The Leader as Coach – 4 Ways to Develop a Coaching Mindset

July 4, 2017 Joanne Maynard


Learning new skills can be awkward and uncomfortable. Think back to the first time you interviewed for a job or spoke in front of a group. It’s possible you made some mistakes, but in the long run you grew and developed.

And if you were lucky enough to have someone supporting and partnering with you—someone coaching you through the experience—chances are that support really helped.

In today’s workplace, business leaders are encouraged to coach their direct reports. To do this, leaders must develop a coaching mindset—a mindset that looks for the potential in others.  Here are four ways to get started.

  • Talk on a regular basis. Leaders with a coaching mindset intentionally have regular conversations with direct reports in service of their direct reports’ development, learning, and growth. Don’t wait for midyear or yearend reviews—shoot for weekly or biweekly conversations.
  • Understand that developing your people is as important as meeting deadlines. Focus on people and Remember, it’s not an either/or question—the more you develop your people, the more valuable your organization will become.
  • Value learning. Create a safe environment where everyone on your team has permission to be a learner and to try out new skills. Be a role model—share times when something didn’t go well for you, and talk through lessons learned.
  • Slow down to draw out your direct reports’ brilliance. Sometimes giving people the answer seems quicker and more efficient—but in reality, doing this can create dependency.  Slow down and take the time to teach your people how to complete a task. It’s a front-loaded investment that can really pay dividends.

As the Chinese proverb says: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”  Using a coaching mindset is like teaching your people to fish. Embrace a coaching mindset!


About the Author

Joanne Maynard

Joanne Maynard is a Senior Coach for The Ken Blanchard Companies. She is a frequent contributor to Blanchard’s LeaderChat blog. Joanne completed the Advanced Corporate Coaching program at Coach U, and received her Associate Certified Coach credential from International Coach Federation.

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