Part of being a leader is being a coach. I struggle with this. While I’m willing to take responsibility for the results of my own actions, I second-guess or question how my perspective is valuable to another person. I’m coming to realize this perspective is incorrect. Coaching is not about giving advice or influencing; it’s really about helping another person move forward toward their best selves.
Great Coaching Is:
See the best in another person
Show this to them
Hold them accountable to become this
To coach another person is a gift and it comes from a place of deep caring. We can choose to be intentional. We can choose to be present. We are investing in this other person. Can we see something in them they can’t see in themselves?
Those of us in leadership positions encounter many coaching opportunities. People come to us for help, for answers, and for support. Many of theses conversations are coaching opportunities. Instead of giving answers, start asking questions. “What do you think is the best possible outcome here?” “What could you change about how you’re handling this currently, to get an even better result?” “How do you feel about the team’s performance so far?”
To be prepared to shift into a coaching mode at any time, I’ve found it helpful to practice asking the kinds of questions that elicit thought and learning within the other person. (Sample list below.)
Sample list of coaching questions. This is a starting point. Create more!
How would you describe yourself when you are doing your best work?
What are you not doing that you would like to do?
Which beliefs and attitudes no longer serve you well?
What does your intuition tell you?
What would a person you admire greatly do?
What will this change mean to you and the people most important to you?
What, specifically, are you going to do? When?
What are some of the obstacles you might face?