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How to Coach Your Team

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How to be Even More Effective and Helpful as You Coach Your Team

If you’re a manager, you likely hear a lot about not only leading and organizing but also being a coach for your team. And, it can be hard to know exactly how to make that happen in the midst of everything else you have going on.

Today on Asking for a Friend I talk with Sara Canaday about tips from her new book “Coaching Essentials for Managers.” She shares her expertise around how to coach your team to do their best work and help them achieve their highest potential.

Sara reminds us that employees “want to learn, want to grow, and want to progress.” Employees want to make sure they are getting the skills and knowledge they need to get grow in their careers.

Sara explains the importance of being both a developmental coach and providing performance coaching.

As a manager, you supervise and organize the workload for those you are managing. You set the expectations and give performance feedback.

As a coach, the goal becomes empowering your employee to be the best they can be by helping them identify and achieve their own professional goals. Just like with any human-centered leadership development, learning how to be a good coach takes effort and being willing to be coachable ourselves.

Developmental coaching is a vital approach to developing potential in your employees

Performance coaching is when you help someone improve in a specific area. With developmental coaching, you can help employees identify their professional goals and empower them to engage in the process of learning and growing. Instead of evaluating their performance, you become a partner for their success as you coach your team.

You’re the person who’s going to ask great questions to help them discover their potential.

Practical Ways to Coach Your Team

Coach Your Team

Here’s a practical list of Sara’s Dos and Don’ts from Coaching Essentials (pages 206-207)


  • Build trust and nurture strong relationships with your coachees
  • Position yourself as a partner in their success
  • Be fully present
  • Set the intention up front
  • Confirm confidentiality- and keep that promise
  • Maintain clarity about your role and your purpose as a coach
  • Use a framework as your guide
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Suspend judgment
  • Finish with an action plan
  • Hold them accountable for their commitments


  • Confuse the role of coaching with training, counseling, or discipline related to poor performance
  • Rely only on your coachees to identify their needs
  • Fail to set ambitious goals that align with your coachees’ strengths motivations and interests
  • Talk in code (e.g. “you need to be more strategic) rather than translating your recommendations into actionable steps with examples
  • Neglect to enhance your own self-awareness and emotional intelligence
  • Assume you wouldn’t benefit from insights and feedback provided by your own coach or mentor
  • Underestimate the potential of your direct reports
  • Underestimate your own potential as a successful coach.

What would you add? What is one of your best practices or approaches to be an effective coach for your team?

Team Accelerator Team Development Program

More articles related to how to coach your team:

Empower Your Team to Make Better Decisions

Empower Your Team to Solve Problems Video

How to Coach Employees to High Performance When Time is Limited

How to coach employees when time is limited

Your turn. What is your best practice for being a coach for your team?

Want more human-centered leaders in the workplace? Share this today!

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Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders find clarity in uncertainty, drive innovation, and achieve breakthrough results.  She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Workplace Conflict, and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.

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7 Practical Ways to be a Bit More Daring

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