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Coaching for Improved Performance

Avoiding Disciplinary Action

By Robin Nitschke

Business Meeting
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Executive Summary: Looking for improved performance and better coaching? Since Robin submitted this article for publication, I asked two managers in one of my client companies to use his approach in talking with several employees who needed to improve their performance.

The meetings were positive and I believe we will see their performance improve within the ninety day agreement. Both managers were very comfortable using Robin's recommended approach.

Why don't you decide to try it, too? You'll be happy you did. (Executive Summary by Susan Heathfield)


I've always regarded problems as opportunities to do better, gain experience, and learn more, just to be a little bit smarter and perhaps "street wise" on how to handle life issues and situations. After all, we learn best, not by being taught and not by studying or reading, but by experiencing and then reflecting on what we did and what happened and then drawing conclusions and experimenting.

As a coach, I've practiced this method with considerable success. If we don't learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes and have the same problems over and over again. Then, we'll never grow and develop as a person; we'll effectively stagnate both emotionally and intellectually.


Kolb's Learning Cycle Expanded

In my coaching I have advocated and expanded David Kolb's Learning Cycle:


  1. Life gives us "gifts" in the form of opportunities to have EXPERIENCES.

  2. Coaching provides the opportunity to get FEEDBACK from these experiences - this is achieved by questioning and clarifying.

  3. Further probing and questioning creates insights and common themes which lead to the learner REFLECTING on the experiences, the action that was taken and the consequences of this action.

  4. From these insights and personal discoveries, CONCLUSIONS are drawn that, if sufficiently powerful, can relate back to other current or past situations.

  5. The valuable lessons learned from this exercise are then applied to future situations in the form of EXPERIMENTS.

  6. From these experiments, EXPERIENCES are provided as well as further opportunities to learn more and the cycle goes around again.

I have found that Kolb's learning cycle becomes so much more effective when approached from a coaching perspective. It incorporates the "empowerment causes involvement which causes commitment which results in increased performance" coaching technique with the "commend, recommend, commend" Toastmaster principle.


Robin Nitschke is a Certified Career, Business and Life Coach. Robin has had 22 years in various management roles where he has been involved with training and motivating people to achieve their potential. He has worked with both large and small businesses, managing all aspects of human resources, training, management development, marketing and customer service departments. The enthusiasm, dedication and passion he brings to coaching, inspires, motivates and empowers people to achieve their life long goals.

As a professional, certified coach, Robin is committed to helping you identify what is really important in your life, guiding you to discover hidden opportunities, helping you set and achieve challenging and inspiring goals, and aiding your journey to be the person you really want to be. You can reach Robin by: email.

On the next page, read about coaching approach in practice.

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