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Developing this 1 skill into a habit will make you a better leader

Daniel Goleman, the psychologist who popularized the term “Emotional Intelligence”, commented in one of his articles that most mangers said that “they just don’t have time” to coach their people in the high pressure environments we all work in. He goes on to say that, practiced correctly, coaching is the number one tool to impact team performance, culture and the bottom line.

As a business owner or manager you have probably heard that coaching is a productive leadership tool. The truth is, effective coaching does require a thoughtful approach to leading and managing your team. In reality it’s not always executed properly or, at best, it’s inconsistent.

You might ask why more managers don’t use coaching as a core approach with their team. It’s very likely they have briefly tried and failed or personally got “coached” with no lasting effects. So does this mean that coaching doesn’t work? Quite the contrary, it all comes down to your approach. In many cases it’s that “let’s get this done now” tact that takes over and doesn’t allow the time to take a more measured and controlled process.

The essence of coaching is in helping other people to unlock their potential. If you’re a successful manager of people then you are likely committed to being helpful and working to facilitate your team’s productivity. I think we would all agree that developing your team helps you and your business. A productive and engaged team takes the pressure off and helps you as the leader to have more impact. So why don’t we work to develop an effective habit of coaching? Some managers do try and their efforts are usually hampered by one of the following patterns.

The trap of over-dependence can occur as you train your team to become effective performers. This can sometimes backfire as they become increasingly reliant on you as you become more and more involved. The more you help your people, the more they need your help. Your goal should be to be to train and coach people to be self-reliant and capable of making decisions independently. This will, in turn, create more individual engagement, improve productivity and reduce their dependence on you.

Feeling overwhelmed is a common symptom of leaders in a dependent environment. As you get pulled in too many directions you feel less effective and priorities get blurred. When that happens it’s time to engage your team more prominently in the process. Setting priorities and coaching their development within their assigned roles will provide you with more time to manage and prioritize what’s most important to the business.

Successful leaders work to overcome the tendency to give to many directions. Start by asking questions of your team as to what they think is the right approach or solution is in that situation. This does require you to step back and resist the instinct to be the problem-solver. Your goal is to continue to work to change the habits you may have developed by simply trying to be helpful.

When you engage your team members in creating solutions based on their insights and experience you provide an opportunity for their growth and development. Initiating a coaching habit can help you to provide the opportunity for your teams to find the courage to learn and grow from their experiences. Then, with their newfound confidence, they can apply that knowledge and fulfill their potential as valuable team members. Coaching doesn’t need to be a formalized process. Make a commitment to establish the habit and then apply it consistently on a daily basis. Even small amounts of careful coaching will yield results.

Do you need some assistance with developing the coaching habit with your team? Send us an email to book up your free initial 90 min consultation at:



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