Eight Necessary Skills of a Coaching Leader

June 23, 2010

In his book, Becoming a Coaching Leader, Daniel Harkavy shares the abilities or skills that are necessary for a coaching leader.  This is a great list for any leader, but so needed if you are really intent on growing or coaching others into impactful leaders.

Active Listening and Powerful Questioning – Questions have a power all their own, and the best way to show others that we care about them is to truly listen to what they say.  Active listening is all about asking questions that cause the player to peel back the onion, to get to the heart of performance issues, or to reveal limiting beliefs.

Learn How to Take Good Notes – You will master active listening and powerful questioning more quickly if you learn to write down, or to enter into your system, all the key points that you discuss during a coaching session.

Give Clear, Appropriate, and Concise Direction – A good coach gives his or her team members a road map, a direction . . . The coach helps them to develop a game plan so that they see what’s required for them to improve.

Help Others Create Concise Action Plans – Every coaching interaction should include the creation of new Action Plans as well as follow-up on existing Action Plans.  Those plans should move your teammate closer to fulfilling his or her long-term strategy or goal. Don’t overload your teammate with too many Action Plans, and try not to leave any coaching session without forming any Action Plans.  Don’t go above seven Action Plans and three to five open Action Plans seems best.

Tell the Truth and Value Accountability – A great coach knows how to address an individual’s misconceptions and possible blind spots in a way that will highlight the problem without crushing the person.  Many leaders avoid conflict at all costs – but not a coaching leader.  Coaching leaders don’t enjoy conflict, but understand that healthy conflict is necessary for an individual’s growth.  You are making sure your teammates do what they said they were going to do, when they said they were going to do it, and in a way that brings them success.  Accountability is the friend of the top performer.

Become Proficient at Storytelling – Coaching leaders use stories, use word pictures, and employ different styles of creative communication to help teammates understand what needs to be done.  Often when teammates seem stuck or are in a rut, the limiting factor is their perspective.  So stories are a great way to let them see what you see – to change their perspective.

Stay on Track and on Time – Be respectful of those you are coaching – start and end on time – it is simply good manners.

Communication: The Big Difference Maker – Coaching is communicating.  What separates a coaching leader from a leader is how they communicate.  Coaching leaders listen carefully and then speak careful words that instill belief and confidence, enabling those they coach to make better decisions and improve their performance.

If you are interested in becoming a coaching leader – one who grows and empowers other leaders, then these are some skills you need to learn.  And Becoming A Coaching Leader is a good book to add to your “toolbox”.

Change somebody’s life today and make an impact for eternity!

BG