L&D: Proactive and/or Reactive Coaching

They Are Not Mutually Exclusive Of Course

There’s always at least a little of one even when the other outweighs the balance.

But it’s about the clarity of the terminal performance and/or knowledge goals – which can be externally driven or internally driven – to/by the one being Coached.

It is for them … after all. And perhaps ultimately … for the Enterprise.


I wrote this post after an interesting exchange a while back – on LinkedIn – about a Coaching Model – and some of the comments from others (not the author of the post).

I already knew that I was not a laissezfaire kind of guy. Not when it comes to helping to develop people via the various Modes of Learning – to have more Performance Competence in an Enterprise Learning context.

Proactive Coaching – A Push Model

When the goals are clear: “to facilitate that Product Development Team Meeting” – for instance.

And maybe it’s even clearer: “to facilitate that Product Development Team Meeting as the product shifts from the Growth Phase to the Maturity Phase of our Product Life Cycle Model.”


That’s when the Coach is in charge of the Content – driven by the Performance Situation’s Needs.

The Coach may see quite clearly what needs to be learned/mastered and how to accomplish it effectively and efficiently.

There may even be “Structured OJT” guidance prepared to follow rotely or to adapt from.

As always it depends.

Reactive Coaching – A Pull Model

When the goals are not so clear: “I think I need help running certain aspects of my meetings” – for instance.

And maybe it’s even less clear: “I think I need help running certain aspects of my meetings. Although it might be less my running the meetings and it may be in setting the agenda, or getting my head around the purpose of the meeting in the first place. I just don’t know. Maybe it shouldn’t be a meeting. I’m just lost.”


That’s when the Coach is not in charge of the Content – initially – given the Performance Situation’s Unknown Needs – and the Performer’s Current State knowledge and skills given that situation.

Then it may be that the service, or first service the Coach can provide – is to help clarify the Request for Help.


Bobby Won’t Learn to Bunt

If Bobby doesn’t know that she needs to learn that bunting thing – she won’t know to ask.

If the Coach waits on Bobby to decide that she needs to learn that bunting thing – the Coach may wait forever.

If the Coach is laissezfaire about it all – it may never ever dawn on Bobby to learn that skill-set.

The Coach can ask questions, Socratically, to lead Bobby to conclude that she needs to improve her bunting skills. A SPIN Selling approach, if you will.

But if Bobby has already figured it out – that she stinks at bunting – and has for the past 3 years – and has been taken out of the lineup whenever the situation has called for it – she now knows to ask.  She’s thought about it while steaming about it – warming the bench – even though she knew that she is the best infielder the team has and should have been in the game.

But while Bobby may not know exactly what she doesn’t know about bunting – she at least knows enough to now ask for help – with bunting.

Bobby’s little brother, watching his sister deal with this bunting thing this past off-season, may still not know what he doesn’t know about bunting.

The coach can either be Proactive about it and bring it up – or the coach can be Reactive about it and wait to be asked.

Should the Coach be more Push – or more Pull?

It’s sometimes not just a game – and it is a Business Decision.

But if it all depends on Bobby’s little brother figuring out and then asking the right questions … he may never learn how to bunt.

# # #


One comment on “L&D: Proactive and/or Reactive Coaching

  1. Pingback: Proactive and Reactive Coaching – influenced by relationships? – St Marys University- Coaching

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