Are you coaching or directing? – Teaching Tuesdays

Coaching has become an integral part of being a Leader/Manager. We’ve all been subjected to the very directive leader and the very supportive leader, haven’t we?

In John C. Maxwell’s Levels of Leadership, Level 4 – People Development, he speaks of a Leadership that is based on helping other find their own way.


As we move from the directing era of Management to the coaching era of Management we find ourselves spending more time setting people up for success vs. failure by co-creating best practices.

Asking more questions

In asking more questions and developing solutions by having the people you manage find their way, THEY are part of creating said solution. The one they will have to implement.

He who creates, supports!

If you wanted to help an underachieving employee in taking action on ideas, for example, you might spend more time asking questions like the following to get them there:

  1. How do you want to move forward on this?
  2. What do you want to complete by next week?
  3. Are you willing to raise your standards through the roof?
  4. What 5 things you can do now that will get you moving on this project?
  5. How can you overcome this obstacle?
  6. What is keeping you from acting on this?
  7. What are your next steps?
  8. What three things can you do to create this?
  9. Are you willing to commit to finishing this?
  10. What could get in the way?
  11. What is getting in the way?
  12. Will you put that on your schedule for the next few weeks?
  13. How often do you actually schedule and plan to exercise?
  14. What is your action plan?
  15. How will you know?
  16. How can you create consistency in this?
  17. How will you prioritize this to do list?
  18. What is the most important thing to do to successfully launch this project?
  19. What can you do to make this happen?
  20. What strategy do you think would work best?

I understand that as a seasoned leader, you probably already use a variety of these questions in your management practice. When moving from directing to coaching, you’ll need to practice using white space and giving time for their answer to emerge, the authentic one. No more finishing sentences and pushing them for answers, you’ll need to mine for true answers and pierce the veil for answers that are meant to please you, the leader. Through your powerful questions and true presence, you can find THAT solution that comes from them. The one they will support more strongly cause you let them create one for themselves, often built on their own past success.

Now this might come easier to some and be more difficult to other according to your management style. Visit this link to view the different DiSC Management Styles. It is also an integral part of building the 5 Behaviors of a Cohesive Team’s first level of building vulnerability-based trust in your team by being more present and leaving more space for others to contribute to elaborating solutions.