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MyNavy Coaching
Plan of the Week Questions


Engaging in MyNavy Coaching

Plan of the Week (POW) Questions and Answers

Current as of June 2023


The purpose of these Plan of the Week (POW) questions is to help grow our Sailors to become more coach-like through peer-to-peer coaching by supporting commands in spreading the word about MyNavy Coaching. With this in mind, these POW questions are centered around commonly asked questions to help Sailors grow their understanding of coaching and coaching skills through MyNavy Coaching. More information about training that is available to Sailors to learn how to engage in the core skills of coaching conversations will be released. 


General Information about Coaching and MyNavy Coaching


Question 1: What is coaching and MyNavy Coaching?

  • Coaching is a communication skill that focuses on the core skills of active listening, empathy, and asking powerful, open-ended questions to create the conditions for every member of the Navy to build meaningful work and relationships that requires not just learning but practice.

  • MyNavy Coaching is a Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP)-led effort to build and sustain a coaching culture in the Navy that is overseen by the Commander, Navy Personnel Command.


Question 2: What is the purpose of MyNavy Coaching?

  • The purpose is to deliberately grow, broaden, and sustain development to enhance performance through personal and professional goal setting and constructive feedback.

  • The MyNavy Coaching initiative directly supports the Get Real Get Better mindset by empowering our people to achieve exceptional performance.


Question 3: How does MyNavy Coaching support the CNO’s vision for the 21st Century Sailor?

  • MyNavy Coaching increases resiliency in all service members by supporting Sailors to overcome adversity and thrive.  

  • This is accomplished by having honest and direct coaching conversations involving active listening, empathy, and asking open ended questions.


Question 4: Why is MyNavy Coaching an initiative and not a program?

  • MyNavy Coaching is an initiative because coaching is a communication skill focused on active listening, empathy, and asking powerful, open-ended questions. These conversations motivate, engage, and deliberately develop Sailors.


Question 5: How do I have coaching conversations?

  • Navy Coaching uses a problem-solving framework known as the GROW Model to set goals, determine the current reality, discuss options, and determine the will to accomplish established goals.

  • The GROW Model establishes clear accountability and helps Sailors work collaboratively. This will provide a path to accomplish goals Sailors have set both professionally and personally.


Question 6: What is Empathy in Coaching?

  • Empathy is the ability to understand other people’s feelings as if we were feeling them ourselves, while sympathy is the ability to take part in someone else’s feelings. Empathy requires perspective, meaning an empathetic coach connects with the feelings the coaching partner describes.

  • Empathy is a critical skill for coaching because it contributes toward a more accurate understanding of your coaching partners and their perceptions.


Question 7: What is Active Listening in Coaching?

  • Active listening means not only listening to what another person is saying with words, but also to what is said by intonation and body language. The active listening process involves letting the speaker know that he or she has been heard by paying attention, withholding judgement, and reflecting on what is being said.

  • A coach who is actively listening to their coaching partner will help them fix problems for themselves.


Question 8: How is Asking Powerful Questions important in Coaching?

  • Powerful questions are the reflection of active listening and understanding your coaching partner’s perspective by paraphrasing what you hear. They are often “what” or “how” questions.

  • Powerful questions are the types of questions that make the coaching partner say ‘I’ll have to think about that.’’ A coach who asks powerful questions will lead their coaching partner to discovery, insight, and a commitment to action.

Question 9: How is bi-directional feedback important in coaching?

  • Bi-directional feedback means that no coaching conversation is a one-way conversation. When the coach asks open-ended, clarifying, and probing questions, and restates key themes as the conversation proceeds, it confirms and solidifies the coach’s grasp of the coaching partner’s point of view.


Question 10: What are the key factors to coaching?

  • At its core, coaching is a different way to have developmental conversations using active listening, empathy, asking powerful questions, and providing bi-directional feedback.

  • Coaching builds accountability and responsibility so that Sailors are invested in their own development.


Question 11: How does coaching help a Sailor reflect on their own performance?

  • Coaching is an essential skill that allows a Sailor to be their own critic. All of us can improve. Coaching is an assessment tool to continually evaluate yourself and your team by being honest, humble, and transparent about current performance. 

  • Coaching allows Sailors to self-correct by finding and fixing the root causes of problems, not just the symptoms. This creates accountability and the opportunity for your team to progress.


Question 12: Is acting as a Navy Coach a collateral duty?

  • MyNavy Coaching is a mindset, not a collateral duty or a program. This is an initiative to inspire Sailors to be invested in professional development of themselves and others.

  • Coaching is a problem-solving tool that allows you to evaluate yourself and your team with constant improvement to achieve exceptional performance.


Question 13: How is coaching different from mentoring?

  • Mentoring is a voluntary relationship where there is usually a senior, more experienced person who provides personal and career assistance to a more junior, less experienced person. In the mentoring role, it is expected that the mentor will share his experiences and give advice and guidance to the mentee.

  • Coaching is a partnership involving conversations where the two members will learn together, fostering trust and collaboration. The coach does not need to be senior to the coaching partner in any way.


Question 14: How is coaching different from counseling?

  • When having a counseling conversation, the Sailor is encouraged to potentially change a behavior, get additional training, or develop a new skill set, based upon the feedback given.

  • Coaching can be used after counseling, by asking the coaching partner what their goal is to improve. The coach can start asking open-ended questions that inspire and motivate the coaching partner to enhance their performance, personally or professionally.


Question 15: What are the responsibilities and characteristics of a coach?

  • Coaches assist their coaching partner to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. A coach does not give advice or solve the coaching partner’s issues. As a coach, you must develop a foundation of trust in order to have a successful coaching partnership. The coaching partner is accountable for their own ideas and steps towards goal achievement. Coaching behaviors include active listening, showing empathy, and asking powerful questions.


Question 16: What are the responsibilities and characteristics of a coaching partner?

  • Coaching focuses on the coaching partner’s goals they have set for themselves. A coaching partner should be prepared to answer questions, self-assess, and self-correct. Being honest and open-minded with a coach will provide insight, perspective and accountability.

  • A coaching partner is given feedback that is delivered constructively and frequently without judgement.


Question 17: Who is the ideal coach in a coaching partnership?

  • The coach does not need to be someone you share similar experiences with, or someone of higher rank. In fact, it is probably better that the coach knows less about what the coaching partner wants to do to ensure they are operating from a place of non-judgment where their own experiences and biases do not influence how they are helping the coaching partner.


Question 18: What does it mean to be more coach-like?

  • Exhibiting more “coach-like” behaviors means asking open-ended questions. This is done by being genuinely curious about the Sailor. Refrain from giving answers or advice, which empowers the Sailor to come up with their own solutions to their problems, challenges, or opportunities. Bi-directional feedback from both the coach and coaching partner will help them improve and grow. 


 Question 19: What are potential coaching topics?

  • Coaching topics can be about personal or professional development topics or goals a Sailor would like to work on. This could be a qualification, studying for advancement, or an opportunity you are contemplating. There is no limit to the topics that can be solved through coaching.

  • Sailors are encouraged to be curious and take pride in personal and professional improvements through coaching.


Question 20: How should a coach provide feedback?

  • All of us can improve. The coaching conversation shouldn’t be judgmental or focused on giving direct feedback or advice. Instead of telling the coaching partner what needs to be changed, ask for their perspective about challenges that they are facing. 

  • Be patient and understand that most issues won’t be resolved in a single conversation. Be honest, humble, and transparent about current performance, and factor in time for self-reflection and learning.


Question 21: What is a coaching partnership?

  • A coaching partnership pairs Sailors in a thought-provoking conversation maximizing their personal and professional potential. 

  • Coaching partnership requires facilitating learning, improving performance, and moving toward desired results by committing to the coaching partner’s success.


Question 22: How is trust established in a coaching partnership?

  • Building trust is important as it is a feeling of comfort only achieved by having a series of positive interactions with another person. 

  • Trust is not a one-time thing. Trust is constantly being built in a coaching partnership.  Continuous follow-through on commitments builds more trust in the coaching partnership.


Question 23: What is the right environment to conduct coaching?

  • The right environment is a space where Sailors can be authentic and express themselves. 

  • Finding a quiet place both environmentally and mentally leads to creating allows for complete focus on the coaching partner. The right environment can provide clarity, increase self-awareness, and help to find the right solutions.


Question 24: How do you remove distractions during coaching conversations?

  • A coach should ensure he or she is focused on their coaching partner by creating a dedicated coaching presence. If the coach appears distracted or unfocused, the coaching partner will likely not come back for coaching.

  • A coach should make sure that any time committed to the coaching partner is their time. If a coach has too much going on, consider rescheduling the conversation for a better time.


Question 25: Are MyNavy Coaching conversations confidential?

  • Coaching conversations are confidential. Trust between you and your coaching partner are essential to meaningful developmental conversations. 

  • You can trust your coach with sensitive subjects, although mandatory reporting policies still apply for Sailor welfare and safety.


Question 26: When should you end the coaching partnership?

  • Most often, a coaching partner ends the partnership because they have met their goals.

  • A partnership may also end due to insufficient trust, lack of follow-up, or the coaching agreement being broken. Ending a coaching partnership is sometimes the most beneficial option for the situation.


Question 27: Why is empathy important in coaching?

  • Empathy allows your coaching partner to feel heard, contributes to breakthroughs, and provides a more accurate understanding of their perceptions and concerns.

  • Empathy helps to create trust and rapport, de-escalate tense situations, provides insight, teaches presence, guides understanding, sharpens people’ skills, and cultivates better communication.


Question 28: How is empathy displayed in a coaching session?

  • Empathy is displayed by taking the perspective of the coaching partner by seeing things through their eyes, staying free of judgment by being open to their feelings, recognizing their emotions, and communicating to validate their experience.

  • Remember that empathizing means you are connecting with your coaching partner’s emotions.


Question 29: What are powerful questions in coaching?

  • Powerful questions are questions that lead to discovery, insight, and a commitment to action. They are the result of active listening and understanding your coaching partner’s perspective by paraphrasing what you hear. 

  • The progression from listening, to paraphrasing, to asking powerful questions yields clarity, encourages reflection, and promotes expanded learning.


Question 30: What is the purpose of asking powerful questions?

  • Powerful questions allow the coaching partner to provide insights, ideas, and perspectives. These questions are thought-provoking, as the coaching partner may never have been asked to look at a situation from that perspective.

  • Powerful questions push a coaching partner toward a future-facing, action-focused thought process.


Question 31:  What questions should you avoid asking during a coaching session?

  • The types of questions a coach should avoid asking include close-ended, rhetorical, leading, and “why” questions.

  • These questions reduce the number of responses that can be given, don’t promote sharing additional information, and can shut your partner down.


Question 32: What is the GROW Model, and how is it used in coaching conversations?

  • The GROW Model is a 4-step process to guide coaching conversations.

  • Goal: What are your goals, aspirations, problems, challenges, or opportunities? Reality: What is your current situation, internal and external obstacles? Options: What are the possibilities, your strengths, and resources? Will: What actions will you take, how will you follow up, and take accountability?


 Question 33: How is coaching being implemented across the fleet?

  • MyNavy Coaching is for all Sailors. Content is being implemented in all Navy leadership schools and accession points. The MyNavy Coaching team is supporting commands and communities through training and including coaching in existing processes such as mid-term counseling.


Question 34: What is the focus during a coaching session?

  • Every coaching session begins with determining the purpose of the conversation. Coaching conversations last somewhere from 30-60 minutes.

  • The coach sets the stage for the entire coaching partnership by focusing on short and long-term goals. Once the goal is established, both members are accountable and responsible for the outcome.


Question 35: What is accountability in a coaching partnership?

  • Accountability in the coaching partnership is what makes your coaching effective in terms of holding your coaching partner accountable to meeting or achieving their desired goal(s).

  • The coaching partnership can struggle if the coaching partner doesn’t do the development work in between the coaching sessions to move toward desired end goals.


Question 36: Why is responsibility important in a coaching partnership?

  • Coaching places the responsibility on the coaching partner so that they are invested in their own development. The coach’s job is to support the partner along the way to help them reach their goals.

  • As the coach asks powerful questions, the coaching partner will create their own solutions, establishing a sense of ownership.


Question 37: Who leads the coaching conversation? 

  • The coaching partner leads by providing content for the conversation. The coaching partner owns their own development and commits to being coached and engaged in the process.

  • The coach is there to facilitate the discovery and the coaching partner’s pursuit of their own goals. A coach’s job is to support the coaching partner by providing a framework to guide the conversation.


Question 38: Who is accountable for providing a plan of action?

  • At the end of the coaching session, the coaching partner will come up with a plan and follow-up with the coach to provide updates.

  • The coaching partner drives their own development with support and encouragement from the coach. Coaching provides built-in accountability and responsibility on behalf of the coaching partner so that individuals are driving their own development.


Question 39: What is a growth mindset in coaching?

  • A growth mindset includes being open to asking for feedback, self-reflective, and learning from everyday experiences.

  • An open-minded coaching partner is willing to try new things, committed to improvement, and won’t take feedback personally. They set realistic expectations and goals, get outside their comfort zone, and don’t believe they are always right.


Question 40: How does coaching maximize warfighting performance?

  • In order to unlock potential and maximize warfighting performance, coaching can be leveraged as a developmental, communication, and leadership skill. 

  • Coaching engages Sailors by asking open-ended questions from a place of curiosity and interest. Learning with our Sailors improves performance and our Navy team as a whole.


Question 41: How does a coaching culture impact the Navy?

  • Coaching allows us to future-proof the Navy by empowering our Sailors through relationships and partnerships. It helps Sailors to self-assess and embrace an honest look at their performance. 

  • Renovating ourselves through coaching contributes to our Navy culture that continually enhances performance. It is a commitment to self-correct by applying proven methods of improvement in a focused and disciplined way.


Question 42: How does coaching increase retention?

  • Coaching advances the Navy’s culture and mission by helping Sailors take accountability of their own development, supporting Sailors instead of judging them, and facilitating development instead of dictating what needs to be done. 

  • To remain the world’s strongest Navy, we must have consistently strong performance. As a result,the Navy will retain the most motivated and talented Sailors who contribute to its overall success. 


Question 43: How can coaching be to improve connection? 

  • The goal of coaching is to build a stronger, more lethal force by developing a more connected force. This is achieved by Sailors becoming more involved in one anothers’ development. 

  • Leaders helping their Sailors set and achieve goals through coaching is a cultural renovation. Coaching develops a culture that is engaged with each other and improves our Navy mission.


Question 44: How does neuroscience impact coaching?

  • Neuroscience focuses on the brain and its impact on behavior and cognitive functions. As a coach you will help to direct a course of action and intentional behaviors.

  • A shift in your coaching partner’s thinking allows them to be more present in the moment, less fearful, and more optimistic, which stimulates neuroplasticity and leads to substantial changes in behavior.


Question 45: What is emotional intelligence (EI) in coaching?

  • EI is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict.

  • As a coach, you must care about building trust, motivating the team, having difficult conversations with empathy, and navigating change and uncertainty. Understanding EI can help Sailors reach peak performance and create lasting coaching partnerships.


Question 46: How does coaching improve relationship management?

  • Relationship management is a skill that can be used to develop, influence, and inspire others to be a catalyst for change by utilizing various techniques to facilitate positive change.

  • The techniques include focusing on developing others, moving people toward a shared mission, recognizing the need for change, as well as using teamwork, conflict management, and influence to bring about positive change.


Question 47: How can trust and rapport be built in a coaching partnership?

  • Trust and rapport are essential to coaching and can be built simultaneously. When a coach and coaching partner have established trust in the relationship, the coaching partner is more likely to discuss their goals. Trust relies on establishing a reputation for reliability, consistency, and keeping your word.

  • Rapport focuses on establishing a bond or connection where communication is enhanced and feelings are shared by creating mutual understanding, trust, and empathy.


Question 48: What does diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) bring to coaching?

  • Coaching that focuses on DEI brings caring, candor, and constructiveness to any conversation. DEI is meant to ensure all Sailors have the opportunity to succeed and contribute to mission success.

  • Coaching moves people beyond their biases by helping them separate the observable facts from the interpretation or meaning they create. DEI in coaching can be used to shift perceptions and allow you to see reality from another point of view.


Question 49: How can you use coaching as an everyday skill as a supervisor?

  • Supervisors who integrate coaching skills into their leadership style on a daily basis provide opportunities to ask thought-provoking questions, which allows Sailors to think through plans, goals, and challenges for themselves.

  • Implementing coaching skills shows you are a leader who cares about Sailors as people and as valued contributors. Coaching behaviors also support problem-solving and development, and lead to longer-term, more productive relationships. 


Question 50: How is Sailor Well-Being important in coaching?

  • Coaching can improve the well-being of Sailors by creating relationships that are trusting and authentic. The contribution a Sailor makes to their Navy team and how meaningful their contribution is increases the feeling of well-being.

  • Coaches can engage in a trusting partnership with Sailors, empowering coaching partners to create a solid development plan and development experience. The presence of a coaching culture can create higher levels of engagement and improve the level of a Sailor’s well-being.


Question 51: How can coaching increase performance?

  • The Navy is focused on improving and modernizing the way we currently manage talent and performance through a focus on individual development. Coaching is a way to implement and enhance Sailor development and performance.

  • Coaching increases performance by helping Sailors improve their contribution in their job role based on developmental conversations and feedback received.


Question 52: What is the best way to ensure coaching is effective?

  • For coaching to be effective, there must be commitment, accountability, and a willingness on both parts to engage in a partnership. 

  • Coaching provides an opportunity to discuss concerns, barriers, and goals. Coaching rewards ownership, ingenuity, and helps remove barriers in communication while facilitating development.

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