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


Hi Mohamad fahim,

We have several pages on modal verbs in our Grammar Section. You can find them here. You can also use the links on those pages to find other areas of grammar you might want to study.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I am surprised at the 4th answer in the 4th task.My English teacher told me that when the word 'need' is used as a modal verb,it's 'need do';when used as a verb,it's 'need to do'.So,which is the right answer?

Hi i am sabir from azerbajan If you want to improve your English you have to correspond

Hello Angela Vicky,

'Need' is an example of what we often call a 'semi-modal'. That means a verb which has a modal meaning but has only some features of full modal verbs. Other examples include 'dare', 'ought to' and 'used to'. You can read more about semi-modal verbs here.

The form 'need + infinitive' is disappearing from modern English and is seen as archaic today, including the question form [need + subject + infinitive], which has largely been replaced by [Do + subject + need + to infinitive].

It is an example of the language changing over time.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I have difficulty with the 5th question in task 1.I know the 5th paragraph talks about what a coach should do,but why the first answer is wrong?Besides,what does the second answer mean?Thank you very much.

Hello Angela Vicky,

The first answer is not wrong as such, but the task asks you to choose the best option and the paragraph is more focused on the purpose and goals of coaching rather than how to achieve them - and this is the meaning of the second answer.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Good practice. it allowed me to know how was my reading comprehension

I want learn speak in english and develop my skills.Please, could you show me how can I browse this site and instructions? Thank you

Hello player one,

I'd recommend you first visit our Getting started and Frequently asked questions pages. There you can find advice on how to use LearnEnglish to improve your speaking and vocabulary, for example. After reading those pages, if you still don't know where to start, I'd recommend Elementary Podcasts series 3 as a good place to begin, though please don't hesitate to ask us for more advice.

Good luck!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Task 4 so difficult to me. I don't understand.
Please tell me when i use -ing or invinitive . -ing must be plural or else?
Thank you