Coaching your team well is a hallmark of leadership excellence. As a leader, you’re responsible for equipping your people to think differently, meet great challenges and ultimately succeed. But their success will be a hollow victory if they never take ownership of their own development.
This is essential for every leader to understand, and anyone who has participated in athletics or raised a child likely knows this concept to be true. Coaches want their players to be able to perform on the field without having to be told what to do for each play. Likewise, parents work to instill in their children the values and traits necessary to eventually step out on their own and live fulfilling lives.
After more than 20 years of coaching clients to coach their teams, we’ve found the following three tips to be foundational for coaching your team and equipping them well.
Presence and availability are precious commodities in today’s fast-paced work environment. Jumping from one meeting to the next, always keeping one eye on your phone for that inevitable email ping, tends to be the standard practice. This level of distraction stands in the way of the fundamental condition for effective coaching, which is presence.
Before you meet with a direct report one-on-one or head to that team development workshop, acknowledge the residue clinging to your mind from daily distractions. Take a minute to address it and set it aside so you can completely focus on coaching your people in that moment. If you’re not fully present, your team won’t be fully engaged, and you won’t see lasting transformation.
Growth comes only when we truly understand who we are and where we are. If you don’t have a solid grasp of where point A is, you can’t navigate to point B. That’s why it’s critical you know each person you lead and what they bring to the team: their tendencies, limitations and potential.
Personality profiles and strengths assessments are great tools for gaining this awareness. Such knowledge protects against setting your people up for failure by putting them in positions where their gifting and talents aren’t used. By knowing your people and helping them understand their own current realities, you can build trust and help them position themselves to succeed.
For leaders who aim to coach their people with excellence, one of the main responsibilities is helping their people see situations from multiple angles. It’s easy for individuals, when they’re in the thick of solving a problem or making a decision, to zero in on one particular idea and have difficulty thinking differently. You can bring value in your capacity as a leader by spinning the perspective for them and helping them take a course they wouldn’t have otherwise taken.
This doesn’t mean giving them the answer or telling them exactly what to do. Instead, you want to press in and push them beyond the comfort of their usual line of thinking, helping them to uncover the best solutions from within themselves.
This week as you lead your team, keep these three tips for coaching your team in mind. Be sure that your focus is on helping your people grow to where they can meet great challenges and craft solutions to the big questions for themselves. Your team and your organization will be better for it.
If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a coaching leader, we offer workshops in team development as well as one-on-one coaching for leaders, teams and organizations. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
This is an updated version of an earlier post, originally published April 26, 2017.