How To Develop a Coaching Plan For Your Team (Plus Example)

Updated February 3, 2023

A small team gathers to discuss strategy.

Coaching plans are a great way to establish long-term and short-term goals for employees while encouraging them to strengthen their skills and expertise. Managers, mentors or other coach figures can build these plans to help less experienced professionals improve. Whether you're an advanced professional or entry-level team member, consider learning about coaching plans so you can foster a positive and collaborative environment at work.

In this article, we discuss what a coaching plan is, outline why it's important and provide steps for how to create one on your own.

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What is a coaching plan?

A coaching plan is a strategy that managers develop to train and motivate employees and improve their performances. You can collaborate with each member of your team to develop goals for strengthening their skills and enhancing productivity. These objectives can lead them to advance in their role and contribute valuable work to the organization.

A typical coaching plan involves working closely with employees to establish both short- and long-term career goals. You can then conduct regular meetings to check on their progress and to find areas in which they can further improve. A strong coaching plan involves providing this employee with positive encouragement and feedback to motivate them to continue performing effectively.

Related: The Best Ways for Coaching an Employee in the Workplace

Why are coaching plans important?

Coaching plans are important for the following reasons:

  • They help employees to advance in their careers. Coaching plans help employees gain valuable feedback on how to improve in their roles. This can result in employees earning higher positions within the company and contributing impressive big-picture ideas and strategies that significantly benefit the organization.

  • They support employee performance. Coaching plans also allow you as a manager to provide constructive feedback on an employee's performance, which helps them better understand which parts of their role they need to improve on. This helps put an end to any negative work habits and encourages employees to correct any errors they make in their roles.

  • They foster collaboration. Coaching plans also strengthen your relationship with individual employees and with your entire department. In these situations, employees can feel comfortable approaching you with advice or feedback on complex projects or challenges they're encountering in their role.

  • They promote a positive work culture. Providing employees with regular coaching plans and encouragement to meet their career goals may lead them to motivate other team members as well. This makes your work environment more positive, enjoyable and collaborative for all employees.

Related: How To Set Goals as a Team: Steps and Examples

How to create a coaching plan

Evaluate each of your team members' strengths, interests and career goals to implement an effective and personalized coaching plan for them. Follow these steps to create a successful coaching plan for the team:

1. Establish the employees' strengths

When you first build a coaching plan, determine what the strengths of each employee are. Listing the responsibilities or duties that the employee fulfills may help you identify which tasks to assign them and which skills to develop further to enhance their performance even more. You can also mention these strengths to the employee to show them that you've noticed their talents and encourage them to continue improving those skills.

2. Locate any areas of improvement

Determining an employee's strengths helps you more easily spot potential areas to improve. List a few improvements in the employee's role that you believe they could work on. When discussing these areas with the employee, provide examples to help them better identify and understand these challenges in their performance. Try to keep the conversation positive by expressing your confidence in the employee improving and overcoming these obstacles.

3. Ask the employee to evaluate their performance

Once you've expressed your own viewpoint of the employee's performance, ask them to perform a self-evaluation. This helps you understand how the team sees themselves as employees. It also allows you to learn any strengths or areas of improvement you may not have previously noticed.

Related: Employee Self-Evaluation Examples and Tips

4. Determine any obstacles in the way of the employee's success

Before defining the employee's goals, establish which obstacles or challenges they're encountering that could be preventing them from performing effectively. Common obstacles that may stop employees from enhancing their performance could be:

  • Lack of time to focus on certain tasks or projects

  • Limited training or knowledge of how to use certain workplace tools or complete work duties

  • Little to no tools or resources available to educate themselves on certain projects or to finish tasks

5. Provide potential solutions to help the employee overcome the obstacle

After understanding which obstacles are keeping the employee from performing their best, you can work to find solutions to overcome them. Evaluate each specific challenge in the employee's way and ask how they believe they can overcome it and if they need assistance from you in doing so. Encourage the employee to overcome these obstacles on their own, if possible, while also making it clear that you're available to provide the support or resources they need.

Related: 15 Teamwork Challenges and How To Overcome Them

6. Develop short-term and long-term goals

Once you no longer have obstacles keeping your employee from performing effectively, work together to establish milestones and goals for success. Focus on the areas of improvement both you and the employee mentioned and develop short-term or long-term goals that help them enhance their performance. For example, if an employee is new to an industry and is having trouble understanding and familiarizing themselves with complex terminology, a goal could be to read five industry articles a week.

Related: How To Set Goals at Work (With Benefits and Tips)

7. Build an action plan for meeting these milestones

Create a clear action plan for each goal you develop to help the employees reach and achieve their objectives. Your action plan can list the steps both the employee and yourself plan to take to reach the end goal or desired outcome. Each milestone could also have a tentative deadline toward which the employee can work.

For instance, if an employee's end goal is to improve their public speaking and presentation skills to eventually present a product demonstration at a conference, determine the steps you and the employee can take to achieve this. Some steps could be that the employee could present at a few meetings a month and gain feedback from employees. The employee could also receive one-on-one training sessions with you once a week.

Related: How To Create an Action Plan for Leadership Development

8. Schedule dates and times to regularly follow up on their progress

When actionable steps are in place, you and the employee can schedule ongoing one-on-one sessions to check on their progress, determine if any new obstacles are in their way and provide valuable feedback. These meetings can help motivate employees to continue working toward their goals. They can also allow you the opportunity to provide them with positive encouragement if they feel discouraged.

Related: 18 Tips for Meeting Deadlines

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Coaching plan example

Here's an example of a written coaching plan for you to follow when developing one for your team members:

Employee's name: Jessica Tyler
Employee's title: Marketing content writer
Date: 8/24/2022

Strengths: Jessica is proficient at crafting well-written content, following search engine optimization guidelines and brainstorming unique and original ideas.

Areas of improvement: Jessica can work on meeting deadlines and creating more content pieces each month.

Obstacles in the way of improvement: Difficulty understanding complex subject matters and the industry she's writing about.

Solutions provided: Jessica plans to spend an hour each day researching industry trends. Management will fund conferences and seminars that teach on the difficult subject matters Jessica's regularly writing about.

Goal to achieve: Increase the conversion rates of the website's blog page by 20% over the next six months.

Action plan for goal: Jessica plans to submit and post five educational industry blog articles to the website each week.

Date of next goal progress meeting: 12/10/2022

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