A leader asked me this week “How do leaders become great coaches, given today’s environment”? It was such a great question and the conversation that followed was thought-provoking, insightful and stayed with me long after the session concluded. I mean, here I am writing about it now, right?

I thought about it for about 10 seconds and I said “I think it starts with empathy and being able to understand the challenges people are facing, personally and professionally, and then being able to connect with people where they are, at the time, in order to help them move forward to another place.” 

I was decently satisfied with that answer, but as our conversation evolved, I wanted to add more. “In addition to empathy, I think for leaders to be able to coach others, they also need courage. It’s not easy making decisions that are difficult, and often those choices don’t come from a pool of great ones to choose from. So for leaders to become great coaches I think they need both empathy and courage.”

Of course, as we continued to talk our conversation included other traits like vulnerability, honesty and trustworthiness, humor, authenticity, etc… it was a great conversation overall. 

Fast forward through the week and I found myself chatting with another client about the time-saving wizardry powers of ChatGPT. I’m not ashamed to admit that I am a late adopter of most technologies and therefore I didn’t have much experiential data of my own to share, so I committed to finally checking it out after our conversation.

Well….what better way to introduce myself to ChatGPT than with the prompt – How do leaders become great coaches? Within 8 seconds (less time than it took me above) ChatGPT produced its answer. You are more than welcome to read the response in its entirety, as I’ve included it below, but if you get past #3 and you’re still interested, I want to know. I zoned out after #3.

So here’s my take on ChatGPT, yes, it’s quick, it’s time-efficient, but I certainly hope I’m more interesting and more thought-provoking, and the information we share together stays with you longer.

I’d add one more quality a leader needs to be a great coach – connection. Connection is built during exchanges with one another – not so much one and a computer.

I’m curious….what do you think leaders need to become great coaches? 
(Also, where did you stop reading the below?) 

ChatGPT Response:

Great leaders become great coaches through a combination of specific qualities, skills, and actions. Being a great coach involves more than just giving advice or direction; it requires fostering the growth and development of individuals or teams. Here are some key principles that leaders can follow to become great coaches:

  1. Active listening: Effective coaching starts with actively listening to the concerns, ideas, and challenges of team members. By understanding their perspectives and needs, leaders can provide more relevant and helpful guidance.
  2. Empathy and understanding: Great coaches show empathy and understanding towards their team members. They put themselves in their shoes, acknowledge their feelings, and treat them with respect and compassion.
  3. Setting clear expectations: As a coach, it’s crucial to set clear and realistic expectations for your team members. This ensures everyone is aligned and aware of the goals they are working towards.
  4. Individualized approach: Recognize that each team member is unique and has different strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. Tailor your coaching approach to cater to individual needs and help them reach their full potential.
  5. Provide constructive feedback: Regular, constructive feedback is essential for growth. A great coach provides feedback that is specific, actionable, and focuses on improvement rather than criticism.
  6. Encourage learning and development: Support continuous learning and development within your team. Provide resources, training, and opportunities for skill enhancement.
  7. Lead by example: The best coaches lead by example, demonstrating the values, behaviors, and work ethic they expect from their team.
  8. Delegate and empower: Allow team members to take ownership of their tasks and projects. Empower them to make decisions and provide guidance when needed.
  9. Recognize and celebrate achievements: Acknowledge and celebrate the achievements and successes of your team members. Positive reinforcement boosts morale and motivates them to excel further.
  10. Foster a growth mindset: Encourage a growth mindset within the team, where failure is seen as an opportunity to learn and improve rather than a reason to give up.
  11. Adaptability and flexibility: Be adaptable in your coaching approach, recognizing that different situations may require different strategies.
  12. Support work-life balance: Show understanding and support for your team members’ work-life balance, as this contributes to their overall well-being and productivity.
  13. Continuous improvement: As a leader and coach, strive for continuous improvement in your coaching skills. Seek feedback from your team members and be open to refining your approach.
  14. Patience and perseverance: Coaching is a process that requires patience and perseverance. Not all progress will happen immediately, but with consistent effort and support, growth is achievable.

By embodying these principles, leaders can create a positive and empowering coaching environment that nurtures the talents and potential of their team members, ultimately leading to greater success for both individuals and the organization as a whole.