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Continuous Coaching

As mentioned, coaching is integral to leadership. While coaching sessions need to be planned in advance, informal coaching can occur at any time or at any place. Often this is nothing more than giving feedback, positive or negative. Keep to the rule of opening with a positive and ending with a commitment to improvement.

One more point: We have emphasized coaching as a leadership behavior, assuming a leader-to-subordinate direction. Peer coaching is equally valuable. And so is "upward coaching"—e.g., coaching your boss. Follow the same process outlined in the action coaching model. The outcome will be increased trust and improved performance. And whenever you can bring that out in another person, it's a leadership action.

Coach as Leader

Coaching and leadership go hand in hand. From creating trust through discipline, reward, and mentorship, coaching behaviors exemplify leadership behaviors; in fact, they are leadership behaviors. All coaching behaviors are centered around strong organizational goals and work together to reinforce the coach-individual relationship. In doing so, they create a situation in which the individual as well as the team can thrive.

Fundamentally, coaches, like leaders, are teachers. They teach by their words as well as lead by their actions. Harvey Penick and Vince Lombardi draw life lessons from the task at hand. Through coaching, the individual acquires job skills, but more important, she or he also gains knowledge about life itself. It is the life lesson that matters most in a person's development. It is an investment in the person's future to which leader-coaches must continually strive to contribute.


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