coaching program. Note that we say complement, not replace. Good coaching techniques and approaches are absolutely necessary. But so too are coaching targets.

Consider the four possible combinations of coaching techniques and targets:

  1. Poor techniques with no targets
  2. Good techniques with no targets
  3. Poor techniques with good targets
  4. Good techniques with good targets

Common sense says that number 4 will have the best impact on your organization.

Question to ponder:

  • Which of the four combinations typifies your organization?
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