Coaching lies at the heart of leadership, but for most, the skill is not natural but has to be honed through instruction, practice, and experience. According to Jim Clifton, author of It’s The Manager, “If leaders were to prioritize one action, Gallup recommends that they equip their managers to become coaches.” Today, we are going to share with you our top coaching tips for leaders as well as valuable insights into the challenges of coaching.

Overcoming Challenges in Coaching

In the realm of leadership development, coaching encompasses the process of training, instructing, and guiding others toward growth and success. Coaching creates several challenges for leaders despite its immense potential, primarily due to its time-consuming nature, the inconvenience it may pose amidst busy schedules, and the occasional discomfort or awkwardness it entails. This, in turn, can lead to problems with providing feedback, but we’ve got the solution.

The Four-Part Formula for Giving Feedback

Effective feedback is crucial for fostering growth and development within a team. To deliver feedback constructively, leaders can employ a four-part formula that ensures clarity, empathy, and actionable insights.

Step 1: Getting the Micro-Yes

Begin the feedback conversation by seeking permission to discuss a specific topic. For example, say something like, “Do you mind if we have a conversation about the last meeting?” This approach establishes a connection and creates a receptive environment for the upcoming discussion.

Step 2: Use Concrete Data-Point

When providing feedback, be specific—providing specific examples or data points to illustrate the behavior or performance being addressed. Vague feedback like “sometimes you’re not clear” is unhelpful. Instead, concrete evidence helps individuals understand the context and impact of their actions. For example, “In this email, you stated XYZ. Your team member found this section confusing because of XYZ. Next time, could you please do XYZ.”

Step 3: Utilize Impact Statements

Just telling people what they did wrong doesn’t have the same effect as explaining the consequences that go along with it. Therefore, it is vital to share how the behavior or performance in question affects you, the team, or the organization. This can encourage reflection and greater care so as not to repeat the same action. To expand our statement from earlier, “In this email, you stated XYZ. Your team member found this section confusing because of XYZ. Due to this, they ended up spending 5 hours doing an incorrect task. Next time, could you please do XYZ.”

Step #4: End on a Question

Conclude the feedback conversation by inviting the individual to share their perspective or insights. Remember, lectures often go in one ear and out the other. Ending with a question fosters engagement, encourages dialogue, and demonstrates a commitment to mutual understanding and growth.

Of course, while feedback is a powerful tool for coaching and development, its effectiveness depends on how individuals receive and process it. When delivering feedback, it’s essential to consider the dynamics of how individuals react, including:

  • Their Baseline: The general mood level
  • Their Swing: The deviation from the baseline after receiving feedback
  • Their Recovery Time: The time it takes to return to baseline

9 Coaching Tips for Leaders

Here are nine practical coaching tips for leaders to effectively nurture and develop their teams, fostering a culture of growth and excellence.

  1. Ask lots of questions
  2. Lean into awkward moments
  3. Aim to form small, consistent deposits of time
  4. Reframe messages
  5. Trest everyone equally
  6. Use clear language with specific examples
  7. Remember that people change over time, not overnight
  8. Do not be afraid to recommend when it is time for someone to move on
  9. Remain coachable

Elevate Your Leadership with PeopleWorks

Do you want to create leaders you can count on? Invest in your leadership journey with PeopleWorks International. Our comprehensive consulting services, including training, workshops, coaching, and assessments, empower leaders to unlock their full potential and drive organizational success. Contact us today to embark on your leadership transformation.

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