5 Key Coaching Functions for Today's Leaders

Helping individuals navigate to better places is a critical responsibility of today's leaders.

Sometimes those places involve problems that must be solved or projects that must be completed. Other times, those places could be new steps on a career path or the course corrections of a current critical path an employee is on.

However, charting the route ahead is only part of the equation that leads to successful outcomes.

Are your leaders willing to make fundamental behavior and style changes to keep your people engaged and your organization competitive?

A forward-thinking, agile leader who takes on the coach approach, instills inspiration and motivation in others by allowing them to take the lead - unlocking their ability and potential. This approach empowers people to tap into their strengths and bring their best game to the table creating engagement, improved company culture and fantastic results.

When employees are invited to be part of the process and are listened to, instead of feeling like insignificant worker bees, they’ll be far more likely to bring their creativity and positive energy to tasks, and meet challenges head-on.

But where do you begin? Meaningful, transparent coaching conversations that follow a proven path are what starts the journey between leader/Coach and an employee/Coachee.

There are 5 Key Functions (Coach job description!) that a Leader as Coach should follow to create positive, productive, profitable and engaging paths for their team members:

1. Clarify the end point or goal.
As Alice in Wonderland was told, "If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." A rather simple concept, but it’s essential to everything that comes before it. Getting clear about where your team or employee wants to go, their goals or preferred outcomes inspires enthusiasm and creates positive forward momentum. Everyone is on the same page understanding what possibilities lie ahead in the destination.

2. Clarify the present situation.
The starting point of the journey requires a high level of effort and honesty to understand the team or employee’s current situation or place. Once thoughts and details are uncovered, and their current location is determined and agreed, they’ll be able to navigate more effectively towards their endpoint.

Of critical importance is to be mindful not to get caught in the "history" of why they are where they are. To do so is looking backwards and generally negative. Quickly, simply establish where they are and move forward to plotting a course of action.

3. Plotting a course forward and gaining commitment to action.
There are many angles to consider when planning a trip. All involve creativity, analysis, choice, support and commitment. In the role of Leader as Coach, it’s about bridging the “gap” between where the employee is and where they want to be. What are the possible routes? Which ones are feasible? When is it time to take the first or next step? These are necessary questions for both leader and employee to ask, answer and agree upon before heading out.

4. Providing positive reinforcement.
“Is the route I’m on the right one?” Even when we’re on the right track, most of us appreciate either reassurance or recognition that we’re going in the right direction and doing a good job. By acknowledging forward progress and keeping the lines of communication open, employees are much more apt to be motivated to keep to the plan.

"Catch them" doing things well or right.

5. Knowing when to course correct.
Will visibility be clear during the whole trip? Obviously not. Some squalls and unexpected storms may impede progress, but continual check-ins and de-briefs will smooth out the waters again. Exploring ways to help Coachees stay on track is an essential element of being a good Coach.

Coaching as a leadership style has been proven to foster and create a progressive, lean management system that truly understands teamwork and engagement paradigms. By implementing this approach with your leaders and managers, positive change and results will occur through both individuals and teams ultimately creating a win-win for all - including your customers.


Interested in finding out more about how your organization could benefit from Navigational Coaching?

Feel free to request a no-obligation 30-minute learning call here.

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