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Coaching for Leaders

How you lead a team has a direct impact on team performance. Many leaders are coming up short when it comes to coaching. Here are some easy tweaks you can make to your leadership style.


  1. Be approachable to everyone. Show compassion and empathy.

  2. Identify when you are mentoring rather than coaching.

  3. Recognize talent and know how to set goals.

  4. Practice discernment rather than judgment. Champion and promote this.

  5. Be more self-aware. The lack of this will cause difficulties for you.

  6. Gain fulfillment and know how to help others with their fulfillment.


It is only when you master the above, that you can fully embrace a coaching leadership style and improve your coaching skills.

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Be approachable to everyone. Embrace compassion and empathy

As you grow, you can have a style of leadership that is good for everyone. Being approachable to others is a key element of a coaching leadership style. 

It is your job as a leader to constantly develop. This can be people and projects. You are expected to align with the company vision and mission. If you are strategic about this, introducing coaching will:


  1. Help you grow

  2. Facilitate the growth of others including your direct reports, their team and your own leadership

  3. Stronger, more trusting relationships between leaders and teams/individuals

  4. Embrace compassion. Think of the bigger picture. A happier employee brings you greater results and allows everyone to grow.

  5. Ensure better long-term results

  6. Encourage collaborative and supportive work environment

  7. Better employee retention and happier employees

Leadership tweaks that you can do now to be more approachable:

  • Hold each employee as creative, resourceful and whole. Make them accountable for themselves, their learning and their outcomes as well as the help and support they require to achieve their goals. If they fail, ensure they know that you are there to support and provide guidance.

  • Adapt your style for a number of your employees to start rather than a big bang. Otherwise, there will be too much of a change and you and others may struggle. Use a framework on your 1-1 calls and note taking to remind you and then gradually adopt for everyone.

  • When talking through things with employees, explain how you approached it in the past. Rather than stopping at that, say how you felt, what outcomes you had and any difficulties that came up. Show them that you are a human also and are there to be approached. Nobody wants to work for a dictator.

  • LISTEN! When you are approached by someone, listen to what they are saying and see what their body language and tone is. Do not always relate back to your own objectives and life. It is their time to speak with you. If you are open and empathetic - they will then want to speak with you more and trust you.


Identify when you are mentoring rather than coaching.

Do you motivate, develop, inspire, transfer knowledge, and provide performance feedback to your employees? This is mentoring, not coaching.

The International Coach Federation ( states that coaching is “Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

"Clients" here can mean other stakeholders such as employees, customers, vendors and contractors.

According to the Oxford dictionary (, A mentor is "an experienced and trusted adviser".

As with being approachable, it is your job as a leader to constantly develop your team and others. Introducing some coaching into your style will bring results such as:


  1. Trust is improved with your employee

  2. More encouragement to collaborate in team meetings

  3. More content employee and less attrition

  4. You grow as a leader and improve opportunities

  5. Easier to decide when mentoring or coaching is needed.

Leadership tweaks that you can do now to balance more coaching with your mentoring:

  • Associate an outcome and goal with every discussion. Rather than providing advice which is mentoring, associate a goal with every topic that arises. Example: "I am struggling with my presentations and am lacking confidence". A mentor will provide examples on how they dealt with this. A coach will ask powerful questions, dive deep into what is important about it and allow the person to work it out. They will also associate the topic with realistic goal, and associate performance with this goal.

  • Focus on performance to outcome and goal always. When meeting regularly, associate the behavior of your team member with what goal they want to achieve. Like above, how does recent performance link with the goal. The goal is not long term. It may be "within 1 month, I am going to be more prepared for my presentations and review performance weekly with my manager"

  • Set placeholder meeting to discuss goals only. 1:1 meetings can sometimes turn into the manager preaching to the employee or discussing management or team performance. This meeting is for your team member to share things with you. Listen to them and speak to performance and goals. Both parties will then open up and build up trust.

  • The meeting agenda is a collaboration of the manager and the direct report. The agenda for the coaching meeting should not be set by the manager. It should be a joint effort. Using shared document to add updates and new topics is useful here to stay on point.

  • Identify your strengths and coach on these only. Know your limits and where you may fall short as a manager. This is not a critique, more like realism and professionalism. If the topic that is presented to you is something that you do not feel comfortable with or ask yourself this question "Can I show up and help my employee?". If the answer is no, introduce other team members into the coaching process such as peers that understand the topic. You as a manager can still track the performance however the tasks in-between can be performed by another person.

  • Use powerful and thought provoking questions. Practice these questions. Keep them concise and clear. Do not question stack. Examples are:

  1. “What do you want?”

  2. “What’s next?”

  3. “How will you start?”

  4. “What’s important for you to remember?”

  5. "How does it feel to say that?"

  • Measure outcome using time-specific performance evaluation. When speaking at your regular cadence, measure how the outcomes are and when they are due. This will give a good sense if you are on track. It is okay to modify the plan and dates if needed.


Recognize talent and know how to set goals.

Where Talent Meets Goals for Limitless Success by introducing coaching into your leadership style.


In coaching, recognizing talent and setting goals are fundamental to helping individuals unlock their potential and achieve personal and professional growth.


Setting up regular placeholder meetings with your employees to only go through this will bring you more trust in them, greater contentment, greater collaboration in team meetings, less drama, and less attrition.

Note that you should not include any other items in these dedicated meetings. If you ask about a project or something else, your employee may lose trust with you and not want to share openly.



  • Strengths Assessment: Introduce exercises into your leadership style to include assessments to help employees identify their strengths, skills, and areas of expertise. This process involves reflecting on feedback received associated with personal and company goals and self-awareness exercises.

  • Active Listening: Mostly stay in level 2 listening (Focused Listening, where we listen to the other person. Our thoughts do not enter into the conversation, but curiosity can.) when meeting with your employees. This will allow you to understand their values and listen attentively to understand their aspirations, values, and what motivates them. By actively listening, leaders with a coaching style can uncover hidden talents and passions. This opens other possibilities for targets that your team has and encourages collaboration within the team.

  • Observation: Enter level 3 listening (Global Listening, where we listen to what isn’t being said; “body language, the inflections and tone of their voice, their pauses and hesitations.”) to observe your employee behavior, communication style, and performance to recognize talents that may not be immediately apparent. This observation helps in tailoring coaching sessions to leverage strengths effectively.

  • Feedback: Coaches provide constructive feedback based on observations and assessments, highlighting areas of strength and areas for development. Positive reinforcement encourages individuals to embrace their talents and leverage them for personal and professional growth. Ensure that this feedback is associated with goals set out.

  • Set up SMART goals. Work with your employees to set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals. This framework ensures that goals are clear, actionable, and aligned with the employee's aspirations.

    • Visioning: Coaches help employee's articulate their long-term vision and break it down into smaller, achievable goals. This process enables employee's to create a roadmap for success and stay focused on their objectives.

    • Goal Exploration: Coaches explore employee's goals in depth, probing into the underlying motivations, barriers, and potential obstacles. This exploration helps in setting goals that are meaningful and sustainable.

    • Accountability: Coaches hold employee's accountable for their goals by establishing regular check-ins, tracking progress, and providing support and encouragement along the way. Accountability fosters commitment and helps clients stay on track towards goal attainment.

    • Flexibility: Coaches recognize that goals may evolve over time, and they remain flexible in adjusting objectives based on changing circumstances or new insights gained during the coaching process.


By combining talent recognition with effective goal setting, coaches empower individuals to maximize their potential, overcome challenges, and achieve meaningful results in their personal and professional lives


Practice discernment rather than judgement. Champion and promote this.

True leadership is often defined by the judgments we make in challenging situations. Practice discernment rather than judgement when it comes to your interactions with others.


Discernment and judgment are related concepts, but they differ in their implications:


Discernment of others refers to the ability to perceive and understand subtle distinctions or differences. It involves keen insight, wisdom, and often implies a more thoughtful and nuanced approach to evaluating situations or people.


Judgment of others often carries a more negative connotation. It can imply forming opinions or conclusions hastily or without full understanding, sometimes leading to bias or unfair assessments.



-More rigid and final

-Lacks the flexibility and depth associated with discernment


Discernment suggests a deeper level of understanding that goes beyond surface-level observations.


When evaluating situations, it is more:






When you judge others, you are judging yourself. It is exhausting.


Release judgement time and practice discernment.


Utilize all that free time to focus on other things.


Click the link for free advice helping to practice discernment rather than judgement.



  • Cultivate Self-Awareness: Start by becoming more aware of your own thoughts, emotions, biases, and tendencies. Self-awareness lays the foundation for discernment by helping you recognize how your personal experiences and beliefs influence your perceptions and judgments.

  • Seek Understanding: Instead of jumping to conclusions or making snap judgments, strive to understand situations or people more deeply. Ask questions, gather information from multiple sources, and consider different perspectives before forming opinions or making decisions.

  • Practice Critical Thinking: Develop your critical thinking skills by evaluating information critically, questioning assumptions, and analyzing evidence objectively. Learn to distinguish between facts and opinions, and don't hesitate to challenge ideas or beliefs that lack sufficient evidence or reasoning.

  • Listen Actively: Actively listen to others without interrupting or immediately offering your own opinions. Pay attention to verbal and nonverbal cues, seek clarification when necessary, and try to empathize with different viewpoints before responding.​

  • Practice Patience: Avoid rushing to judgment or making impulsive decisions. Instead, practice patience and give yourself the time and space to carefully consider options, weigh consequences, and assess the full picture before taking action.

  • Trust Your Intuition: While critical thinking is important, don't discount the value of intuition or gut feelings. Pay attention to your instincts and inner wisdom, especially in situations where rational analysis alone may not provide clear answers.

  • Reflect and Evaluate: Take time to reflect on your experiences, decisions, and interactions regularly. Consider what you've learned, what worked well, and what could have been done differently. Reflective practice allows you to refine your discernment skills over time.

  • Learn from Mistakes: Embrace mistakes and setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning. Reflect on past experiences where your judgment may have been off or your discernment lacking, and use these insights to improve your decision-making abilities in the future.


Cultivating discernment can lead to more informed and balanced perspectives.


Be more self-aware. The lack of this will cause difficulties for you.

You can never be too self-aware, especially as a leader.


Becoming more self-aware as a leader is essential for personal growth and effective leadership.


Issues you may be encountering now with your team are likely caused by your lack of self-awareness.


Here are some tips to become more self-aware.


  • Your ego has no place in your life: Your ego is your insecurity. Admit when you are wrong, do not worry about consequences. When asked for something and you do not have the answers, say this and find the answer. Show humility. 

  • See things from different perspectives: Ask people for perspectives. Have people around you who will speak up so you can broaden your horizons. Have a list of trusted advisors.

  • Show empathy: Always put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Understand their perspective. You are not the greatest and do not have the answers. Consider the feelings and motivations of others to improve your relationships. 

  • Reflection time: Set aside time at the start and end of each day to reflect on your actions and emotions. 

  • Behavior time: Set aside time at the start and end of each day to review how you are behaving. Is your behavior aligning with your values and goals? If not, speak to your coach for your sake and your team.

  • Invest in a coach: Try out coaching options within your company benefits. If this does not work for you, find your coach privately. They will help you set goals and identify your key values. The ROI is big on this and you will get your money back in both salary and contentment.

  • Understand your strengths: List strengths and use them in your leadership role. Acknowledge your weaknesses and work on improving or mitigating them. Encourage feedback on your performance.

  • Understand your weaknesses: Acknowledge your weaknesses and work on improving them. If not possible to improve, delegate and be honest with others. Use feedback on this also.




During an interview, there is a question “What work environment do you prefer?” A good answer is a collaborative, open, transparent, and supportive environment. Without this, you may struggle as a leader. You will be valued and people will trust you.


Gain fulfillment and know how to help others with their fulfillment.

"If you can't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?" is an inspiring quote by RuPaul. Before we can truly give to others (help to fulfill), we must first ensure our own cup is filled (gain fulfillment).


Throughout my journey, both personally and professionally, I've come to understand that self-fulfillment isn't selfish—it's essential.


Only when we prioritize our own growth, well-being, and passions can we bring our best selves to the table and make a meaningful impact on those we aim to serve. 🌱✨


As leaders, a careful balance is required and adequate time allocated to the needs of our teams once our own fulfillment foundations are solid and secure.


This isn't about neglecting others; it's about recognizing that by nurturing our own aspirations and cultivating a sense of purpose, we become better equipped to inspire and support those around us.


It's akin to the oxygen mask principle on an airplane—secure your own mask (gain fulfillment) before assisting others (help others with their fulfillment). 💡✈️


So, let's embrace the journey of self-discovery and self-care, understanding that by investing in ourselves, we amplify our capacity to empower and uplift others. 💪🌏



  1. Identify Your Values: Take some time to reflect on what truly matters to you in life. What are your core values? Aligning your actions and decisions with these values can bring a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

  2. Set Meaningful Goals: Set goals that are meaningful and aligned with your values. These goals should challenge you to grow but also be realistic and achievable. Progressing towards these goals can give you a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.

  3. Practice Gratitude: Cultivate a habit of gratitude by regularly reflecting on the things you are thankful for in your life. This can shift your focus towards the positive aspects of your life and increase your overall sense of fulfillment.

  4. Invest in Relationships: Build and nurture meaningful relationships with friends, family, and loved ones. Connecting with others on a deep level and supporting each other can provide a profound sense of fulfillment and belonging.

  5. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind and compassionate towards yourself, especially during challenging times. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend facing similar difficulties.

  6. Find Meaning in Your Work: If possible, seek out work that is meaningful to you and aligns with your interests and values. If that's not possible in your current job, find ways to infuse meaning into your work by focusing on the impact you make and the skills you're developing.

  7. Take Care of Your Well-Being: Prioritize your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Make time for activities that rejuvenate and energize you, such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, or spending time in nature.

  8. Embrace Challenges and Growth: View challenges as opportunities for growth and learning rather than obstacles. Embracing new experiences and stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to personal development and a greater sense of fulfillment.

  9. Contribute to Something Greater Than Yourself: Find ways to contribute to causes or communities that are important to you. Whether it's through volunteering, activism, or supporting charitable organizations, contributing to something larger than yourself can bring a sense of fulfillment and purpose.

  10. Stay Present: Practice mindfulness and focus on being fully present in the moment. Mindfulness can help you appreciate the small joys in life and find fulfillment in the present rather than constantly striving for the future.

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