The leader as a coach

I’ve worked with companies to develop their leaders as coaches. It’s great to see how organisations are understanding that taking a coaching approach can lead to self-awareness and development within teams and plenty of ‘aha’ moments. So here are a few coaching skills if you have never tried this before, or want to brush up your skills.

  • Listen – I mean really listen without interruption and thinking about what you want to say. Try and remain neutral and put the ego aside
  • Try and match and mirror the other person’s body language. This can relax the conversation and lead to empathy with the other person’s viewpoint. Don’t overdo it though so you look like you are mimicking someone
  • Ask open questions- simple, open questions – what will you do next? When will you do that? What resources do you need? This allows your colleague to think on their feet and come up with their own solutions, which in my experience, is a characteristic many organisations wish to encourage
  • Ask your colleague to summarise the conversation. Ask them to relay back what they have understood and what the key actions are
  • You can certainly recommend resources and certainly offer some ‘in my experience’ type guidance but ensure that the other person understands that this is just that – your experience and they may have a very different take on how to approach and resolve this problem. Avoid asking a question, and then just giving a download of what you would do – it’s actually really demotivating as you cut off ideas from the other person!

Coaching is a really enjoyable process as the responsibility shifts to the other person to find a way forward and takes the pressure off you as the manager or leader. You will also find by listening and leaving that space for the other person to consider what they would do, you will discover invaluable information about what makes them tick and how they approach problems.

For more information on this subject and how you can improve performance with coaching, contact me at