Consistently identify, attract, hire and promote top talent and high potentials as an ongoing effort to increase team performance.
- It's one thing for you to work hard to become more strategic and innovative, but the real test of a true leader, that's found in the ability to make other people more successful, to help others strengthen their skills and talents in a way that consistently builds teams and grows companies. Great leaders know how to unleash great talent. Let's take a closer look at that. Strong leaders have a knack for attracting, hiring, and developing the kinds of people who will create dynamic teams.
While managers tend to spend more of their time correcting or training, powerful leaders know when to step into the role of coach. Because of that, they end up with a much deeper investment in their employees, which inevitably translates into better team performance. And when teams excel and innovate and succeed, that's a direct reflection of a great leader's influence. So, how can you be the kind of leader who coaches and guides your direct reports to higher levels of success? I have five tips that will help you get started.
First, get to know your staff member on a deeper level and show them that you really care. As you build strong relationships with them, finding out about their strengths and challenges, ask about their long-term goals and aspirations. Actively listen when they talk and show a genuine curiosity about their wants and needs. This will help you gather the information you need to customize your coaching in development sessions with each one.
The key is building trust and establishing the feeling of a partnership in growing their career. Second, approach your coaching conversations with some specific tactics. Ask questions to make sure you understand the context of the issues. Challenge your employees to uncover problems and explore opportunities. Suspend judgment and assume positive intent. Then, partner with them to create goals for progress.
Use these tactics consistently, but adapt your approach to fit those you coach. Third, challenge their thinking. Avoid the temptation to tell them exactly what to do. Instead, lead them to the right solutions by asking smart questions. Delicately prompt them to develop their own new approaches and behaviors, and be patient as they move forward to implement new strategies. Fourth, after you coach your employees, be sure to provide them with the resources they need to support their growth.
That might include access to professional development courses, webinars, rotation groups, another mentor, or even more of your time. You want them to follow through, and it's critical that they have the tools they need to keep expanding their capacity. Finally, tie the coaching process back to results. Communicate to them that outcomes matter and help them to track progress toward their goals. Your job, as the leader, is to provide continuous feedback all along the way.
That's what keeps the process alive. Before we wrap up, I want to give you an example of some questions you can use as a guide for a coaching session. Essentially, you'll be helping direct reports in reverse engineering a problem or challenge. You'll guide them to clarify the outcome they want and work backwards to determine the course of action most likely to get that result. Here are some coaching questions you might ask. What can you tell me about this situation? What do you think is causing the problem? What is the desired outcome you'd like to achieve? These are just a few ways to start the conversation.
If you want to take a deeper dive, download the handout with a comprehensive list of questions for leader coaches. Moving from manager to leader involves many elements of self-discovery and self-discipline, but when you have mastered those and can make the leap to helping others grow, coaching them to maximize their performance, you're well on your way to reaching real leadership success.
- Looking and sounding like a leader
- Increasing your emotional intelligence
- Becoming a thought leader
- Expanding your strategic scope
- Viewing challenges with a fresh lens
- Improving your decision-making skills
- Cultivating conditions for team success
- Building meaningful connections