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 Dyan,

Whether a gerund or infinitive is needed is not dependent on whether it is singular or plural. The verb which comes before it is the key: some verbs are followed by infinitives, some by gerunds and some by either. For more information, see these pages:

verbs followed by -ing

verbs followed by to + infinitive


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I dont understand task 3, question numer 2 and 3:
For number 2: is is possible to have an answer is "an individual or a team" instead? The content of paragraph 2 showed that.
For question number 3: why it must be a "listen" skill but not "observation"? Can show me clearly which paragraph mentioned about it please! Im bad at doing reading test
Thank you so much

Hello ngochanisme,

For number 2, I think you're right. I've changed the correct answers so that what you suggest is also correct. For number 3, I'd say the first sentence of paragraph 5 is the clearest indication of the correct answer, though it's true that other answers might be correct here as well.

It sounds to me like you're a careful reader – we're certainly grateful that you took the time to point out what you thought were mistakes. Keep up the good work!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

The very same question arises when I'm going through the answers because I too imagined it in that way when answering the questions but all of them were wrong.i was little surprised

Hello Nethmi,

If there is a particular question you'd like to ask about then we'll be happy to try to explain. We can't go through all of the questions, however, as that would take a very long time!


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

hello everyone!
I tried quite a few times to complete the task #3, but couldn't do it. can you kindly help me up?

best regards

Hello Ambitious learner,

After you press Check Answers, you can press a button called Show Answers, which will show you what you needed to fill in the gaps with. That said, I just tried this task myself, and some of the answers are not found in the text, so this is an exercise we'll need to look at and probably change. Therefore I'd suggest you just ignore it for now and continue on with another task.

Sorry about the confusion and thanks for reporting this to us!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, when
I open Grammer,
I can not see anythings. Just 2 empty pages.
Don't we have learning of Grammer by this website?

Hello 1361,

The tags (the little green boxes) at the bottom of the page don't work as links. I'd recommend our Grammar & Vocabulary home page as a place to begin exploring what we have on grammar. You can also search for grammar by using the search box (the small magnifying glass on the top right of the page). If you can't find what you're looking for, please ask and we'll guide you.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

To be coached to do things better is an awesome experience. It is a great opportunity to get to know yourself better, to get feedback on your performance, and to be shown the ways to improve.

However, my opinion is in today's highly specialized world, it can be extremely difficult to find an ideal coach. An ideal coach is one who understands the industry well enough, who is good at reading people, who knows theories and also not lack of practical experience, who is articulated and able to put what in his mind into words, and finally, who is willing to share all he has with you. It is only too rare for anybody to possess all these necessities. Furthermore, the very few who meet all these criteria are most likely professional experts rather than industry coaches. Being professional experts usually means they belong to particular companies or firms. This makes it extremely hard for them to coach people from other companies.