5 Coaching Tips for Internal Coaches From Internal Coaches

I asked a team of internal coaches, “What advice would you give aspiring coaches?” These are people who navigate traditional job responsibilities and coach employees as well.


I’ve been working with some of the team for a little over a year. Others have been part of the process for about six months. Many have been internal coaches for several years.

I asked them to reflect on their whole coaching experience and offer advice to internal coaches.

5 coaching tips for internal coaches from internal coaches:

#1. Stay curious.

  1. Sincere forward-facing curiosity drives the coaching process. You aren’t a therapist digging into the past.
  2. Resist the temptation to give quick suggestions. You know the answer for you. Be curious about the answer for them.
  3. Develop a few go-to questions.
    • Tell me more about that.
    • What’s the next step?
    • And what else?

#2. Be honest with your feelings.

  1. When something doesn’t feel right, say, “Something doesn’t feel right. I’m wondering about … ?
  2. Hot emotion often indicates your inner control freak is trying to control someone.
  3. “It feels to me like you’re getting frustrated. What’s going on for you?”

(You might like to know these suggestions come from scientists and technical consultants.)

#3. Be direct.

  1. Say what you see. When there is hesitation, success, low/high energy,  lack of follow-through, or inconsistency, point it out.
  2. Know you’re helping. Remember that direct feedback is the feedback that most helped you.
  3. Prepare coachees by saying, “I’m going to give you very direct feedback.”
  4. Explore the difference between intention and impact. Most people don’t intend to shoot themselves in the foot.

#4. Practice patience.

Coaching is a process.

  1. Don’t coach when issues are pressing.
  2. Patience applies when you see progress.
  3. Lack of progress indicates it’s time to change something.

#5. Be timely. Coach in the moment. Don’t wait two weeks for the coaching appointment.

Which suggestions seem most important to you? Why?

What advice might you give internal coaches?