Coaching Your Team For Success

In fact, many questions!

One key role of a leader is to help those around you to be the best they can be. To empower people, they need the skill and the will to do their jobs. What happens when someone has the will, but the skill level is lacking? They need some learning and development! There are different ways of helping people – let’s focus on coaching.

If we’re going to coach people effectively, we need to understand how it really works – many people don’t! They are very good at helping others to learn, but coaching isn’t the method they’re using! They’re probably training, teaching, explaining, advising, guiding or mentoring, but these are not the same as coaching. One delegate once proudly told me that he was ‘coaching’ his colleagues in how to use a new database. He ran 1 to 1 sessions, and told them how to use it: ‘Click on that, now type your name and press enter, then click on that tab in that menu..’ When I told him that was great, but clearly a 1 to 1 training session, he became a bit excitable and insisted that 1 to 1 training is coaching. No, it isn’t!

So what is it then?

If you really are coaching someone, all you do is ask questions. In a training or mentoring relationship, the assumption is that at least one party has knowledge or experience to share with the other – in these cases, it’s the trainer or mentor. However, when we coach someone, the assumption is that the coachee has the knowledge or ideas buried somewhere within them – the coach’s role is to ask thought-provoking questions to bring this information to the surface, and help the coachee to realise that they do know some things. In a coaching conversation, who should be doing most of the talking? The coachee! If not, or the coach is both asking and answering the questions, then coaching has ended and a different method is being used (training or mentoring?)!

The GROW coaching model

Here’s a coaching model for you to try – it’s all question based:

coaching and mentoring training

What do you want to achieve?

What is important to you right now?

What areas do you want to work on?

What do you want to achieve as a result of this meeting?


Where are you now in relation to your goal?

On a scale of 1 to 10, where are you?

What skills/knowledge/attributes do you have?

Describe your current level of knowledge regarding this topic?


What are your options?

I’d like you to come up with 5 options.

How have you tackled a similar situation before?

What might you do differently next time?

Will/Way forward

Choose your best options.

What actions will you take?

What will be the first step towards achieving your goal?

When are you going to start?

This coaching model is very flexible – at each stage, ask sufficient questions and when you feel you have learnt enough, move on.

 A final thought

The assumption when coaching is that the coachee has ideas and knowledge which the right questions should bring out. But what if the assumption is wrong, and after a few questions the only answers have been ‘dunno, dunno that either, please just tell me!’. Perhaps coaching isn’t the right approach here and it’s time for some training or mentoring? If the individual leaves knowing more than when they arrived, then you’ve helped them to learn and develop. Who cares how you got there?

Coaching is a topic covered on many of our Management and Leadership training courses. However, if you aren’t feeling confident with feedback and performance management, a great place to start is our Introduction to Management training course.

3 Powerful Leadership Habits

Everyone talks about leaders needing to have a clear direction, a company vision, compelling goals don’t they – but what if these things were overrated and/or not the only answer?

Here’s more – what if these sorts of leadership and management books were wrong, and something else was needed to get your team on board to deliver the changes your organisation needs.

Leadership habits, and not leadership strategy, might be part of the modern day answer. Here are 3 Powerful Leadership Habits to change your thinking.

3 Powerful Leadership Habits
Leadership training

Habits seem the new thing, it’s as if the science behind them is a new discovery.

For example, the British Cycling team used habits as an approach to gain incremental improvement. It has been key to their success. Habits has been a consistent approach to improving times, and from this winning medals.

They talked a lot about the process of marginal gain and how to apply it and improve.

How can habits benefit us at work?
Habits can relate to our behaviour and our attitude:-
  1. Our behaviour in what we do each day. We can develop leadership habits to support our success.
  2. Our attitude in terms of always being a learner. It’s helpful to have habits in being curious about how we can improve.
In his book “Atomic Habits”, James Clear has a step by step approach to develop habits. He says they need to be:
  • Obvious
  • Attractive
  • Easy
  • Satisfying

Making habits obvious, attractive, easy and satisfying is the way to help them become part of your identity – how you do things round here.

Most of us know what happens if our habits do not become part of who we are – our fitness regimes and BMI are quite often examples of when it goes wrong!

In contrast, an example of a good habit here would be to put your swimming costume on first thing to make sure you get to an early morning swim! (It might be a bit uncomfortable to wear it all day otherwise!)

Habits really are something to probe. What might the leadership habits be which would really benefit you to cultivate? How could you make part of your daily practice and an integral part of your identity as a manager and leader?

These are all skills developed on our STL Leadership and Mentoring courses, but first here are three things for you to consider:

  1. Communication Habits
    What could you do each day to improve your communication with your team? Could you give more immediate feedback on performance? Could you help your team anticipate and plan by sharing what is coming up or be more proactive generally? These daily communication habits will help your team succeed!
  2. Relationship Habits
    Are there tiny things you could do each day to develop, enhance and nurture your work based relationships? Habits that could strengthen their trust and performance? Remembering to say “Happy Birthday”, asking how a sick family member is or how someone’s holiday was can make a big difference to how willing someone else is in supporting your success.
  3. Emotional Intelligence Habits
    Could you make it a daily attitude to think about things from the other person’s pair of shoes? Rather than approaching tasks from your frame of reference, could you make it a habit to always listen and ask questions that might be useful for problem solving from their vantage point? You may find this makes a huge difference to outcomes and results.

These tiny changes could build a firm foundation from which you and your team can deliver results.

What would make you want to start today?