A coaching exercise

I’m delivering a training session on coaching today. One of the exercises I like to use to illustrate how challenging coaching can be is to get the group to build a paper aeroplane.

I normally do this when we’ve had some discussion about what coaching is, we’ve discussed people’s experience of it, and how it can be used at work.

The first part is to ask the group to simply build a paper aeroplane. Once they’ve done it, we all stand at one end of the room and see how they all fly.

The people’s ‘planes who flew the furthest then become the coaches for the next part.

The coaches team up with 1-2 others and their goal is to help the others build a paper aeroplane. The only consideration is that they can’t tell them what to do.

Once completed, we do a download of the exercise and talk about whatever learnings came through.

There are many exercises that help achieve the same, this is my preferred one. Also, for me, it acts as a useful way to link discussions around attitude, skills, knowledge and performance management.

Published by

Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

2 thoughts on “A coaching exercise”

  1. I think this is a great exercise and I’m going to add this to my toolkit – it gives a great approach to coaching without feeling like ‘now we are doing a coaching exercise/role play’.

  2. Hi Victoria,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. This approach tends to be my ethos for most learning sessions. Give the group something tangible to work with once we’ve discussed the theory, and you then surface the learnings, connections, and insights.

    In this example, it’s such a simple task, and the challenge is always not telling the other person what to do.

    I had a great example of how to do it well yesterday where the ‘coach’ was explaning things like:
    – “make sure it has a pointy nose for flight”
    – “it needs to be flat to fly well”

    What she was demonstrating was you can help people understand what makes something work, and then let them figure out how to make it happen.

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