What is coaching? Here are the basic principles of coaching and what happens when somebody engages in a coaching partnership. Find out what a good coach does.

Read the text and then do the exercises.

An introduction to coaching

Coaching is a useful tool in today’s challenging world of business and commerce. Companies are downsizing, merging and restructuring and there is far more job transition than before. Sometimes managers are no longer equipped to do their work because their jobs have changed so much. They were originally trained to do one job but that training cannot be applied to the job they are doing today. Coaching is also one of the most powerful tools that a leader has in order to improve the performance of his team.

Coaching is a partnership between an individual or a team and a coach. For the purpose of this article we will refer to an individual but the concepts are exactly the same for a team. First of all the individual identifies his objectives. Then, through the process of being coached, he focuses on the skills he needs to develop to achieve those objectives. In professional coaching the individual begins by leading the conversation and the coach listens and observes. Gradually, as the coach begins to understand the individual’s goals, he will make observations and ask appropriate questions. His task is to guide the individual towards making more effective decisions and eventually achieving his objectives. Coaching looks at where the individual is now and where he wants to get to.

Between the initial interview and an individual achieving the goals he identified, there is a process in which the two parties meet for regular coaching sessions. The length of time each session lasts will be established at the start of the partnership. Between sessions an individual might be expected to complete specific tasks. A coach might also provide literature for the individual to study in preparation for the following session. Most coaches employ an “appreciative approach” whereby the individual identifies what is right, what is working, what is wanted and what is needed to get there. An appreciative approach focuses more on the positive rather than problems.

An individual who enters into a coaching partnership will usually adopt new perspectives and be able to better appreciate opportunities for self-development. Confidence will usually grow and the individual will think more clearly and be more confident in his roles. In terms of business, coaching often leads to an increase in productivity and more personal satisfaction. All of this leads to a growth in self-esteem.

In a coaching partnership the coach first needs to listen carefully in order to fully understand the individual’s situation. He needs to support and encourage forward-planning and decision-making. A coach also needs to help an individual recognise his own potential and the opportunities that are on offer. A good coach will guide an individual to fresh perspectives. Finally, the coach must respect the confidentiality of his partner.

Coaching can bring out the best in workers, highlighting what they can achieve if they are given the right support. Both individuals and teams can enjoy an increased level of motivation after receiving the right coaching. When individuals are keen to make progress in their jobs, they usually enjoy being coached and find the experience extremely useful.

Task 1

Comprehension – read the text and match the titles to the paragraphs.


Task 2

Vocabulary practice – do you know these verbs related to the business world? 


Task 3

Comprehension – put a suitable word in the gaps. Refer to the text if you need to.


Task 4

Grammar practice – Do you need a gerund or an infinitive? Put the verb given into the correct form.


Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2



In task 4, question no. 8:

8. The business risks..... clients. (lose)

the answer is "losing" so after risk (verb) is v-ing, isn't it?

Could someone explain this case? thanks in advance.


Yes, you've got the right idea. The verb 'risk' is often followed by a noun of some sort, and if there is a verb after it, the verb goes in the '-ing' form. You can see lots of useful examples in the dictionary and more verbs like this on this page.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

To my mind, the professional coaching helps the individual through the simple process of listening and observing to identify own goals and objectives being a member of a team, to focus on own skills he needs to develop in achieving objectives, to understand own goals. Obviously whereby the individual identifies what is right, what is working, what is wanted and what is needed to get there. The task of the individual is make observations and ask appropriate questions to be able make appropriate and effective decisions and eventually to achieve both as individual as collective goals and objectives basing in self-esteem and the right support of coaching.

Thank's for the lessons.

Coaching is a useful tools to help people to get more skills and to be professional in their work field.

Yes, whether an individual or a team, coaches or mentors to guide them to achieve their objectives. Of course, the coach should be a good listener that can help a team or an individual to make decision effectively.

Very nice article. I believe it is essential that managers at any business regularly get proper coaching to improve their productivity and make more contributions to their organisation.

useful article!

The article is clearly written and easy to understand. Also it's thoughtful. Thank you.
But I wonder how/where we can get this kind of coaching when we're working independently as a freelancer....which is me.


In paragraph 3, I would like to ask why we use "might be expected" or "might also provide" instead of "may"? Thanks!


Hello Alex,

I'm afraid I can't say why the writer chose 'might' over 'may' here, but I can tell you that you could use 'may' in either sentence with no change in meaning. 'may' tends to be used a little bit more in formal contexts and 'might' in informal ones, but really you can find both of them in both formal and informal texts, as we can see in this text, which is more formal than informal.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team