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MyNavy Coaching Frequently Asked Questions


What is MyNavy Coaching?  

A1. The Navy defines coaching as a developmental, collaborative partnership between a coach and coaching partner. The purpose is to deliberately grow, broaden, and sustain development of the coaching partner to enhance performance through personal and professional goal setting and constructive feedback.

Why do we need MyNavy Coaching?

A2. Higher strategic guidance calling for efforts to better develop our sailors as leaders and warfighters to attract and retain the best talent across the Navy. The Navy is improving and modernizing the way they currently manage talent and performance by investing in individual development. The Navy will not be successful unless we preserve our sailors as our greatest strength and asset – deliberately developing them – which is key to leveraging retention. Better talent management practices improve the Navy’s ability to retain the best and most fully qualified sailors who will provide the Navy the warfighting advantage needed in the Strategic Competition. Focusing on development is also a way to increase engagement. Sailor engagement has repeatedly been found to be a critical influence on the success of an organization. Increased engagement fosters increased development, feedback, performance, accountability, and retention. Coaching is a tool that can help improve Sailor engagement and is a way to implement the guidance of Navy Senior Leaders to enhance Sailor development, ultimately contributing to greater retention across the Navy. To accomplish all of this requires us to start creating a coaching culture and a culture of feedback.

Is MyNavy Coaching an official program?

A3. No, it is not an official program. We are calling it an “initiative” because we are focused on teaching sailors the three core skills of active listening, empathy, and asking powerful questions and encouraging you to start engaging in Peer-to-Peer coaching partnerships.

Who will be in charge of the MyNavy Coaching Program at my command? How will the program be documented?

A4. MyNavy Coaching is not an official program so there is no formal documentation. You are free to document in a log the initials of the person you coached and how much time. You are also encouraged to take notes using the Individual Development Plan during the coaching session to remind you of what you discussed at the previous coaching session. 

Is MyNavy Coaching replacing Mid-term Counseling? 

A5. No. Coach-like behaviors are added to the updated BUPERSINST 1610.10, Chapter 18, released in November 2021. 

How is MyNavy Coaching different from the current Career Development Board Program?

A6. CDBs are designed to help sailors make informed career decisions that are also focused on retention, reserve options, discharge benefits, and other transition services. Also, CDBs are usually offered once per tour or every two years. Coaching conversations are meant to occur more frequently. 

Are we combining MyNavy Coaching with the Mentorship Program and CDB Program?

A7. MyNavy Coaching has a different focus than these two programs.  

  • Coaching focuses on personal and professional opportunities, challenges, or issues that sailors face by using the coaching framework and the core skills of coaching to enhance their performance. Coaching conversations are meant to be frequent and create ongoing progress reviews. 
  • The Mentorship Program provides guidance, direction, and advice to prepare the mentee for growth.  
  • CDBs are designed to help sailors make informed career decisions that are also focused on retention, reserve options, discharge benefits, and other transition services. Also, CDBs are usually offered once per tour or either every two years. Coaching conversations are meant to occur more frequently. 

What is a coach?

A8. A coach’s job is to support the coaching partner by providing a framework to guide the conversation, which is the GROW Model. The coach provides support for the coaching partner’s goals even if the coach disagrees that the goals the coaching partner has selected are not the right priority for the coaching partner. It is not what the coach wants but what the coaching partner wants that will help them grow and learn the most. The coach also actively listens, shows empathy, and asks powerful open-ended questions focused on the “What” and the “How” to keep the conversation moving forward. Asking these powerful questions promotes new knowledge gained on behalf of the coaching partner, empowering them towards their goals.

What is a coaching partner?

A9. Unlike other types of developmental relationships, the coaching partner is in the driver’s seat. He or she determines the agenda and provides the content for the conversation. In a coaching partnership, the coaching partner truly owns their own personal and professional development and commits to being coached and engaged in the process. The coaching partner provides the content of the coaching conversation. They chart the course for what is discussed. They also practice actively listening during the coaching session by asking the coach clarifying questions to understand what the coach is saying, probing and digging deeper to make sure what is being heard is what is being said. The coaching partner also challenges the coach to explore issues more deeply. This does not mean resisting, but it does mean pushing back to explore the issues more deeply, to look at alternatives, to enrich the conversation, to help clarify thinking on both the part of the coach and the coaching partner. Lastly, the coaching partner commits to action and their individual development plan.

What is a coaching partnership?

A10. Partnering can be defined as a commitment on behalf of the coach and coaching partner who are devoted to the coaching partner’s success by facilitating learning, improving performance, and moving towards the desired results. Partnering in coaching creates a level of trust and commitment on behalf of the coach and the coaching partner.

What does it mean to be more “coach-like”?

A11. Exhibiting more “coach-like” developmental behaviors means first asking more open-ended questions. This is done by being genuinely curious about the Sailor, asking more “What” and “How” questions, and asking more questions builds more personal, connected, and empathetic relationships with sailors. The result is more engaged sailors who come up with their own solutions to their problems, challenges, or opportunities. Next, refrain as long as possible from giving answers and avoid giving advice. When we give sailors the answer, we remove their independence and they become dependent on us. Giving advice may lead us to solve the wrong problem, does not mean we are proposing a good or the right solution, and indicates we have time to work on their problems, challenges, or opportunities. Further, giving advice demotivates our sailors because we are asking them to implement someone else’s ideas and not theirs. Also, this approach is more Sailor-focused – the person leading the coaching conversations does not try to solve the problem, issue, or challenge for the Sailor. Instead, you are giving sailors a voice. Lastly, the opportunity for bi-directional feedback is enhanced from the coach and coaching partner for both to improve and grow.

What are the skills to be more coach-like?

A12. Active listening, empathy, and asking powerful open-ended questions.

What is the framework to have coaching conversations?

A13. The framework is known as the GROW Model. First, it is a 4-step structure/sequence to manage the coaching conversation so that it provides a meaningful result to the coaching partner. It is a process that the coach owns. Remember when we said the role of the coach is to provide the framework for the conversation? This is exactly what we are talking about. Whenever you’re engaging in coaching conversations as the coach, you want to help the coaching partner discover something new and help them create an actionable plan to move forward to achieve their goal. You do this by staying curious and asking questions so there is no time for advice giving.

The 4-step acronym of GROW are the four key steps to have the coaching conversation:

  • Goal: Your goals, aspirations, problems, challenges, or opportunities 
  • Reality: Your current situation, internal and external obstacles
  • Options: Possibilities, strengths, and resources
  • Will: Actions, follow up, and accountability

There are many, many questions you could ask for each step of the GROW Model without providing advice and to maintain your curiosity so the coaching partner comes to a solution or an actionable next step forward. How can you ask questions that will leave the coaching partner feeling inspired at the end of the coaching session?

Who is MyNavy Coaching for?

A14. It is for all sailors at all ranks across the Navy. This is a skill that everyone can use, practice, and see results. 

Why should I care?

A15. Sailor engagement has repeatedly been found to be a critical influence on the success of an organization. Increased engagement fosters increased development, feedback, performance, accountability, and retention. Only about 33% of sailors feel engaged. To prevent taking steps in the wrong direction, coaching can help improve Sailor engagement.

How will coaching benefit me and others? 

A16. Coaching is a skill that you can use today and is an investment in you. You’ll also get more frequent and quality feedback. Ultimately, by engaging in this coaching skillset, you will increase your performance and the performance of the Navy. Coaching also creates and institutes a culture focused on deliberate Sailor development leading to overall performance improvement at the individual, unit, and Fleet levels. Other benefits include: 

  • Coaching is a communication skill that creates the conditions for deliberate development and life-long learning, resulting in growth for every member of the Navy, building meaningful work and relationships, enhancing overall performance.
  • Once sailors know the skills, they can start using them immediately, personally and professionally.
  • Navy leadership is vested in MyNavy Coaching and the desired high-performance outcomes and a culture of excellence, making sailors feel valued, cared for, and engaged
  • Coaching provides a framework to have open and constructive developmental conversations with purpose, focused on helping the Sailor achieve goals, with frequent and quality feedback.
  • The skills taught in coaching are skills that create better leaders to benefit the Navy.

Do I have to be a certified coach to have coaching conversations?

A17. No! Anyone can start using the skills to become more coach-like and use them in coaching conversations after they have received some form of training or completed self-paced modules. 

Does a coach have to be a direct supervisor?

A18. Generally speaking, direct supervisors will fulfill the coaching role when it comes to performance counseling conversations. Individual units vary across the Navy, but Coach/Coaching Partner partnerships will generally follow this model: CO/XO, XO/DH, DH/DIVO, E9/E8, E8/E7, E7-E6, E6/E5 and below.

When engaging in Peer-to-Peer coaching, this is someone you choose with whom you can have mutual trust with, does not have to be the same rank ,rate, specialty, job, or workcenter (but may be), and is someone who will hold you accountable (and vice versa). 

Does a coach have to be a higher rank than or have the same rate/specialty as the coaching partner?

A19. No. It is possible to coach those who are higher in rank than the coaching partner. You do not have to be the same rate or specialty to coach someone. 

What is Peer-to-Peer Coaching?

A20. Is it necessary to be in a supervisory position to coach someone? Is it necessary to have a more senior person coach a more junior person? The answer is “no” to both of these questions. Coaching can also be done with peers, and is, in fact, a very good way to give and receive development feedback. Peer-to-Peer coaching is a relationship between two peers, or people of relatively equal position, who commit to helping one another. It is built around a process of having structured conversations focused on personal and professional goals. The relationship between peers is one that is mutually beneficial. This is essentially a two-for-one benefit and is one of the things that makes peer-to-peer coaching so impactful to individuals and to entire organizations.

How long is a Peer Coaching session expected to last?

A21. Coaching sessions are expected to take approximately 60 minutes, 30 minutes for the coach and 30 minutes for the coaching partner. However, coaching partnerships should last for the entire duration of the Coach/Coaching Partner’s tour. And you might find you might have more than one peer coach.

How often should Peer-to-Peer Coaching sessions occur?

A22. It is recommended that you engage in Peer-to-Peer coaching at least once/month (aim to schedule these coaching conversations every 2-3 weeks). The more you can engage in coaching conversations, the better. It would be ideal to have a minimum of 5 conversations with your peer coaching partner that consists of an introductory session, 3 deep dive coaching sessions, and a summary/closure session. You are encouraged to re-partner every 3 months. 

How do I get a Peer Coach? 

A23. You can ask someone you trust to be your peer coach who has also completed the initial training. Talk to your Direct Supervisor, Career Counselor, or email

Who can I talk to if I have questions about my coaching? 

A24. Talk to your Direct Supervisor or email

How do I know if I’m ready to be coached?

A25. Ask yourself...Do I want to have greater job satisfaction and engagement?  Do I want to increase my performance?  Do I want to be involved and take ownership of my development?  If you answered yes to any of these, then coaching is for you!

Who should I pick to be my coach? 

A26. If an individual demonstrates these core behaviors: asking more open-ended questions, refraining as long as possible to give the answer or advice, doesn’t try to solve your problem, issue, or challenge, and provides an opportunity for bi-directional feedback, they are ready to be your coach whether they are a supervisor or a peer. 

How do I find someone to coach me?  

A27. Talk to your Direct Supervisor, Career Counselor, or email

What if I don’t want to be coached? 

A28. Coaching is not mandatory. It is a professional and personal development tool for individuals who are seeking self-ownership, achievement of personal and professional goals, and who desire greater performance. Everyone will not be ready to be coached and that is okay. 

Who can be a coach and what are the requirements?

A29. Anyone can be a coach who has the right mindset and knowledge (plus skills) can be a coach. At this time, the only requirement is for you to complete training and start having the coaching conversations with your peers and supervisors.

How do you become a coach?

A30. The Navy at this time is not certifying coaches, but to be a coach, the only requirement is for you to complete the training or other self-paced modules and start having the coaching conversations with your peers and supervisors.

How will I see coaching used in the Navy?

A31. Career Development Boards, Mid-term Counseling with Individual Development Plans, Peer-to-Peer, insertion of MyNavy Coaching curriculum at Officer and Enlisted leadership touchpoints and accession pipelines



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