The Navy is searching for coaches to enhance sailor performance, but the deadline to apply is rapidly approaching.

The coaching initiative, part of the Defense Inter-Service Internal Coaching Training Program, is designed to channel regular, constructive feedback to improve “personal and professional goal setting,” according to the Navy.

As a result, the Navy is accepting applications for 24 coaching spots.

Those eligible to apply must be active duty or reservists between the ranks of O-3 and O-5 for officers, or E-6 and above for enlisted personnel.

Applications must be submitted by Oct. 18, and those selected will be notified by Nov. 15.

“Volunteers should have self-awareness, good listening skills, respectfulness and trustworthiness,” a Navy news release said. “They must show sensitivity and discretion towards the issues of others and routinely express encouragement and optimism regardless of the situation. Also, they must be accountable and hold others to that standard.”

Lt. Cmdr. Erica Harris, a certified coach and research psychologist at Navy Personnel Command, is spearheading the initiative and said that the coaching sessions aim to empower a sailor’s professional growth with the support of an ally in the coach.

That means the sailor, or coaching partner, is taking the lead on material for session discussions while the coach listens and asks questions, she said.

“Too often we try to ‘fix’ someone’s problem, issue, or challenge, but in coaching, you’re allowing the coaching partner to come up with the solution,” Harris said, according to the release.

Those selected for the coaching initiative will undergo a multi-service, 16-week virtual training program starting in November, known as the Coaching Culture Facilitator Course.

This initiative should not be confused with mid-term counseling, according to Fleet Master Chief Wes Koshoffer.

“Coaching is not mid-term counseling,” Koshoffer said, according to the release. “Mid-term counseling is tied to performance evaluations. It is indirect feedback and happens only once per evaluation cycle. I would like every leader in the Navy to understand coaching techniques and be able to apply them constantly.”

“Effective coaching sessions are checking where we are at, setting goals, and determining what are some possible opportunities and paths to get there — then committing to some kind of course of action to do that with regular follow-ups,” Koshoffer said.

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