How Leaders Become Better Coaches

I have recently been developing new material to instruct and empower leaders on the benefits of becoming a better coach. Coaching, when applied and executed correctly can really stimulate and foster tremendous growth in performance. While developing this new material, I recently asked in a group session what are some of the qualities that should be demonstrated by a coach in order to have the ability to speak into people’s lives and become more effective.

The question: How should effective leaders who coach be?

The answers:

Be open
Be fair
Be affirming
Be serving
Be listening
Be respectful
Be accepting
Be humble
Be thankful
Be available
Be supportive
Be focused


Coaching is a process. Leaders should use coaching to serve as a growth guide and trusted advisor to each other. Looking at the list we developed, you can see how coaching requires a lot of mutual accountability and trust. These things are developed through patience and continual practice. Leaders must understand that you will not execute coaching someone perfectly the first, or any time, for that matter. It isn’t that you execute the coaching perfectly every time, but you do demonstrate the qualities to the best of your ability as a leader who coaches.

Learn to be open. I think this may be one of the hardest attributes leaders who coach have to remember. So often, we hedge our thoughts and feelings, especially if we have a deep need to be liked or accepted. Leaders who coach must learn it is not often about you, but about the person you are trying to help. At the same time, if you are a leader who is coaching an employee within your supervision or organization, keeping mutual benefits in mind and in goals is powerful. The more you can learn to be straightforward and candid with a high degree of empathy and a large dose of care, the more effective you will be as a leader who coaches.

Leadership behaviors to practice while coaching:

Observe: watch and be highly aware of what your colleague is doing

Exchange: be mindful, discuss and exchange thoughts about the topics

Question: be interested and curious about the other person

Generous: offer your best ideas on improvement and process

Belief: have a high degree of belief in the other person and challenge them to develop some solutions and approaches

What other qualities or behaviors do you think can add to leaders who coach?

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