Archives For coaching

“How can I get my leaders to do a better job coaching their teams?”

That’s a question I frequently field from the executives and HR partners I support. I hope you’ve asked that question for yourself as well, because it means developing your team is high on your radar. I’ve shared the key skills of coaching as well as my favorite coaching conversational model GROW. That said, a new question arises, which is when should you coach and when shouldn’t you?

If you get this question wrong, you’re likely to either confuse your team or neglect to use your coaching skills to their maximum effectiveness. But if you get it right, you’ll grow as a coach and so will your employees.

Here are three situations when you should not coach and five situations when you should.

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The new three-part video series Jump-Start Your Employee Engagement has now launched. Join communication expert Josh Erickson and myself for three ideas in three days – all in four minutes or less. This video series will only be available for a limited time – click here to enroll.

How do people learn to be leaders?

That’s the question leadership consultant and thought leader Robert J. Thomas answered at a leadership academy event I recently helped organize. Speaking from his book Crucibles of Leadership, Thomas demonstrated that simply taking a course on leadership would do little to transform leadership abilities. In fact, knowledge plays only a small role in a leader’s effectiveness, despite the high price often invested in higher education.

Here is a sample of the elements that transform ordinary people into great leaders.

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Becoming a Coaching Leader

December 5, 2016

We hear so much about coaching these days. Leaders need to coach more. Employees need more coaching. High performers need coaching. Low performers need coaching. As leaders, how can we know we’ve done enough? And what does a quality coaching conversation actually look like in action?

Over the years, I’ve adopted a simple definition of coaching: “To coach is to develop another person by listening and asking questions to clarify ideas and commit to action.”

If you look closely, you’ll notice five key characteristics. I’ve listed each of them out below:

Business Conversation

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When you’re new to the workforce, enjoying leadership success can be a far off goal. The main focus is finding the right role and doing quality work. I know that was the case for me. But with time and experience (and a lot of hard work) come new opportunities to lead at higher levels. You go from joining a team to leading a team to eventually leading a department or major organizational function. Each time the strategy shifts.

A couple years ago I was privileged to have Mark Miller guest post on my site about surviving success. We all need a game plan to kick off a new opportunity. But our behavior needs an adjustment as well.

In his bestseller What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, executive coach Marshall Goldsmith shares twenty habits that can be largely overlooked at lower organizational levels, but have the potential to absolutely derail a senior leader who doesn’t change course. There isn’t room to share them all in this post, but I’d like to highlight five extra critical ones. Fail to implement them, and your best people may go looking for a new leader.

Man Stuck on Ladder

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When was the last time someone came to you with a problem? Did you solve it for them? If so, you may have missed out on a development opportunity – both for that person and yourself.

If you’re looking for problems to solve, you’ll find them everywhere. New managers want to pick up the slack. Department leaders can find it easier deal with problems themselves than let others handle them. By the time an executive assignment comes around, leaders can sometimes be addicted to addressing smaller issues – at expense of their own effectiveness with a staff trained to consistently feed their problems up the chain.

I’d like to share a simple conversational model that can change the entire way you approach the problems that come your way. Whether you’re an executive coach or a frontline manager (or have an hour to invest or five minutes), it will allow you to develop the problem-solving skills of the people you lead rather than addressing each issue yourself. Here’s how works.

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Book 3D image v2I’m happy to announce that last week I posted my first ebook Trusted Leadership Advisor: Accelerating the Leadership Journey of Others.

You don’t have to be special to be a leader and you don’t have to be an expert to help other leaders succeed. You can start right now, right where you are.

Trusted Leadership Advisor is a compilation of some of my previous posts on this topic. In the ebook, I show you how to think about your role as a trusted leadership advisor, what to say and how to get started. Take a look – and if you find it helpful, please share it.

I’d also appreciate your feedback. This is my first ebook and I want to know if the format, structure and ideas prove to be helpful for you. You can leave me a comment below or contact me directly.

There’s so much work to do – let’s work together!

The term “coaching” has been trending as a corporate buzzword for some time now. We’re all familiar with athletics coaches. But when someone advises us to find a coach to learn a new skill or solve problem, it’s usually in a professional context. What does it actually mean to coach someone?

The interesting thing about coaching is how dynamic of a leadership role it is. Supervisors can coach. Mentors can coach. Peers can coach. Executive coaches can coach (obviously). Just about anyone can coach at one time or another.

Whether you have the opportunity to be coached or to be a coach, let’s take a look at six things coaching leaders do that set them apart.

Business People Talking

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How to Ask Great Questions

August 18, 2014

What if I told you you don’t need to have a great solution for every single problem that comes your way in order to be a competent and mature leader? Well that’s exactly what I’m about to propose. Hopefully it’s as refreshing to you as it is to me. And the best part about it is that it can dramatically improve your leadership influence as well.

Question Marks

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Have you ever had a coach, teacher, or mentor in your formative years who pushed you to be more than you thought you could become on your own? If so, you’ll strongly appreciate this month’s leadership profile featuring my high school football coach, Dick Burton – even if you’ve never been an athlete.

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Have you ever considered hiring a leadership coach? Do you know someone who has a coach? Contrary to popular opinion, coaches are not just a luxury service for the rich and famous (as one of my past clients once believed). Writers hire writing coaches, speakers hire speaking coaches, actors hire acting coaches, and quarterbacks hire quarterback coaches. Why should leaders be any different?

Leadership CoachingMany leaders hire a coach when they want to gain clarity, explore future opportunities, form an action plan, or resolve a leadership challenge. They share conversations either on a regular or intermittent basis. Coaches are champions of the clients’ vision. But coaches aren’t saviors. Let’s take a look at some of the things a coach won’t do for you.

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Listen Your Way to the Top

February 25, 2013

In recent years, we’ve seen a new emphasis on the art of listening. It can’t be because listening is all of a sudden more important than it ever was before. Maybe the nature of work in the information age means the the cost of misunderstanding is higher. Or maybe our experts and trainers have been burned by poor listening and decided to produce more thought leadership on the topic.

At any rate, many studies demonstrate the importance of listening. We are apparently able to listen about 3 times faster than we can speak, but we also forget most of what we’ve heard. Listening been identified as one of the top qualities employers seek. And the ability to listen well has been tied to the ability to lead.

Listening Kid

Everyone wants to be hired, to lead well, and to experience true understanding in the communication they engage in. So how can we learn to listen more effectively? There are many solutions for growth, but one of the first may be to understand the various levels of listening that exist. Here are five of the most common ones:

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I’m a sucker for leadership philosophies embraced by successful athletics coaches. Whether it’s Coack K on teamwork or Coach Burton on developing high school kids, I always come away with something powerful and enriching. I think the reason is that athletics provides one of the greatest leadership development opportunities out there because players learn to work as a team toward a common goal in a competitive environment. In short, it’s leadership development training for life.

Coach Bill Snyder

If you follow college football at all, you might have been surprised when Kansas State University climbed to #1 in the BCS Poll at one point this football season. Continue Reading…