Midwife for skill-building: 3 ways to be a better coach today

Summary + reflections on Tao of Coaching by Max Landsberg. The 165 pages with clear visuals make you a better coach in one sitting.

10 minutes of coaching a team member save you an hour. Coaching not only grows your team members, coaching also lets you delegate.

Start practicing in your next conversation. Three concrete ways to be a better coach:

1) Four steps to GROW your team

Structure each coaching conversation in four steps:

  • Goals: "What would you like to leave this conversation with?"
  • Reality: "Where, concretely, do you experience the challenges?"
  • Options: "What options do you have? Which do you prefer?"
  • Wrap up: "Where do we go from where - and by when?"

Clarifying the goal for each session is a game-changer.

2) Prepare questions, not arguments

When preparing for a meeting, write down questions to ask rather than points to get across.

Questions are usually more powerful than instructions: Questions invite exploration, instructions stir defensiveness. Besides, you might just learn something.

For example, when giving feedback on a plan: "How risky do you think this might be?" is a better opener than "Option A sounds too risky".

3) Feedback: Keep shit and sandwiches separate.

Shit sandwiches - wrapping constructive feedback in praise to soften the blow - break trust.

Instead, try:

When giving praise, be unconditional. No 'but's. Watch your team members stand taller.

When giving constructive feedback, ask how and when your team member would like to receive it. Be as direct as possible. Watch your team members trust your praise and feedback more.

Which of these things can you try in your next conversation?