Coffee break coaching - An effective alternative to traditional coaching methods

A very open and honest conversation a couple of years ago led to the design and delivery of our first ever Coffee Break Coaching workshop.


The client we were in conversation with presented a brief that focused on the senior management team engaging and working with staff in a more open and natural manner. They wanted to embed a coaching culture that was built around managing people the right way and not just via a mandatory review of hard measures, KPI’s etc.


During the familiarisation work carried out, we spoke to all senior managers and then a selection of team members and it is during these conversations that we stumbled across the concept. One employee said, “the best conversations take place around the coffee machine when there are no distraction or computer screens to act a natural barrier, you can find a lot out in a ten-minute chat with someone”.


As the conversation progressed it became clear that selecting the right time and environment to coach or speak to an employee was key to it being a productive conversation. With all of the managers stating that having enough time was a challenge to coaching the team effectively we then focused on how much could be achieved in 10-15 minutes and what questioning and listening skills would they need to employ to make it work.


As a result, Coffee Break Coaching was born and implemented across the business and once the manager had learnt how to actively listen and ask coaching style questions they were able to have a more engaging and rewarding relationship with their team.


For those of you who think 15 minutes is not enough for some things, you are probably right, however, if by having regular conversations and updates with your staff you un-earth an issue that requires a more considered approach then the appropriate time can be allocated. The concept of Coffee Break Coaching is very much around having little and often quality dialogue with your team to aid engagement and give recognition and support in more timely fashion.



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