The Coach is the leader who engages the other person in a conversation through meaningful questions and offers advice based on watching his or her performance.
In an athletic event, the coach stands on the sideline and observes the players. He or she watches what each player does that is effective and ineffective. When a player comes off the field the coach shares those observations and discusses them with the person.
You can do the same in your business. Observe an employee while he or she is in action. Don’t interrupt the person or intervene to help. Just watch. Then when the activity is over share what you observed and engage the other person in a private conversation about what just happened. You might say, “I noticed every time Colleen spoke you listened, but every time Suzanne spoke you interrupted her. Why is that?” By basing your input on observed behaviors rather than on general statements, you can have a greater impact on the individual.
Two Questions for The Coach Approach to Leadership
1. Who can you invest some time in observing today?
2. After you observe this person, what questions can you ask or what insights can you share to cause this person to think about leveraging his or her strengths more effectively in the future?