Leadership: How to Avoid the Biggest Coaching Mistake

The biggest coaching mistake in leadership is trying to solve a person’s leadership problem when they don’t think they have a problem. And they don’t ask for help.

“It’s Not About the Nail” provokes a major question: How do you convince a person you have the solution when they don’t ask for help. Even more, when they don’t seem to want a solution. And, on top of that, when they don’t see the proverbial elephant in the room. Or, in this case, the nail lodged in their head. After all, as you heard, “It’s not about the nail.”

The temptation is to repeat the mistake of immediately trying to solve the problem. It obviously doesn’t work in this and in many cases. A better approach is a strategy that taps into leadership qualities.

Listen to this person, resisting the temptation to solve the problem in this conversation.
Show your support and empathy. Tell the person you have faith in them and appreciate their taking the time to share their concerns.

Ask questions to better understand the person’s problem if only to let them vent more and be heard.

Acknowledge what they say is real to them even if they fail to see what’s obvious to you. That’s nurturing.

See this as an opportunity to connect with the person, building trust.

Schedule a separate follow-up meeting to review goals for the employee.

At that meeting, develop an Action Plan including measurable goals, deadlines, and the additional training the employee needs.

See this initial meeting as an opportunity to begin to enlarge the person’s skills and outlook because they had the courage to come forward.

When demonstrating your leadership qualities and bringing out the leader in others, it’s important you see it as a process rather than a one shot deal. The rewarding aspect is that approaches like these tailored to your personality get results, helping the bottom line.

For leadership training for your company, contact leadership expert Bob Kaplitz of the Rise Performance Group at 214.766.4236.

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