October 04, 2021

Basics of Coaching for Leaders: How to Lead More Effectively?

Sam Caucci

We need more coaches today. 

In the past, leaders and managers focused on aiming for success by telling others what to do and how to do it. Your job was to command and control, and your main goal was to instruct and develop your employees to understand how the business worked and was able to continually reproduce previous success. 

Today, you could say the game has made a complete 180-degree turn. Quick, disruptive change has become the norm, and what brought you success in the first place cannot be a guide to future success. The managers of today simply won’t have all the right answers at any given time. 

To deal with this new reality, companies are moving away from traditional practices that aim to control, and moving towards models where leaders are there to support and guide their teams rather than dole out instructions. From there, employees learn how they can adapt to changing environments that promote innovation, engagement, and commitment. 

To put it more concisely, the role of the leader is now becoming that of a coach.

Coaching is increasingly becoming an essential part of the learning culture in a workplace environment and is now a skill that all good leaders must hone. 

What is Coaching?

When we talk about coaching, we mean a broader approach than simply hiring a consultant to help executives develop their professional skills. We are talking about the kind of coaching that is ongoing and is carried out by individuals who work inside the organization. These are interactions that all leaders should engage in with their teams at all times and in ways that help contribute to the workplace culture and help progress its mission. 

Coaching is the process of improving performance in the present, rather than looking at the past or the future. Think of the coach not as an expert, but as a tool or a facilitator of learning. There is a difference between teaching someone and helping them learn. During coaching, the coach will help the individual improve their own performance, or, help them learn. 

A good coach understands that an individual holds the answer to their own problems, but they might need a bit of help to find the answers.

Effective leaders as coaches are able to ask questions instead of directing and providing answers, support employees instead of critiquing them, and help to facilitate their personal and professional development instead of telling them what needs to be done. 

The Basics of Coaching

If you don’t know where to start, here are some of a few basic steps that are typically included in coaching for leaders.

Take a look at the situation.

Assess the situation in order to decide what type of coaching is necessary. Sometimes, full situational coaching including directive and nondirective coaching is not required. 

There are times where people might simply need to be told what to do. Other times, it might be more appropriate to offer non-directive coaching and nothing more. It’s also possible that they don’t need any coaching at all, and just want a listening ear. 

Actively listen.

A good rule that can benefit any situation is to simply shut up and listen. Take in what your team and others are telling you, and be aware of the messages that their tone of voice and body language are conveying.

Don’t listen to respond, instead, listen to understand. Avoid jumping in and taking over, instead, you should occasionally repeat what you are hearing to make sure you got things right. Leave room for silence, as the most important details usually come out of that silence.

Use open-ended questions.

Asking only yes or no questions is an effective way to shut down thinking. Open-ended ones do the opposite. These questions don’t have to be complex, you can ask something as simple as “what else?” These types of questions will help to demonstrate your authentic interest and belief in the individual that you are trying to coach

Practice non-directive coaching.

Try to practice non-directive coaching outside of work, until you are confident that you can do it well. You know you are getting good at it when people that you speak to start to have “aha!” moments, or thank you for your advice even though you might feel you didn’t teach them anything. 

We live in a constantly changing world. Successful leaders need to be able to supplement their knowledge of the industry with their capacity for learning. And they must do this with the individuals that they supervise.

Managers can no longer command and control. And rewarding team members for executing things they already know how to do won’t help either. 

Instead, with full support from their organization, they will need to reinvent themselves as coaches whose job it is to draw innovation and engagement out of the teams that they work with. 

Level Up Your Team With 1Huddle

1Huddle can help you and your team stay ahead of the learning curve. We offer cloud-based employee gamification software. You can customize your content for a seamless experience and all of your employees will be able to access their training anywhere, anytime, and at the push of a button. You can use our game platform to measure their performance and make key decisions on where you should take your gamification strategy next. 
Do you want to learn more about how 1Huddle can help you level up your workforce? Leave your information on the Talk To Us Page and schedule a call.

Sam Caucci, Founder & CEO at 1Huddle

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