What Is a Coaching Framework?

A coaching framework maps out one’s professional development and performance improvement opportunities. It’s a model designed to guide team members through a clear roadmap that addresses two areas:

  • Where the team member currently stands now
    • How is their performance looking?
    • What are they currently struggling with?
  • Where the team member wants to be in the future
    • What are their goals?
    • What skills should they gain?
    • What should they improve on?

As we explain in our book Coaching for Results, coaching is a process. It focuses on the actions or skills a coach uses to help a person or people move towards a desired result. Therefore, a coaching framework acts as a road map that the coach uses to encourage high-quality dialogue with a coachee about his or her coaching topics and/or development needs. Using this framework as a touchpoint ensures that the coach and coachee can effectively plan for, communicate about, and execute on goals and actions that they have developed together.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Coaching Framework?

There are three key benefits to using a coaching framework:

  • Preparation: As noted earlier, a coaching framework is used to support the creation of a coaching strategy that is tailored to the needs of the individuals being coached and the development goals that have been identified. By necessity, coaching goals vary from person to person, so having a framework can keep coaches organized and help them prepare to engage in individualized coaching conversations with their team members.
  • Structure: A coaching model guides team members through the process. It keeps them focused on specific skills and behaviors they need to work on so they can better contribute to the success of the entire team and support the organization’s larger goals.
  • Scalability: Relying on a coaching framework can offer a good foundation on which you can base your coaching sessions. Then, depending on how the sessions progress, you can expand or condense the framework as needed to ensure execution and sustain progress on key development topics

Overall, utilizing a coaching framework can give leaders more confidence as they hone their coaching skills and ensure that they are giving their team members the feedback, resources and support they need to grow and contribute value to the organization through regular coaching dialogue

How Is a Coaching Framework Used in Organizations?

Although the ability to successfully coach others is often positioned as a leadership or management skill, a coaching framework should actually be utilized by all team members within an organization—no matter their level or role within the organization. Encouraging top-down, bottom-up, and peer-to-peer coaching promotes growth and development across teams, fosters a coaching culture and creates a competitive advantage for the enterprise. Workforce members equipped with coaching skills will create extraordinary results.

What Are the Key Coaching Competencies and Behaviors of Coaching?

A successful coaching strategy is encompassed by five main skill sets as described in CMOE’s Coaching TIPS²™ Model. This proven, research-based coaching framework used in many leading global organizations offers coaches a practical process that can be followed to drive positive change, support employees’ performance and motivation, and reinforce desirable behaviors and outcomes on and off the job.

The Coaching TIPS²™ Model is built around these five key areas:

  • Support: Recognizing where a coachee is coming from, listening to his or her concerns, and providing candid, constructive feedback that supports learning, development, and growth
  • Topic: Being specific about the coaching focus and clearly defining (or revisiting) standards and expectations
  • Impact: Examining the effect that a person’s decisions and actions have on personal, team, or organizational success
  • Plan: Giving the coachee the chance to contribute ideas and asking for their commitment to action plans related to the coaching topic
  • Sustain: Providing ongoing support and guidance as progress is made, and helping a coachee see the benefits of following the plan through to completion

Leaders who would like more insight into their coaching strengths and weaknesses can take a 10-question self-assessment that is included in our Coaching for Results book. These questions align with CMOE’s Coaching TIPS²™ Model.

What Is Effective Coaching?Confident business leader in a meeting

Effective coaching entails four key traits:

Honesty and Trust

Effective coaching is a two-way process in which both parties feel comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions. All successful coaching relationships are rooted in trust, which helps fuel open and candid dialogue. An absence of trust in relationships of all kinds brews hostility or fear, preventing the parties from moving forward or fulfilling their potential.

A candid, caring relationship is critical for staying focused on common objectives and mutual agreements. Coaches should consistently ask for their coachees’ feedback to maintain an open dialogue and support continuous improvement on both sides.

Mutual Understanding

Successful coaches are aware of their team members’ strengths and their weaknesses. They use this knowledge to identify ways that their coachees’ strengths can be leveraged as well as opportunities to improve performance

Instilling your coaching philosophy with mutual understanding will help leaders customize their approach based on the needs of team members. Remember, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to coaching, and the better you and your coachees understand one another, the stronger and more nurturing your coaching relationship will become. To do this, a coach should have frequent 1:1 discussions with their coachees to establish rapport and openly assess areas to focus on.


A common coaching misconception is that only managers initiate coaching opportunities. In fact, coaching is a key skill that all members of the workforce should practice, regardless of the level, their position or role where they sit in the organization. Coaching is not a skill that necessitates a top-down approach alone; team members should also coach their peers and their leaders to improve organizational collaboration.

When coaching on a specific skill or ability, leaders should leverage their team members’ strengths, identify their limitations or weaknesses, and pair them up accordingly. For example, someone who excels at project management may be well suited to coach or share skills with a colleague who needs to develop their skills in that area.


Coaches recognize that desired changes will not happen overnight. Understanding and implementing a coach’s feedback and instructions takes time. To help their team members progress, coaches should practice patience and offer plenty of support and check in along the way.

To help your business grow, you must help your people grow first. Be sure to tap into CMOE’s Coaching for Results book and Coaching TIPS²™ Model to learn more about the qualities of world-class coaches and strengthen your skills in this area .