Lisa Gill (she/her)

Mar 23, 2022

How to be more coach-like

Here are some tips for leaders on how to become more coach-like.

Michael Bungay Stanier, author of the best-selling coaching book of the century The Coaching Habit, says:

"If you'd like a better team, if you'd like to feel less stressed, if you'd like to be doing more work that matters, being more coach-like can help with that."

Most leaders, unfortunately, are not coach-like.

The main reason? They give advice too much and too often.

Other reasons:

  • "I have to provide answers!"

  • "I am responsible!"

  • "I have a great solution for this!"

  • "I don't have time to be coach-like!"

Fortunately, being coach-like doesn't have to take loads of time and there are some simple things you can try immediately.

Step 1: Choose your being

Who we are is more important than what we do.

Some ways into a coaching way of being are:

  • Be lazy (stop doing all the work, lean back)

  • Relate to the other person's potential (they can solve this!)

Step 2: Ask coaching questions

Many people get stuck in asking closed or leading questions.

This is you steering and having an agenda. Instead, ask open, powerful, coaching questions like:

  • "What do you want to get out of this conversation?"

  • "What do you need in order to...?"

  • "What's missing for you to...?"

Step 3: Listen!

Play back what you hear free from advice or solutions. This will help them clarify their thinking and choose a way forward.

Ultimately, the best way to be more coach-like is to practise. Every interaction can be a little more coach-like if you remember these three steps: choose your being, ask coaching questions, and listen.

Lisa Gill (she/her)

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