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A Smart Coaching Language Drives Results

Unlocking the best coach in every manager doesn’t have to be a climb up Mt. Everest. Just give managers a coaching language. The quality of their coaching conversations rests on their knowing what to say and how to say it.


Our Smart Start Toolkit

Simple word prompts — we call them Smart Starts — help managers offer guidance more than judgment. Smart Starts make it easy to look ahead, not back.


Here are two Smart Starts:

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How do managers learn the coaching language?
We keep it simple.


  • Six POWERformance Principles serve as a framework.


  • Excerpts in print serve as springboards for comments from the participants. People easily recognize what’s good and what’s better.


  • We show how the Smart Starts resulted in better feedback.


What’s the evidence that Smart Starts make a difference?
In post-training surveys, more than 90% of managers say they find Smart Starts effective in their one-to-ones and in-the-moment coaching conversations.


Clients often ask us to evaluate written coaching comments. We always find a direct correlation between the number of Smart Starts used and the strength of the coaching provided.

Coaching Language Example and Analysis

If you’d like to delve deeper into our coaching language at work, here’s a check-in conversation with detailed explanations of each comment.

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