8When Coaching Others

To offer world-class communication tools to our students at the GSB, we rely not only on our excellent faculty but also on a group of exceptional coaches. But you don't have to have the word “coach” in your title to guide those around you toward their best leadership communication styles. In this chapter, we explore some of the behaviors, attitudes, and tools that make a coach truly effective.

What Makes a Great Coach?

While some may argue that coaches should always be external to an organization, we believe the best leaders need to also step in to coaching their employees on a consistent basis. This requires a leader to clearly distinguish between ongoing coaching conversations and performance review conversations. This bifurcation is challenging, but the best leaders are able to do it masterfully. To coach others effectively, you need to exhibit:

  • Patience. Remember that what is obvious to you may not be obvious to the people you are coaching. Not only are they gaining familiarity with a new skill, but they will likely be reconciling their previous way of communicating with a new approach. Ego, team dynamics, stress, and myriad other factors can contribute to the ease and pace at which someone adapts to coaching. Be patient and meet the people you're coaching where they are.
  • A focus on process over product. A good writing coach will invest in asking leading questions to help the writer recognize opportunities for change, rather than editing the document. ...

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