Are You Really Coaching Your People?

There is a big difference between having conversations with people on a regular basis and coaching. Coaching is not giving advice, pointing out to someone that they did something wrong, or showing them how to do something. It is also not giving your people face time. So what is coaching?

Coaching is a process whereby you bring out a person’s potential so that they can overcome obstacles to achieve their goals. The role of the coach is to provide a process of discussion using the subject’s own goals and recent experiences to help the person uncover their constraints to greater success. It takes time and patience to help them discover what they might not be seeing.

Many times the coach can immediately see the issue but has to patiently allow the person being coached to discover it for themselves by asking questions and probing. The coach also has to be careful to leave out personal bias and not make any assumptions. By doing so, the person being coached is permitted to develop the thought patterns necessary to go it alone when similar circumstances arise. If you circumvent this process by giving them the answers you run the risk of avoiding some key factors they must process before the learning process is completed. The end result is a much more lasting advantage. It becomes co-creation, and the coach and the person being coached will be able to achieve significantly better results together than either could have achieved alone.

Here are five key questions that indicate whether you are really coaching your direct reports or not:

  1. Can you finish most of your coaching sessions with them by answering their questions with questions?
  2. Do you give your direct reports your undivided attention for at least ½ an hour twice per month to talk about whatever they want to that you would call just coaching?
  3. How much time do they talk during the session versus you?
  4. Who develops their solutions and answers when you meet one on one?
  5. When you finish a coaching session do you ask the question, “what did you take away from today and what are you going to do about it?”

You should know whether or not you are being a good coach to your people by answering the above.  Coaching takes time, but its benefits are huge.

Howard Shore is a business growth expert who works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please contact Howard Shore at 305.722.7213 or