Effective coaching is actually about future performance. Often confused for mentoring, coaching is fundamentally different. To give some context, a mentor sits in the seat as an expert, sharing their knowledge and teaching an individual to become proficient in a subject. A coach turns that proficiency into confidence so the coachee can get comfortable and apply it in new situations. Coaching offers many rewards in the long term—however, coaching itself is a skill that requires development.  

Coaching is a Leader’s Responsibility

Coaching is one of the biggest challenges of being a leader. In my 20 years of experience, I’ve found that the leadership level doesn’t matter—from emerging professional to entrepreneur—coaching is tough! It’s easier to tell your team what to do, so many leaders simply do that. Yet, would you believe that coaching impacts performance and profitability? Yes, it has the power to impact every aspect of an organization and its customers. So if you’re not actively coaching your team already, now is the perfect time to get an understanding of coaching and add it to your leadership toolkit.  

The Key Is Knowing When to Coach

Coaching is not always the right response. As stated above, an individual must already be proficient in an area before they can be effectively coached, so if they’re not ready, you’re not going to make progress. However, when they are well-trained, you can move them to the next level of expertise and help them take effective actions more and more independently.  

The Secret is Asking Powerful Questions…

If you ask “why,” you’ve already limited the answer. It’s important to start questions with “what” or “how” to open the coachee to possibilities, rather than put them on the defense or get them thinking too analytically. Coaching is about sparking ideas and learning in the moment. You’ll know you’ve asked the right question when you get a pause—when your coachee is thinking about the question and coming to a new understanding as they answer it. This moment is evidence of successful coaching and it’s the one that motivates me the most!  

…And the Rewards Are Great

It’s exciting to see a coachee progress from being proficient to becoming an expert. And more than that, it’s beneficial to your entire organization. How? Well, once a coachee starts applying their expertise and making better decisions, your confidence in them grows. This allows you to delegate more decisions to them, multiplying your effectiveness as a leader. From there, they become more engaged and fulfilled in their work. This is passed on to the customer through the coachee’s commitment to exceptional service, which creates more satisfaction. The end result is loyalty on all sides—from your team members and customers—and this drives revenue for higher profitability. That’s a big win for your organization, your team and you as a leader. Are you ready to enhance your coaching skills? Click here to look at our guide with 9 coaching questions for problem-solving and start practicing them. Once you make this a regular part of your leadership approach, you’ll see progressive results—individual, team and customer satisfaction will increase exponentially. But, don’t just take our word for it. Try it and see what happens!  

Worldwide Copyright TJ Associates, LLC DBA Blueprint Leadership Diane Kucala, April 2019