The Activity
A common fault of would-be coaches is to ‘know’ what needs to be done and then ‘tell’ a person how. In fact a good coach needs more subtle skills – an ability to listen, show empathy and not be judgmental. A coach is not all-knowing nor the ‘expert’. In this activity, carried out in threes, one person is coached in a unique but simple counting system that uses wooden blocks. A second person, acting as coach, is there to help but under strict guidelines. He/she, for example, cannot touch the blocks. A third person, the observer, checks that rules are followed and notes what happens. Can the coach actually keep their hands off the blocks, perform a true coaching role and guide the person to a full understanding of the counting system. To many people coaching doesn’t come naturally – but it’s easier once you know how!

Trainer's Role

  • Divide the group into threes – a coach, an individual to be coached and an observer. With odd numbers drop the observer
  • Before the coaching session starts ask all coaches to form one group, all individuals a second group and all the observers a third
  • Issue each group with the appropriate Brief.Allow time to read, discuss and plan for their particular roles in the coaching session
  • Re-form in groups of three - coach, individual,observer and begin the coaching session. Allow30 - 40 minutes
  • Near the end give each observer a Test Numbers card to test the success of the coaching session
  • Form the groups back into plenary and discuss what happened in each coaching session. List the key learning that emerged
  • Issue the Key Points Handout to consolidate the learning. 

Trainer’s Notes contain full guidance and a mass of back-up information on coaching skills.

Learning Benefits

  • stresses that the key role of the coach is to uncover and guide
  • stresses that coaching is not about all-knowing, telling gurus
  • provides a coaching situation in which to practise coaching skills like listening, questioning and choosing words carefully
  • illustrates the importance of creating a self-discovery scenario
  • identifies the need to ‘read’ the person being coached – what approaches work and what do not.

No. of People
For up to 12 people in sets of three

1 Hour

 Pack Contents

  • Trainer’s Notes
  • CD (with reprint files)
  • Coaches Briefs
  • Individuals’ Briefs
  • Observers’ Briefs
  • Test Numbers Card
  • Key Points Handout
  • Sets of Wood Cubes

Customer Feedback

Great fun
"Excellent hands-on learning."
- K. Houseman, Consultant

Very useful outcomes
"Very positive feedback from delegates who found the session very useful."
- M. Eastwood, Consultant

Another good Northgate game
"Challenging but enjoyable and brings out many practical points about mentoring or coaching."
-M. Miles, Elite Training Intl.
1 hour
Product Type
Course ID

See 'Pack Contents'


Download 2983 Coaching and Mentoring Factsheet

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