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


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

It's really useful since I need to improve my reading skill.
In the first task I need to read the text again and answer the questions.

Thank you for Learn English team.

I visited a lot of online learning sessions but this one is very nice, I see myself improving.
Thanks a lot!

Good informations

Hi Team Learn English,

Can you please suggest me some pages where I can learn and clearly understand the tenses and practice them for proper usage? I tend to get confused especially when I get to use perfect tense.

Hello Iswarya,

The Verbs section in our English Grammar has a lot about the different tenses and how they are used. You'll also find a few relevant pages in our Quick Grammar. You could also use the search box (at the top right of every page) to search for a specific tense, but I think starting in one of the two sections I mentioned would be best.

Please note that most people need lots of practice reading and writing in addition to studying grammar explanations. In other words, it's unusual for someone to understand how to use tenses properly just from reading explanations - it's also important to pay attention to how tenses are used in texts that you read or listen to.

Please let us know if you have any specific questions in the comments on any of those pages.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


Thanks you for exercies, it was funny

Here I scored 100% in first three tasks but dropped to 63% and here I find I am weak in 'infinitive construction' and tremendously I got some guesses of Its usage that whenever there is an induction of need or refuse or something like this in a sentence or clause then we may use to+verb. Thanks for this great website.

Hi thank you for your site..
I don't know about the grammar in English .I hope that you help me to improve my language . we have read a lot of model verbs in high school but we did understand about different between these verbs..i want to ask the first question:
Is there any difference between have to”, “must”, and “should”?