Working in Further Education

How to Coach Learners Better: The Importance of a Coach’s Mindset

September 5, 2022

Table of Contents

Effective coaching involves more than just imparting knowledge. It requires a coach to adopt a learner-centric mindset and create an environment that empowers learners to discover solutions to their problems on their own. In this article, we'll explore some insights on how to coach learners better by focusing on the importance of a coach's mindset and actions.

A Skills Coach’s Mindset is Critical to Coaching Effectiveness

As a coach, it's essential to understand that you may not be the expert in every area. While it's helpful to have a good grasp of the concepts you're teaching, you should avoid telling learners how to apply them. Instead, create a safe space where learners can explore, experiment, and discover solutions to their problems on their own.

Here are some tips to help you develop a learner-centric mindset:

  • Practice active listening to understand your learners' needs and goals.
  • Avoid imposing your ideas on learners and focus on guiding them towards their own solutions.
  • Encourage learners to ask questions and challenge assumptions.
  • Celebrate when learners make discoveries and overcome obstacles.

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Skills Coaches Build Confidence before Asking Learners to Take Risks

When coaching learners, you might have to ask them to try something new. It could be anything from speaking up in a meeting to using a new tool on their own. However, before you ask learners to take a risk, you need to build their confidence.

Here are some tips to help you build your learners' confidence:

  • Start by having learners try a smaller risk first. For example, if you want them to speak up in a meeting, suggest that they volunteer to go first when the meeting starts.
  • Have learners practice before taking a risk in a bigger situation. For example, if you want them to use a new tool, recommend that they use it to help with a small project they’re working on now.
  • Celebrate small successes along the way. This will help learners feel more confident and motivated to take on bigger challenges.

Skills Coaches Help Learners Set Stretch Goals and Celebrate Small Wins

As a coach, you can help learners set goals that challenge them to grow. However, it's essential to strike a balance between setting goals that are too easy and those that are too hard. Stretch goals can help learners grow in ways they might not have anticipated, but they should still be achievable.

Here are some tips to help you set effective goals:

  • Work with learners to identify goals that align with their personal and professional aspirations.
  • Break goals down into manageable steps and track progress regularly.
  • Celebrate small wins along the way to help learners stay motivated.

Skills Coaches Are Objective When Deciding If a Learner is Ready to Take Risks

Sometimes, you might have to help learners take risks. For example, you might ask them to try something new during training, or they might want to try applying a new skill to their job. However, before you ask them to take action, you need to be objective and decide if they're ready.

Here are some tips to help you determine if learners are ready to take risks:

  • Help learners identify their next move based on their skill level.
  • Work with learners to identify the risks they want to take and decide when they're ready to take those risks.
  • Avoid pressuring learners to take risks before they're ready, as this can lead to setbacks and loss of confidence.

Skills Coaches Have a Relentless Focus on Helping Their Learners Be Resilient

Learners don’t just need to learn; they need to apply what they’ve learned. To do this, they need to be resilient. What does it mean to be resilient? Resilient learners are able to stay motivated and confident even when things get tough. They have strategies for dealing with challenges and recovering from mistakes.

Coaches can help learners become more resilient by asking them to reflect on their challenges and victories. You can also challenge learners to explore how they would respond if they were in similar situations in the future. When coaches have a relentless focus on helping learners become resilient, learners are more likely to apply what they’ve learned and succeed in the long term. As a result, they are also more likely to stay engaged in the learning process and keep growing on a continuous basis.


In conclusion, coaching is an essential component of skills development and learning. To be an effective coach, you need to have the right mindset, build learners' confidence, set stretch goals, be objective when deciding if a learner is ready to take risks, and help learners become resilient. By doing this, you can help your learners succeed and experience the benefits of coaching.

As a coach, you should always keep in mind that you are not necessarily an expert, but a guide to help learners discover solutions to their problems. Coaching with a learner's mindset is one of the best ways to accelerate learning and development. Remember that coaching is not just about imparting knowledge but creating an environment where learners can explore, experiment, and make discoveries on their own.

Finally, coaches should have a relentless focus on helping their learners be resilient. This means asking learners to reflect on their challenges and victories and challenging them to explore how they would respond if they were in similar situations in the future. By doing this, coaches can help learners become more resilient and apply what they've learned in the long term.

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Alex Lockey
Director | Bolt Jobs
Founder Alex Lockey is an expert in further education, learning, and skills sector. He leads cost-effective hiring solutions and is known for successful talent placements. Dynamic and driven, Alex seeks innovative solutions to solve sector hiring challenges.