Get Managers To Coach After Your Training

One of the best ways to do this is to send managers a coaching map— instructions that speak directly to the subject matter and provide specific techniques and strategies to assist in reinforcing the material

One of the toughest things trainers face is getting managers to reinforce training by coaching employees. One of the best ways to do this is to send a map. A coaching map is a set of instructions that speaks directly to the subject matter and provides specific techniques and strategies to assist in coaching and reinforcing the material. For example, if you’re going to lead a session or deliver content on negotiating, you can send a follow-up coaching map to the managers to reinforce the negotiation tips and best practices provided in the training.

A coaching map can include the following:

  • Questions: When we give managers sample questions, we provide them the language of going from directing and mandating to asking questions that ultimately build understanding and clarification. By providing questions, we position managers to experience the value of asking deeper questions.
  • Activities: Activities are conducted within a coaching session. These include knowledge-based activities, where the employee teaches back, or skill-based activities, where the employee and manager simulate or practice skill sets. Albeit simple in nature, this eliminates the manager from having to come up with such ideas, and we simplify its implementation.
  • Learning projects: Learning projects are items prescribed at the end of each coaching session to build greater accountability and ownership by the rightful owner, the employee. For example, if a manager is coaching someone to become a better proactive communicator, the learning project could be as follows: “Next week, I want you to come in with one example of where you felt like you communicated proactively and why it was successful. Second, provide an example of where you felt like you missed an opportunity to communicate proactively and what risks this may have caused.” Learning projects keep the coaching process alive in between coaching sessions.
  • Supplemental coaching strategies: Supplemental coaching strategies are strategies where the manager does not physically have to be present. Supplemental coaching strategies also can accelerate development because the coaching does not solely rely on the manager and employee getting together. Managers love this because it can accelerate performance, as well as protect their time. Most managers typically do not think this way; therefore, providing such strategies simplifies the implementation and makes the transition easier. An example of a supplemental coaching strategy is as follows: Using a prior example of proactive communication, the manager could have an employee interview two peers and ask them what they do to communicate proactively and what they feel the benefits have been. This seems like a simple task, but the manager also could have the employee journal what he or she learned and ultimately come into the one-on-one session and teach what he or she learned, which would build greater ownership of the process.

All four of these techniques can be used at the discretion of the manager. For lack of a better description, they spoon-feed the manager. They make it easy for the manager to not only coach, but to begin to facilitate an experience. The value of coaching after training continues to grow, but one of the best ways to make sure managers are coaching is to make it easy for them.

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Tim Hagen is the chief coaching officer at Progress Coaching, which teaches organizations and their managers how to develop and retain talent through the Progress Coaching Training & Reinforcement System. Contact Hagen at:

Tim Hagen is the CEO of Progress Coaching and the creator of the Journal-Based Coaching Training System. Hagen is a coaching author, speaker, and an expert in workplace coaching. He has authored numerous coaching books and provides public Webinars and podcasts. For more information, e-mail: or call 262.421.5650.