So, Say You Want to Offer Someone Some Coaching


With the publication of my new book, Be Real last week I thought I’d try something new: a video version of Reading for Leading.  It’s one of my absolute favorite ideas – with credit to my friends at PMP in Bingham Farms – on how to coach your kids, boss, team members, even your spouse!  Check it out. And let me know what you think! If for some blasted reason the video won’t work for you, there’s text below to help you lead with your best self.

For more tips on leadership and coaching, check out my new book, Be Real: Inspiring Stories For Leading At Home And Work.

You wanna be a great coach here’s the first and most important tip.  Now that’s a coach on a tennis court, a coach with a fellow employee, a coach with your boss, or more likely a coach of somebody on your team who you’re trying to influence or perhaps one of your children.

Now, we begin with a distinction.  Some coaching is good coaching and some coaching is bad coaching.  What’s bad coaching? It’s when they don’t listen to it as coaching. They hear it as a harangue, they hear it as advice, they hear it as second=guessing.  That’s not what you want.  What you want is to have your advice heard as constructive coaching. So, how do you do that?  Very simply.  I’m the coach, I ask you “Are you open to some coaching?”  Now you might be more comfortable with a different formulation. You might ask, “Are you open to some advice?”  “Can I share something I’ve seen?” Or, “Are you interested in hearing something, cuz I think I can offer you something that’s useful for you at work (or with your friends or at school)?”

Three possibilities exist now having asked that question.  The first option is the person says, “No.” In which case I walk away.  I’ve gained credibility, because I’ve taken them at their word.  They’re not interested?  Okay, no problem.  Now, if they say “Yes,” I plunge ahead with the coaching.

More likely they say something like, “Yeah…okay…I guess so… Sure…What?”  In that case, I suggest you ask again, in a non-judgmental, non-probing, non-pushing way. So you say, “You know, it’s okay; it’s just a thought I had to offer; I don’t need to give it to you.” Or, “Are you sure? Maybe now isn’t a good time.”   Or some other expression that gives them a chance to say, “you know, not now.”  Chances are at some point they’ll ask for it.  And you’ve lost nothing – lost nothing – if they don’t ask for it.  But you’ve primed the pump. If they say yes they’re interested, you have their permission and attention.  If they come back later – even better!  They’ve chosen to come to hear your advice.

I’ve learned a lot about coaching share more in my book Everyday Leadership and in my new book Be Real: Inspiring Stories for Leading at Home and Work. Check them out to help you lead with your best self.