“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” –Jack Welch, former CEO, General Electric

It simply amazes me when I consider the proportion of leaders who really have no idea how individuals on their team desire to be coached. This is a huge miss by those leaders. Since understanding how your people want to be coached is vital for a leader’s success, here is a multiple-choice question to ask yourself:

  1. Do I know how my direct reports like to be coached?
  • I have asked each of my direct reports how they liked to be coached.
  • I have asked some of my direct reports how they like to be coached.
  • I think I already know how they liked to be coached so I do not need to ask them.
  • I have never asked my direct reports how they want to be coached.

Your answers to this question should provide guidance on what your next step should be. My experience is that it is rare for a leader to know how each of her direct reports likes to be coached. It is even more rare for employees to share with their supervisors how they want to be coached. So, the leader needs to proactively ask her direct reports how they want to be coached.

As a new leader in one organization, early in my career, it never dawned on me that I should ask employees how they wanted to be coached! Instead, like most leaders of the time, I assumed I was supposed to just figure it out, based on my knowledge of the employee and how he responded to my coaching. Unfortunately, this does not work.

I once had an executive whom I coached who was really struggling with his team. His people were simply not responding to his coaching. My first question was, “Have you asked them how they want to be coached?” His response was typical of most leaders of whom I ask this question: “I hadn’t thought of that!” Or, more commonly, to save face an executive will respond, “I think I already know how they want to be coached. I have been working with them for a long time!”

How I Want to Be Coached Tool

So, how do you determine how an employee actually wants to be coached? You ask her! I have created a tool that allows you to ask the right questions. This tool will help your employee clarify and share her needs and expectations while in a coaching relationship with you, her direct reports, or her peers. The more your employee’s needs and expectations are fully communicated, the greater the chance for a productive, developmental experience.

Examples of questions in this tool are:

  1. The one thing I need most from my coach is: ________________
  2. I need and expect my coach to: ____________
  3. Your support for me can best be shown by: ____________
  4. Some developmental opportunities that you could assist me with are: _____________

As you seek to understand how your employees want to be coached, make sure you listen to the answers to these questions, take notes, and apply this knowledge to your coaching and leadership style with each individual employee. Coaching should always be tailored to the individual’s needs and wants.

So, how do your team members like to be coached? Ask yourself these two questions:

  • Do I really know how each of my direct reports likes to be coached?
  • Have I asked them?

If you would like a free copy of the How I Want to be Coached tool, please visit my website at https://www.turbivillegroup.com/resources/