Using 1:1 meetings to coach

Modern organizations expect managers to coach their team and managers do not (and cannot) have all the right answers.

The art of coaching is to make the team members figure out the problems and solutions on their own.

One-on-one meetings provide best opportunities for the manager to coach the team members.

4 key areas that a manager should focus on, to effectively coach during the one-on-one meetings:

Current state

A manager should ask how the team member perceives the current state with respect to his or her performance against the objectives.

By seeking the how the employee perceives the current state, a manager provides an anchor for the team member to open up and share. Also, the manager can calibrate rest of the discussion accordingly.

A manager should never use one-on-one for merely asking status around a set of tasks or objectives.

Success state

Success state is the ideal state of what success "means" to the team member in relation to the tasks or objectives on hand.

With the help of current and success states, a manager can assess the gap of what it takes for the team member to achieve the desired performance.


Initiatives are set of actions taken by the team members towards achieving their desired success state in relation to the set of tasks or objectives on hand.

Discussing initiatives with team members is a very rewarding and fulfilling experience for the managers as they can gauge the excitement, motivation, will, commitment and bias-for-action from the team members.


Blockers are the set of issues and problems the team members currently facing in achieving their desired success state.

Many a times, problems or issues faced by team members can be solved with alternatives which they simply haven't thought about, yet.

A good manager brings focus back to the underlying real issues faced by the team members and helps them to unlock their creativity in finding alternative solutions.

Wait! Before you go!

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