top of page

Being More Coach-Like as a Leader

The Leader's 3-2-1: Three insights, two questions, and one statistic.

"A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential.” -Brené Brown To be a developer of people and potential, a style to integrate into your leadership practice is the coach approach. A leader with a coach approach is attuned to the moments when the best development action is to take on the role of a coach – a person committed to helping others unlock and uplift their own potential. Take steps to being more coach-like in 3-2-1:

Three Insights

Take advice off autopilot. A leader with a coach approach shifts their mindset from being a great advice-giver to being a great question-asker. This doesn't mean you will never give away answers or advice. It just means they're not your default setting – you learn to create a tiny pause between stimulus and response in order to choose the best action for the moment. Watch the video on this topic! Coach the person and the problem in front of you. A leader with a coach approach holds others accountable to change what they can control. This also saves you valuable time, energy and resources. Help the person in front of you focus on the facts of situations and what they have agency to change. If they're venting about another person or agonizing over a problem that is not yet reality, kindly refocus them by asking: "What is the real challenge here for you? What problem do you need to solve right now?" Give the gift of your words. A leader who develops potential is generous with praise and never misses an opportunity to instill confidence with their words. Your sincere verbalizing of the potential you see in others activates the Pygmalion Effect – the research-backed phenomenon that others will rise or fall to the expectations of someone in power. It's a type of self-fulfilling prophecy. Reflect: what potential do you see in your direct report(s)? Next chance you get, share it with them.

Two questions

For Others: “What do you want to see happen?” This creative solutions question empowers a shift in mindset from unproductive venting to productive problem-solving. In that space between the problem they're having and the solution they're desiring is their development opportunity. Check out this PDF for more great coaching questions. For You: “Who on my team needs to be reminded of their unique talents?” What is the best compliment you have ever received? What action(s) did it inspire you to to take? Flip the script. Determine who on your team needs a self-assurance boost. Then, remind them of the unique talents they bring to the table.

One Statistic

When in doubt: 50% of inspiring others is listening. “I engaged the research firm Harris Poll to conduct original quantitative research to determine what communication behaviors are most inspirational to people. Fifty percent say the behavior that had the greatest impact was when the person listened to them. This was the most cited inspirational behavior.” -Kristi Hedges, The Inspiration Code

Love these insights? Get them delivered directly to your inbox: Subscribe to the Leader's 3-2-1 newsletter


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page