Coaching Definition - InsideOut Developement

What Is Coaching?

“Coaching” is a term that has different meanings for different people and organizations. Even within professional coaching associations the term covers a broad array of definitions and nuances. Contrary to many popular definitions within the executive coachingl industry, InsideOut Development believes that the majority of coaching can and should be done as part of the day-to-day work of managers.

InsideOut Development defines coaching as follows:


Taking valued people from where they are to where they want to go.

In more pragmatic terms, coaching is a way of communicating with purpose to get things done with commitment and action. Anyone seeking breakthrough performance in any area of life can benefit from coaching. Our coaching process puts emphasis on “communication,” “commitment,” and “action.” Underlying our definition of coaching is our philosophy that breakthrough improvement must come from the inside-out, and that the role of the coach is to unlock the capacity that is already within each individual. A coach assumes a specific role and responsibilities when coaching from the inside out:

Coaches Working from the Inside Out

Coaches Working from the Outside In

Provide employees with tools for setting and reaching goals.

Set goals for employees and get their buy-in.

Help employees identify solutions and remove barriers.

Instruct, persuade, infuse, force, or cajole improvement out of employees.

Check progress with employees and help focus attention and efforts.

Micromanage employees to make sure things get done.

Hold employees accountable for their results.

Be accountable for results.


InsideOut's Coaching Model


With the InsideOut Coaching approach, the act of coaching becomes an unbelievably simple and reliable process for enhancing performance in just about any context. Our coaching approach is built around a simple process called GROW® The GROW® Model was co-developed by InsideOut founder Alan Fine more than 25 year ago. Fine believed, then and now, that breakthrough performance comes from the inside out. The GROW® Model helps managers and coaches work with their employees to unleash their own potential and talents.
An employee and coach work through each element of GROW®:

  • Goals: Set S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, meaningful, agreed to, realistic, and time-phased)
  • Reality: Define the current status - where we are now
  • Options: Define the future status - where we want to be
  • Way forward: Identify realistic next steps

Three performance elements underlie the effectiveness of the GROW® Model: Faith, Fire, and Focus. Faith is how strongly employees believe in their skills and abilities. Fire is about employees' energy and enthusiasm toward the goals and their outcome. Focus deals with paying attention to the most important things and eliminating or ignoring distractions.
The more a coach can help increase employees' faith, fire, and focus, the more effective the GROW® Model becomes. The entire coaching model puts the onus for action and accountability squarely on the shoulders of employees. They are not dependent on the coach because the model works from the inside out, with the employee being responsible, and not from the outside in, with the coach being responsible.

Leader as Coach

Coaching has become a critical competency for leaders in today's business environment. In the Ivey Business Journal article "Creating a Performance Culture", Joanne Reid and Victoria Hubbell identified "adopting a coaching style of leadership" among their top six best practices for leaders in top-performing organizations. The reason coaching has become such a critical competency is because your employee are the experts at what they do, not you. In directing the efforts of today's highly educated knowledge workers, few leaders enjoy an expertise advantage. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Successful coaching isn't a matter of outsmarting your people, but of helping them apply the smarts they already have.
How then can leader-coaches emerge in the culture? Coaching is both a skill that can be learned and a process for managing coaching conversations. If leaders obtain the right skills and apply a proven process, coaching conversations begin to occur spontaneously and successfully.

Coaching Skills

Coaching is less about teaching and more about learning. It's less about giving more knowledge and more about helping employees do what they already know. To become an effective leader-coach requires learning and proficiency in the following competencies:

  • Listening: Listens to understand and to demonstrate understanding of both the issues and the emotions involved. Listens beyond the words and discerns what's not being said as much as what's being said.
  • Observing: Accurately sees the non-verbal language being communicated.
  • Creating: Creates a safe, non-judgmental environment by:     - Suspending judgment
        - Expecting and allowing the unexpected to show up in coaching conversations
        - Respecting the employee's perspective, whether he or she agrees with it or not
        - Putting aside his or her own agenda

Coaching Process

Learning and applying the GROW® Model and other tools with employees helps manage coaching conversations by increasing the focus of both the coach and the employee. Leader-coaches understand how to help employees deal with the real root causes of most performance shortcomings, including attitude issues, mental and environmental distractions, mistaken priorities, and lack of focus.
The result is that the employee's capacity is accessed, leading to faster, more accurate decisions. Making faster, better decisions is what Fine refers to as Decision Velocity. Better decisions lead to focused action, which lead to faster results. As the employee's Decision Velocity begins to accelerate, employees become empowered and excited about their own success. The process becomes ingrained in them. They use the leader-coach as a sounding board or mentor, but they realize the power for exponential improvement lies within their own power. Then the leader-coach truly sees the energy, talents, and skills of employees unleashed.
Using InsideOut's coaching process, leader-coaches can help employees:

  • 1. Clarify thinking
  • 2. Set goals and create plans
  • 3. Identify and access resources
  • 4. Identify and manage obstacles
  • 5. Focus on results and sustainability
  • 6. Stay accountable

Coaching Culture

Many organizations have pockets of great coaching. These pockets typically develop when the current leader happens to have experience with coaching. But to achieve a culture of coaching, you must:


  • Gain buy-in from executives, managers, and front line employees.
  • Establish a common coaching language and model in the organization.
  • Train a broad depth and breadth of leaders and managers on the coaching process.
  • Observe and reinforce coaching conversations happening at all levels of the organization.

A coaching culture inspires open, honest communication and trust. It's truly exciting to see the transparency of a coaching culture. It virtually shuts down the proverbial "rumor mill."Instead, leaders and employees engage in conversations where ideas are shared openly and with integrity. With so much interference out of the way, the talent of the workforce is unleashed to set and achieve organizational goals. In this way, coaching truly inspires breakthrough performance.

Products and services

Learn more about InsideOut Development's products and services for coaching.


Offerings for Front Line

Breakthrough Performance: Tools for the Front Line

Help your Front Line employees apply a simple process to consistently achieve breakthrough results … on demand! This engaging and easy-to-implement program helps employees improve performance and personal accountability, increase engagement, and develop trust with peers, co-workers, leaders, and managers.read more

Offerings for Teams

InsideOut Coaching: Tools for Team Leaders

Help managers learn to coach effectively for performance and engagement. The simple process taught in InsideOut Coaching is a catalyst for improvement in all areas—from maximizing existing training to engaging teams around key initiatives and goals. InsideOut Coaching is not just a program to attend; it’s a mindset, skillset, and toolset to help team leaders have successful coaching conversations every day with team members.read more

Coach Mentoring:

Strengthen a manager’s confidence and performance in applying the InsideOut Coaching process through one-on-one coaching services. Managers become skilled at using the InsideOut Coaching process to provide feedback, create engagement around performance goals, and hold productive meetings with employees.read more

Offerings for Organizations

InsideOut Coaching (2-day Executive Format ):

Help executives learn and apply a simple, repeatable process for tapping into and drawing out optimal performance throughout the organization. This 2-day program specifically tailored for executives teaches them to better understand performance and coach for engagement and breakthrough results. The vision isn’t just incremental progress, but exponential improvement.read more

Executive Coaching Services:

Strengthen an executive’s confidence and leadership performance through the help of a professional executive coach. Clients work with a seasoned InsideOut Executive Coach who becomes a trusted advisor, listener, and champion, and who holds leaders accountable for winning results.read more

InsideOut Golf Event:

In the classroom, learn the inside-out principles that govern breakthrough performance; then immediately apply those principles in a fun and engaging executive golfing event. While the mechanics of any sport are important, the real keys to success are in the player's attitude, focus, and execution. By applying the tools and concepts to golf, executives learn to eliminate distractions from their game and focus on those things that will help them win at work and in other areas of life.read more