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How to Coach Your Employees

Through coaching, you help people realize their potential by increasing their self-knowledge, perception and understanding. Leaders at all levels may start with the following six best practices.

How to Coach Your Employees

Coaching has grown more popular than any other developmental technique in recent years. For one, people crave person-to-person interaction after two years of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. For another, many organizations find coaching to be a great tool for nurturing talent on an ongoing basis. With the rapid changes in markets and technology, learning and upskilling are becoming an everyday activity for employees at every level – and coaching is a great way to keep people motivated.

Image of: Learning and Development Global Sentiment Survey 2022
Report Summary

Learning and Development Global Sentiment Survey 2022

L&D is situated at an inflection point: It must prove its value to stakeholders at a time when employee skill development matters more than ever.

Donald H. Taylor Donald H. Taylor
Read Summary

The following six steps will help you shift to a coaching leadership style:

1. Align Goals

Coaching leadership is a style that involves recognizing team members’ strengths, weaknesses and motivations to help each individual improve. To become an effective coach, you must invest the time to get to know each person’s abilities and goals. While most managers view organizational goals and people-development goals as different, great coaches view them as the same thing. Concentrate on helping each team member align their personal focus and behaviors with the company’s strategic objectives.

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Image of: The Weekly Coaching Conversation
Book Summary

The Weekly Coaching Conversation

Sound team leadership requires great coaching: Give your team members a lot, and you’ll get a lot in return.

Brian Souza ProductivityDrivers Read Summary
Image of: The Purpose Effect
Book Summary

The Purpose Effect

Purpose-driven firms put principles ahead of profits; still, being purpose-driven is good for business

Dan Pontefract Figure 1 Publishing Read Summary

2. Emphasize Steady Progress

Your job as a coach is to convince team members that they can do more than they ever thought they could. Your coaching conversations should help you learn about each team member’s abilities and the fears that keep each one from maximizing those gifts. Guide your team to set process-oriented, weekly goals and positively reinforce their achievements in light of these objectives. Focus on making your team members a bit better, day in and day out.

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Image of: The Motivation Myth
Book Summary

The Motivation Myth

Motivation grows from small daily successes, not flashes of inspiration.

Jeff Haden Portfolio Read Summary
Image of: Facilitating Breakthrough
Book Summary

Facilitating Breakthrough

Conventional facilitation styles can hinder collaboration. Achieve meaningful change by embracing a more transformative approach.

Adam Kahane Berrett-Koehler Publishers Read Summary

3. Listen

Effective coaches are great listeners. Approach each coaching conversation with a mindset of curiosity. Refrain from drawing up a list of questions in advance. Concentrate on listening without thinking about how you’ll respond or what you should say or ask next. Listen objectively and ask thought-provoking questions to spot patterns and themes in coachees’ words, emotions and body language. Trust yourself and the coaching process to carry the session.

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Image of: The Listening Leader
Book Summary

The Listening Leader

Leaders’ ability to listen determines their success or failure and the fate of their organization.

Emilio Galli Zugaro and Clementina Galli Zugaro FT Press Read Summary
Image of: The Master Coach
Book Summary

The Master Coach

If you want to coach or be coached, read this honest, open description of what it means to coach well.

Gregg Thompson SelectBooks Read Summary
Image of: The Heart of Laser-Focused Coaching
Book Summary

The Heart of Laser-Focused Coaching

Coach your clients to find their own solutions.

Marion Franklin Marion Franklin Read Summary

4. Help Employees Find Their Own Answers

Coaching is not about giving advice. It is about nudging employees toward finding answers by asking the right questions. To become your coachee’s “thinking partner,” use reflective inquiry: Pair statements that spark reflective thinking with questions. Reflective inquiry helps the person you are coaching understand the beliefs and fears that shape their choices. Reflective inquiry also allows people to reframe their initial problem and place it in a larger context. It helps people detect gaps in their logic and clarify their desires and fears affecting their decisions.  

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Questions Are the Answer

Bold questions can lead to great innovations and are essential to human progress.

Hal Gregersen HarperBusiness Read Summary
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Book Summary

Performance Conversations

Replace the annual performance review with more frequent and effective coaching conversations based on powerful questions.

Christopher D. Lee Society For Human Resource Management Read Summary
Image of: Leading with Questions
Book Summary

Leading with Questions

Learn to ask the right questions and listen to the answers you receive.

Michael J. Marquardt Jossey-Bass Inc. Publishers Read Summary
Image of: Coach the Person, Not the Problem
Book Summary

Coach the Person, Not the Problem

As a coach, you can use reflective inquiry to create a thinking partnership with your client.

Marcia Reynolds Berrett-Koehler Publishers Read Summary

5. Help Coachees Shift Into Action

At the end of a coaching session, make a plan on how the coachee wants to put their newly-gained insights into action. Use questions such as, “What will you do with this knowledge?” or “What hurdles might inhibit you from moving forward?” to prompt coachees to develop an action plan. The plan you draw up together should include specific steps and a time frame.

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Book Summary

Neuroscience for Coaches

Neuroscience breakthroughs can make coaches more effective.

Amy Brann Kogan Page Publishers Read Summary
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Podcast Summary

Shift Happens

Feeling stuck? Know someone who is? Apply these coaching tools to shift perspective and move forward.

Marion Franklin and Rory Rowland Coaching for Potential Podcast Read Summary

6. Make Coaching a Habit

Establish “constructive coaching” as an ongoing process that provides developmental feedback to your team members. Schedule weekly coaching conversations. Beyond these more formal one-on-ones, you can integrate coaching behaviors into your daily interactions with people in your life. Making coaching a habit means saying less and asking more. You will not only empower those around you to discover and unleash their potential but also learn new things about others and yourself in the process.

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Book Summary

The Coaching Habit

Asking “seven essential questions” can improve your executive coaching skills.

Michael Bungay Stanier Box of Crayons Press Read Summary
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Podcast Summary

The Coaching Habit

Help others thrive in their jobs while increasing your own efficacy at work by becoming a coaching leader.

Michael Bungay Stanier and Chantelle Nash GE BrilliantYOU Read Summary
Image of: The Tao of Coaching
Book Summary

The Tao of Coaching

Change other people’s lives – and your own – by becoming a great coach.

Max Landsberg Profile Books Read Summary

Remember: Coaching saves time! Investing 10 minutes daily in coaching saves you time every day because you are helping team members become more independent and competent to work on their own.

Find more on coaching in the getAbstract Journal:

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Researched Abstracts
17 We have curated the most actionable insights from 17 summaries for this feature.
2 2 Podcasts
14 We read and summarized 14 books with 3578 pages for this article.
1 1 Report
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