Operational Coaching is Not...



You probably have your own perceptions of what coaching is.  Perhaps you already engage Executive Coaches to work with specific individuals or maybe you operate your own internal coaching function.  And maybe, coaching just hasn’t delivered the results you had hoped for?  Operational Coaching offers an alternative that can transform the way you think about coaching in your organisation.  This change in mindset can revolutionise the way people engage with each other and can deliver truly remarkable commercial results.  Notion’s Managing Director, Dominic Ashley-Timms, challenges the common perceptions about coaching by firstly telling us exactly what Operational Coaching is not.  have have your own perceptions of what coaching involves. In this article we strip back these common perceptions and explain how operational coaching differs…

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After several years of research and development, Notion’s STAR® model became the first operational coaching model designed solely to help managers to develop coaching as a habitual behaviour.

It is not... The Grow Model

There are a number of different coaching models which are all derivatives of the GROW model. They are popular and useful but that they are also executive coaching models.  They are designed for one to one coaching sessions in a formal setting, for the benefit of the coachee.  We questioned why coaching simply wasn’t breaking out as a management style or behaviour.  We realised that all the models ‘out there’ were focused on the coachee rather than helping the manager to change and embrace a new behaviour.  After several years of research and development, Notion’s STAR® model became the first operational coaching model designed solely to help managers to develop coaching as a habitual behaviour.



It is not...  Long and Structured

A typical executive coaching session will follow a formal structure, guided towards an outcome for that individual.  Operational coaching is often unstructured.  It could occur in a chance encounter, it could take as little as 30 seconds.  Operational coaching conversations sometimes can be exactly one question long. By using an ‘enquiry-led’ approach and choosing to ask questions rather than to tell, in that moment, you open up the opportunity to pull from someone a different, unexpected and perhaps unique response.

Operational Coaching is often unstructured


Operational Coaching can be applied in a split second, in every interaction, on the fly

It is not...  Separate and Infrequent

By taking more of an ‘enquiry-led approach’, managers will actively demonstrate trust and respect, give credence to new ideas and ways of thinking, generate real connections and stimulate future ownership. Embedding a coaching style of leadership in the organisation engenders a collaborative, self-sufficient environment.  Status is protected for all the generations. The experience of Traditionalists and Baby Boomers is valued, respected and utilised; and a highly desirable, intellectually level playing field is established for the newer generations entering the workforce.  Visionary leadership in changing organisational cultures is needed now to establish a truly generative work place that can offer the strong foundations for effective, cross-generational team working and career management.



It is not...  Ineffectual

Executive coaching, if not managed effectively, can be perceived as ‘fluffy’.  When adopting the STAR® model, managers discover that their employees have genuinely creative ideas and solutions that they would otherwise be unaware of.  Both parties benefit from the increased empowerment and ownership of solutions.  It is beneficial in that singular moment, but as trust grows and results are achieved, it becomes transformative in nature, giving it the potential to impact future situations.  Of course, managers also have to entertain the idea that some (perhaps most) ideas and solutions are better than their own!

Managers also have to entertain the idea that some (perhaps most) ideas and solutions are better than their own!


The Value of helping people adopt a coaching style and inculcating managers with the ability to utilise it in an operational setting, is clearly evident

It is not...  Abstract and Unrelated to the Matter in Hand

In an executive coaching session, the coach will focus on what the coachee wants to achieve.  This may or may not relate to current business challenges; but what is certain is that the scheduled formal coaching session will not be happening in the moment.  The one thing that we found from all of our research is that most coaching conversations that happen on the fly deal directly with the “matter at hand.”  This gives each coaching conversation a demonstrable link to a business result.  For one client, we analysed 500 coaching conversations and found that 76% were absolutely related to business: technical issues, cost savings, revenue and improving operations.  The value of helping people adopt a coaching style and inculcating managers with the ability to utilise it in an operational setting, is clearly evident.





If you have any questions please feel free to pick up the phone for a chat with one of the team. Just call +44 (0)1926 889 885.


Kind regards

Laura Ashley-Timms - Director of Coaching


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