The most effective leaders in any organization are those who have mastered the art of coaching. The goal of the coach should be to increase the team’s accountability, clarity, empowerment, problem-solving, self-correction, confidence, integrity, personal growth, and, of course, productivity.

To become a great coach, begin by reviewing these “must do” steps:

  1. Ask good questions to guide their thinking process.
  • What are your objectives and outcomes for this project?
  • How will you measure your success?
  • What’s your next step?
  • Who do you need to include?
  • What have you tried so far?
  1. Listen actively, acknowledging the other person’s opinions, lessons, and emotions.
  • If I hear you correctly, you are saying you need to do some additional research before you can move ahead.
  • In other words, this timeline is too tight. Is that correct?
  • It sounds like you’re saying you missed an opportunity to promote this project at a recent meeting. What did you learn from this?
  • You seem frustrated; is that accurate?
  1. Empathize with their frustrations.
  • I understand (that you are frustrated, sad, tired, etc.). I have felt that way myself.
  1. Help them reflect on options and outcomes.
  • So far, you’ve identified two options to fix this problem. Is there anything else you could consider?
  • What are the limitations of these two options?
  • What will it cost you in time or resources to use this option and not that one?
  1. Make suggestions — but don’t overdo it.
  • We have some experienced project managers who could help you set up a control group…
  1. Redirect and refocus, if necessary.
  • What do you think you should do?
  • Given that (we are understaffed, in an economic downturn, I can’t give you more of my time), what do you think the best solution is?
  1. Encourage them to do their best.
  • I know you can do this. I have faith in you. You have the skills, experience, and attitude to handle this.

How many of these do you do? Lots of them? Great! You’re a role model! Not all of them? Don’t worry; you’re in good company. Pick one that you’re not using currently and give it a try!