Category Archives: Coaching Leaders

Coaching Moments: Creating Opportunities to Motivate

Becoming a coaching manager doesn’t happen by proclamation or all at once. It takes an incredible amount of work, effort, and time. It also requires positive long-term commitment.

If you create frequent, brief, mostly positive, coaching opportunities, then your employees are more likely to be highly motivated.

Psychological Safety

It is important for managers to be in touch with their direct reports as individuals and as employees. A coaching relationship allows for this. To be successful, the employee needs to feel psychologically safe when talking with their manager. According to David Rock’s SCARF model for collaborating with & influencing others, managers need to be mindful of these 5 domains: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness .

The following table summarizes the SCARF Model:

Coaching Moments

While keeping SCARF in the forefront of your mind, coaching moments are focused on what a manager needs from their employee AND what the employee needs from their manager. Sessions should be structured weekly; scheduled in advance; and limited to 15 minutes. It can be done in person or by phone. These can be done separately or as part of other one-to-one meetings – as long as a portion of the time is devoted to what employees need. Additionally, both parties should be accountable for holding these meetings: employees should be encouraged to confirm and remind the manager of coaching moments. They should also be encouraged to schedule additional coaching moments when needed.

Motivation Mindset

For the coaching moments to truly motivate your employees, use the following approach:

  • It’s not about who is right; it is about making a difference
  • It is a 2-way dialogue, not a dictate
  • Focus on future, not the past
  • Ask for and listen to the other person’s ideas
  • Try not to prove the other wrong

Follow this structure at every coaching moments session:

Questions to Deepen Thinking

Do you consider yourself a coaching manager?
What will happen if you make an effort to cultivate psychologically safety for your employees?
Can you use 1:1 your time with employees differently?

Rock, D. (2008). SCARF: A brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing others.
Goldsmith, M. (2015). Six Questions for Better Coaching. Talent Quarterly (#5, The Feedback issue), pp. 8-12, 29-30.
Boyatzis, R. & McKee, A. (2005) Resonant Leadership: Renewing Yourself and
Connecting with Others Through Mindfulness, Hope, and Compassion.
Harvard Business School Press.


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Leadership Revolution: The Coaches Are Coming!

The way we lead our organizations is going through a revolution. A dramatic and wide-reaching change is taking place in the way leadership is being practiced. As social and emotional intelligence practices inform current thinking, leaders are shifting away from the command-and-control leadership of the past and breaking down the hierarchical barriers that were established way back during the industrial revolution.

Leadership is shifting from command-and-control to coaching.       

Coaching Leaders

As organizations realize the importance of employee engagement, they are looking towards new ways of inspiring and motivating their staff. Two strategic areas that are having a tremendous impact directly involve coaching: managers are becoming coaching leaders, and coaching as a practice is being scaled across organizations.

Without coaching, it’s difficult to ask employees to set flexible goals, revise them often, and ‘stretch’ within their jobs. As leaders are demanding their employees assume greater responsibility, function more autonomously, develop more expertise, and make better judgments, they will need to provide frequent and routine coaching.

Benefits of Coaching

If leaders truly want to motivate their workforce, build an organization of high performers, and attract and retain millennials, they will need to invest in coaching. Leadership coaches are becoming more common and they are no longer retained just for “fixing” leaders who need help. Successful leaders are improving their effectiveness by working with coaches and are becoming more mindful empathetic coaches themselves.

If organizations invest in coaching, then they are more likely to implement practices that will motivate their workforce and encourage high performance.

Working with a coach is a powerful way to make behavioral changes. Employees will benefit from 2 types of coaching: scheduled and on-the-spot. Both are critical, and when combined, have been shown to increase effectiveness as much as 30-50%.

In one coaching study, training alone increased productivity by 22%–but when training was paired with coaching, productivity increased by 88%. A study by Metrix Global on a Fortune 500 firm found that executive coaching resulted in an ROI of 529%. A second study by the International Coaching Federation reported that the median return was seven times the initial investment.

Well-coached clients know when they are performing well and when they are not, and will make necessary adjustments independently of the coach. They will also continually try to find ways to improve, by practicing more, by watching others, or by learning something new. As leaders develop a talent for fostering positive behaviors in their direct reports, the individuals they lead will have living breathing models of effective behavior.

Are You a Coaching Leader?

coach–ing (verb): a thought-provoking, creative partnership that inspires maximum potential

lead–er (noun): a person who motivates others to achieve purposeful outcomes

Questions to Deepen Thinking

How is coaching working in your organization?
What will becoming a coaching leader get you?
What are the consequences of not becoming a coaching leader?

Ewenstein, B., Hancock,B. & Komm, A. (2016, may). AHead of the curce: The future of performance management. Retrieved from McKinsey & Company Organization:
Executive Briefing: Case Study on the Return on Investment of Executive Coaching. MetrixGlobal, LLC. Merrill .C. Anderson, PhD, November 2, 2001.
Flaherty, J. (2010). Coaching: Evoking excellence in others. Oxford, UK: Elsevier.
Goleman, D. & Boyatzis, R. (2008, September). Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership. Harvard Business Review.
International Coach Federation, Global Coaching Client Study, 2009.
Talkington, A., Voss, L. & Wise, P. The Case for Executive Coaching. Business Magazine Chemistry Section November 2002.
International Coach Federation “Coaching FAQs”