How to coach your team members

TL;DR: Being a coach to your reports is one secret to building a successful team of people that know how to solve problems, work independently, and advocate for themselves. But incorporating coaching into your management style may not be easy. Many managers struggle and go back to taking over tasks instead of letting reports navigate more of their careers. This playbook will help you build a thriving team with your leadership strategies at the helm.

How do you coach your team? How can managers be the best coaches and mentors for their teams?

Management is a complex term. The growing concern with employee enablement and well-being has changed the notion of an ideal management style, and it can be challenging to determine what works for your company and its various teams.

Many leaders are now including elements of coaching in their leadership at work. Coaching allows leaders to support employees in improving work and life performance and satisfaction. Coaching has several benefits for companies, like improved profitability, increased productivity, and better customer satisfaction.

Today’s best leaders are coaching their teams to success; as they do so, they become more than managers: they’re mentors. Coaching is no simple task, but by following the steps outlined in this playbook, you’ll be able to coach your team effectively, offering them the support they need.

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Wann Sie dieses Playbook verwenden sollten

When to use
this playbook

Are you ready to take your management skills to the next level? You’ll want to use this playbook when you and your team are willing to be pushed to make the most of your time at work, turning management into mentoring.

The strategies included in this playbook will help you build up each person you get a chance to work with. Once you commit to nurturing a solid work relationship with your reports, you can start having the crucial conversations we discuss in today’s playbook.

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Was Sie für dieses Playbook benötigen

What you’ll need for
this playbook

Higher-level support

When you coach employees, your approach might look somewhat hands-off at times. You don’t have to watch employees crash, burn, and waste thousands of company dollars, but you’ll let your team make some mistakes. If you want this form of management to work, you need to be trusted by your managers and company executives.

A solid relationship with your team

You don’t have to be best friends with your reports for coaching to work, but you must build a relationship of trust. Having a solid relationship with your team will give you a chance to coach, lead, and bring out the best in your reports.

Hinweise & Tipps
  • Coaching is a two-way process. It’s hard to get feedback on where you are making mistakes (even if it is constructive feedback).

    Sharing your own mistakes and what you did to move past them is a great way to improve weekly 1:1s and team meetings/coaching sessions. Sharing this information helps open up your employees and promotes a culture of psychological safety.
  • You don’t have to do this alone. Work with your manager to get the support you need and learn techniques for improving your coaching abilities. Many leaders seek the help of outside consultants and business coaches.
  • Take personalities into account when building your coaching relationship with each person. Introverts and extroverts might take your coaching differently. So might different gender identities, ages, or varied backgrounds.

    Intersectionality plays a massive role in how employees might perceive your coaching. Be sensitive to this issue and adapt your approach as needed.
  • Unsure of how to get started as a coach? Host office hours with your team: If you’re in the office, set up times when you will be available for employees to drop in, ask questions, get advice, etc.

    You can do the same remotely by setting up a video conferencing link for employees to join. This simple activity can help you solve problems with your team in a laid-back way.

How to run this People Ops Playbook:

Wie Sie dieses People Ops Playbook durchführen:

1. Get a deep understanding of your reports and their career goals

Before you begin coaching your reports, you have to know where they want to go. Coaching is a deeply personal experience for everyone involved. If you don’t start this journey knowing your report’s professional goals, you can negatively impact their career and well-being by offering biased guidance.

Create space for these conversations with your reports. Set up an hour with each of your team members to go over short- and long-term goals. Ask questions like:

  • Where do you see yourself professionally in the next 2–3 years?
  • Are there any big goals you’d like to accomplish? How can I support you in getting there?
  • What is one thing you wish I knew about you or your working style?
  • Do you think about your long-term career goals? What’s your dream title/industry?
  • What would your ideal work routine look like in a perfect world?

Making time for deeper conversations will help you get to know your reports better. These are the conversations that help you connect with your people and align their goals with your organization.

2. Build out learning and development plans in your weekly 1:1s

If you have followed career best practices, you have likely spent time building out an informative career progression framework for your employees. Take some time to go over these frameworks consistently and use 1:1 meetings time to help solidify your employee’s progression goals and development ideas. What does that person’s career progression look like at your company? How can your organization step up to help them grow professionally?

We suggest spending time in your weekly 1:1s to dive deeper into learning and development opportunities. It’s easy to spend your 1:1 time putting out fires and trying to get to the following week, but make sure to put energy into forward-thinking activities like figuring out the right classes for your report to take and books they could read.

You can also advocate for leadership to make a development budget available to all employees — after all, the more people learn, the more organizations grow.

3. Create coaching experiences for your team

Now that you know exactly where your team wants to go and you have a plan to help them get there, you can create coaching experiences that prepare your team to reach their goals.

One of the most obvious coaching experiences happens during weekly 1:1s. These are often the most consistent face time you will get with your team. Other meetings pop up as needed, but 1:1 meetings should be non-negotiable.

Another experience worth exploring is group coaching — which is also a fantastic team-building opportunity, especially if you are remote and unable to see each other in the office.

Here are some helpful group coaching ideas to get you started:

  • Weekly brainstorming sessions where one employee shares issues they are having and the team brainstorms solutions as a group;
  • Coworking sessions where employees come together, work, and discuss issues they are having in real time;
  • Sending out coaching emails/text messages to your team members based on conversations you’ve had with them. You can include insights, learnings — but of course, always be discreet and don’t share anything that a report wouldn’t want the group to know.
  • Team offsites where everyone can bond, plan, and get aligned for a new quarter or year.

4. Lean into moments to let your team learn/make mistakes

It’s hard not to feel personally responsible for a team failure as a manager. Making mistakes is an integral part of learning, and team members can’t get the most out of their experience without it.

When a mistake or failure happens, you must pause before deciding how to proceed. Does your report need you to jump in and steer the ship right away? Or is there something else you can do to be a better leader/coach for them?

If this failure will cost the company thousands of dollars, it is definitely in your best interest to step in and reduce the impact. Most failures aren’t that catastrophic, though. It’s important to know when to let employees experiment and support them in learning from it.

Employees must have the space to make mistakes, especially when working towards innovation and improvements. And it’s just as crucial that they’re encouraged to reflect on failures, so they can make better decisions in the future.

As a manager, you can coach your employees and help them through each of these steps without stepping in.

Keep in mind that coaching is not just about helping employees learn from mistakes but also celebrating their successes at work and sharing wins with the team.

5. Ask the right questions

Active listening and asking will take you far as a manager.

As you coach your team through issues and celebrate successes, cutting through the noise and understanding each person will be pivotal.

First, you want to make sure that you keep tabs on your people and check in regularly. For example, you can build time into your weekly 1:1 to check in with each person. Ask about their life, the projects they are working on, and where they might need your support this week.

If you get a short answer like “I’m doing fine,” dig in. Some of your reports might have problems expressing their feelings, and that’s where great managers can have a tremendous impact. But of course, also be mindful and respectful of their boundaries.

Outside of general weekly check-ins, you’ll want to ask the right questions through every part of your work with a team member. Ensure that your questions come from a genuine, curious place so that you can take your employees to higher levels with questions that encourage them to make better decisions.

Follow-up best practices for coaching your team

Ensure coaching isn’t a one-and-done situation

Coaching needs to be consistent to be effective. Once you decide to incorporate it into your management style, make sure you do it consistently. Create a weekly check-in to set yourself up for coaching success:

  • How will you coach your team members this week?
  • What coaching experience had a positive impact on your team recently?
  • Which team members need a bit more motivation this week?

With the right coaching cadence, you can create an experience that impacts your company.

Run a pulse survey to ensure you are meeting employee expectations

If you are new to coaching, running a quick pulse survey with your team can help you understand how to be a better leader.

You can ask questions like:

  • How often do you receive coaching from me?
  • How would you rate my coaching skills on a 0–10 scale?
  • Can you share a time when my coaching positively or negatively impacted your work?
  • Does my coaching align with your current professional goals?
  • Do you enjoy the group/individual coaching you receive from me?
  • What coaching experience has been your favorite?
  • What can I do to better help you through your issues at work? How can I be a better mentor?

⭐️ Make sure your managers also get the support they deserve and need! Besides encouraging all leaders to coach their teams, make sure to share resources with them. As a starter, we recommend our playbooks on running 1:1 meetings, avoiding unconscious bias in performance reviews, and having career development talks. 😉

Start coaching your team members with Leapsome

Leapsome is the only platform that closes the loop between performance management, employee engagement, and learning. 

1:1 meetings are an essential part of effectively coaching your team. Watch this video on setting up an agenda for meetings to stay structured and keep track of your employees’ development.

Illustration of two people carrying a box over stairs, another two stacking blocks mid-air, and another two working on a board with boxes and scales, transparent background

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should managers coach their teams?

When you think of coaching, think of the famous phrase, “Give someone a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach someone how to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime.”

Your intention behind becoming a manager should be to support people — not just the company. And growing as a professional and person often requires trial and error — you’ll need to go through that too, and it’s so much easier to grow when you have support.

How do you coach a demotivated employee?

Coaching a demotivated employee can feel hopeless. Getting someone to enjoy their work can be one of the most challenging things for a manager.

First, determine if that person’s demotivation is a fixable issue. Would streamlining their job help bring the excitement back? Are they dealing with a personal issue that’s bleeding into their work? Or is it a structural problem that you can raise with company management and push for improvement? Getting a deep understanding of what is demotivating them can help you build a plan to address the issue.

After you’ve done the clarity work, help your report get their motivation back. Try some ideas like:

  • Delegating a task to a freelancer or someone else on the team to reduce the workload;
  • Investing in a project that excites them (if it meshes with company goals);
  • Revisiting their professional development plan to see if it aligns with their current goals.

What qualities make an effective coach?

Many qualities make an effective coach at work. Here are a few that you can hone over your time as a people ops leader:

  • Active listening
  • Empathy
  • Focus on goals
  • Positivity
  • Respectfulness
  • Supportiveness

Explore other playbooks

Erkunden Sie weitere Playbooks

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