CSU encourages a coaching culture to develop the skills, knowledge and capability of our workforce. Coaching can be applied in our daily work practices by managers, supervisors and those who have specialist knowledge or skills to support others.

About coaching

Coaching is a structured conversation between a coach and coaching counterpart which aims to assist the counterpart to develop a strategy which will help them to reach a work goal or enhance job performance. It is designed to develop the potential of employees by building the counterparts self-belief. Coaching differs from mentoring in that the focus is on improving a short-term goal, rather than supporting and guiding a mentee through experience over a longer-term relationship.

‘Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them rather than teaching them’ (Whitmore, 2009, p.10).

Benefits of coaching

There are many benefits for both the individual and organisation.

For the individual

  • Career Development
  • Problem-solving
  • Job enrichment
  • Building capability, skills and knowledge
  • Increased productivity and engagement
  • Increased confidence and accepting responsibility
  • Increased ability to build networks and positive relationships

For the organisation

  • Productive teams
  • Increased organisational capability
  • Increased networking and cross-unit cooperation
  • Promoting effective change management skills
  • Increased productivity and Innovation
  • Employee Development and Review
  • Career Planning
  • To solve a work challenge or problem
  • To create a way forward for an individual and a clear plan

When to use coaching

  • Employee Development and Review
  • Career Planning
  • To solve a work challenge or problem
  • Team meetings
  • To create a way forward for an individual and a clear plan

GROW Model for coaching

A coaching model is a framework which helps to build a facilitated discussion between the coach and the coaching counterpart. A useful model for framing the coaching conversation is the GROW Model (Whitmore, 2009). There are 4 phases to the conversation.

  • Goal
  • Reality
  • Options
  • Way forward


Defining the counterpart’s goal for the coaching session. It is important that the counterpart defines their own goal. The coach should keep questioning the counterpart to ensure that the goal is clearly defined using open questions.

Example Questions

  • What would you like to discuss?
  • What would be the most helpful thing for you to take-away from this session?


What is the current reality for the coaching counterpart? At this phase discuss the situation right now. At the end of this conversation clarify the goal for the session again.

Example questions

  • What is the situation right now?
  • What else is relevant?
  • Who else is relevant?


Discuss the options available to the counterpart and alternative courses of action.

Example questions

  • What is one option?
  • What else? What else?
  • What is one think you could do differently?

Way forward

Confirm the way-forward what specifically will the counterpart do? Who will hold them accountable?

Example questions

  • What are the next steps?
  • Who or what do you need to support you?
  • What is it that you are going to do?
  • When are you going to do it?
  • How will you know you have done it?

Setting up the coaching relationship

In the first instance, you should discuss coaching with your manager.

Once you have determined a suitable coach, the coach and the coaching counterpart should confirm the boundaries of the coaching relationship and agree on the purpose, goal and timeframe for coaching sessions.


For more information on coaching refer to the Coaching@CSU booklet