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Last Update: Wednesday June 23, 2021

Key Idea: Use Four Steps To Coach Employees

Employees at Tire Plus know what is expected of them and if they are meeting those expectations.

Key Question:


Be clear about what you want people to accomplish.

Very few people can read your mind. You might think your spouse or partner can. However, we doubt an employee can know you so well and be in such sync with you that you can float through the business and the things you want to see happen just happen. In the very funny movie released in 2000 called, "What Women Want," Mel Gibson played a Chicago advertising executive who was able read women's minds. This ability turned out to be a tremendous asset but sadly, most of us can't do it.

How does Tom "do" communication?

First he tries to understand the expectations of the other person. Next he gives his instructions in clear, plain language. Third, he offers feedback. Finally, he asks the person he is working with to tell him how he is doing. This fourth step is hard because people at first are shy to tell you the truth especially if they have something negative to say.

Tom says that to get true feedback from another person may mean you have to ask at least three times!

Think about it

What are your strengths and weaknesses with it comes to your communication skills? Which of these four steps do you do well? Which do you do poorly? What can you do to improve?

Clip from: Tires Plus with Tom Gegax and Don Gullet

Minneapolis: In 1978, Tom Gegax and his partner Don Gullet, bought a few gas stations and opened for business. By 1998, they had 150 tire stores with 2,000 employees generating $200 million in annual sales.

That's a good story unto itself, however, in this episode of the show, we learn from a master entrepreneur about the meaning and value of life. Tom Gegax is pulling and pushing us up the ladder. When they sold this business, he became an author. His third book, The Big Book About Small Business  builds on his first two,  By the Seat of Your Pants: The No-Nonsense Business Survival Guide, and Winning in the Game of Life.

The first editorial title for Tom's book was The Enlightened Executive. And with all these self-help books and continuous improvement cycles within our lives, enlightenment is actually breaking out all over.

Tom Gegax was a founder, the Head Coach, as well as Chairman and CEO.  In 1999 they were being courted for acquisition.  In 2000 Bridgestone/Firestone sealed the deal to buy 100% of the company.

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Gegax Management & Tires Plus

Tom Gegax, founder

Gegax Management Systems
PO Box 16323
Minneapolis, MN 55416

Visit our web site:

Office: 612-920-5114

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Year Founded:

Use Four Steps To Coach Employees

HATTIE: Give our viewers some self-coaching techniques as they're walking through their businesses and trying to solve problems on a daily basis in real time.

TOM: I think there are four steps, that if a small business owner misses any one of these four steps, then their relationship with either their employees or their spouse, which is critical in any business is at risk.

The first is to understand the other -- the expectations of their employees. Truly understand what do they expect out of being here, rather than just, "Hey, you need to do this, you need to do that."

What do they expect.

The second is what they expect of them. Being clear. We sometimes think employees should be mind readers. They really need to be able to understand, "Okay, what do you like in terms of hours?" What about your specifics -- what kind of things you want me to do? You know, those kind of things really need to be clear.

Then the third step is to be able to give them feedback on how their doing.

HATTIE: That's the coaching.

TOM: Yeah, that's the coaching. I mean, giving them the immediate feedback … that we talked about earlier.

The fourth step is asking, "How we're doing as managers or leaders or coaches?" We rarely ask that one. "Hey, how am I doing?" And you know what they usually say, 'Oh, you're doing fine.'

Okay. Then what a leader should say -- there's an old, called a rule of three. People will lie until the third time. So you ask him, 'How am I doing?' They say, 'Great.'

Then you say, 'Are you sure? Come on.' 'Yeah, you're doing great.' 'Come on, you're not telling me there isn't -'

So finally they say, 'Well there are a few things.' So you say, 'What are the three things you like about how I'm doing? And, what are three things that I can do better? And, you start saying that to certain employees, wow, you're going to hear some powerful things.

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