Coaching Should Not Be a Bad Word

February 21 2022
By: Shawn M. Galloway

"Coaching is a form of development in which an experienced person, called a coach, supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance... Occasionally, coaching may mean an informal relationship between two people, of whom one has more experience and expertise than the other and offers advice and guidance as the latter learns."" That was the definition found on Wikipedia. I chose this reference because it is more than an academic perspective; it is crowdsourced and agreed on by masses, and with no mention of discipline, progressive or otherwise.

Coaching Should Not Be a Bad Word

I am hired to coach leaders on their impact on safety performance and culture. I help them perform at their best or lead their teams to perform with excellence. It is a strategic and thought-out financial investment; I don't coach for free. Coaching is not a tool for discipline, nor should this phrase be used. Yet, many companies and consultants that advise the first step of progressive discipline is called coaching, verbal or a written note. Constant and excessive use of coaching to address disciplinary-related offensives creates shame and guilt throughout the organization and does not promote healthy self-growth to improve one's performance.

For every bit of verbal feedback you give someone on their behavior, be sure you are providing just as many and just as often for their desirable behavior. If coaching is viewed as a bad or dirty word in your organization, you are doing it wrong.

"The interesting thing about coaching is that you have to trouble the comfortable, and comfort the troubled." - Ric Charlesworth

"All coaching is, is taking a player where he can't take himself." - Bill McCartney






Shawn M. Galloway

Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 650 podcasts, 200 articles and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow and Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers.