How Can A Leader Be A Coach

Coaching is a part of a leader role


If your actions INSPIRE others to DREAM more, LEARN more, DO more and BECOME more, you are a LEADER – John Quincy Adams

As stated in To Be A People Leader, You Should…, coaching forms a part of the leadership role, so why not be good at it!

Recall a leader in your life and ask yourself, did he/she give you the guidance you wanted, made you think beyond impossible, instilled the confidence that you needed, pushed you  to strive harder,  gave you the permission to fail and learn, was or is always there to seek advice from, even if you have moved on to become who you are today.

Your Leader in all such occasions was playing a role of a COACH. Leader as a coach plays a role of influence and promise. Inherently or through training, leaders have something special about them, they would always want their people to excel and become better.

In my earlier post, I introduced what you should know about Coaching. To carry from where I left, coaching involves two people, A Coach, and A Coachee.

A coach is someone who guides you through indecision, confusion, makes you find the answers and helps you in achieving your personal or professional goals. Be it a Life Coach, Personal Coach, Business Coach, all of them act in the way that brings you closer to your plans in a planned manner.

In the words of Simon Sinek,

 When the leader chooses to give importance and priority to the careers of his/her people first – people feel safe and remarkable things happen



Creating coaching environment in the team and in the organization is critical. It should not be mixed with training, where people learn new things or upskill the existing ones, usually initiated by the organizations.

Whereas, individuals initiate coaching where they need guidance for a specific goal. This is where a leader as a coach helps them in finding ways to achieve their objectives and in the process make them more independent and confident in their decisions and selections. Following are the three circles of coaching, that leaders combine together (necessary to build a relationship with a coachee) –

A coach works selflessly with the participant, give honest feedbacks and opinions, never shies away from positive criticism, hence builds a CIRCLE OF HONESTY. It is important that the relationship of a Leader Coach and the employee is laid on the strong foundation of integrity.

A coach makes you BELIEVE in, your abilities, possibilities, successes,  experiences, and learnings hence creating a CIRCLE OF TRUST, through which you become confident, get strong at self-belief, and look at things positively.

A coach builds a TRUST level with you by creating a CIRCLE OF SAFETY,  where he ensures that you are protected against the risk of failures, misguidance, lack of support, negativity. Once such uncertainties are minimized, the opportunity for success opens up and slowly starts to peak.



A coach sees you at your worst and prepares you to create ways to feel better and best

Circle of Safety, Honesty and Trust

Let’s take a quick look at what good coaches bring along (attributes), they  –

  1. Are good at communication
  2. Develop trust and respect
  3. Build rapport and openness
  4. Are non-judgmental
  5. Listens and document
  6. Ask open questions
  7. Encourage teams to find solutions
  8. Clarify points/suggestions made
  9. Challenge beliefs
  10. Help to see the big picture
  11. Call for a commitment to action
  12. Are solution focused
  13. Help with Reflections
  14. Customize  their approach as per individual need
  15. Follow-up

Coaching conversations should not be limited but must be specific in nature. Coaching is a key to performance management and leaders must get trained to become effective coaches –

According to the 2010 Executive Coaching Survey, conducted by the Conference Board, 63% of organizations use some form of internal coaching, and half of the rest plan to.

Yet coaching forms a small part of the job description for most managers. Nearly half of them spend less than 10% of their time coaching others, which means they should know exactly what they are supposed to do when they are coaching their people in the limited time that they have.

3 Ways of Making Leaders, a Coach


  1. Formally train all leaders

    – Why? because it’s not one size fits all situation.  To be effective as coaches, leaders need to be well equipped to use a range of coaching tools and techniques in various situations, with different employees and mindsets.  They must go through appropriate role plays and practice sessions to hone their coaching skills under proper guidance and should be certified at the end of the training


  1. Assign Mentors

    – New leaders or leaders at junior level would need mentors to observe and feed them back on their skills. Again, as mentioned in Coaching – What You Should Know, training will only have leaders get certified for coaching, it is regular monitoring and feedback at the right time which will help these new and future leaders become efficient in their skills


  1. Continuous Improvement

    – It is advisable to introduce updates and upgrades in coaching techniques, though not very often but surely in a certain interval. A good way of knowing if the coaching method is working well or not is to conduct a quick poll with the larger employee base or do a sample check.

A quick look at the survey conducted in 2015, highlighting the benefits of coaching conducted by trained Leader Coaches by Brandon Hall 

Results of Trained Coaches 


Good Leadership isn’t about advancing yourself, it’s about advancing your team

John  C Maxwell

Great coaches and leaders become great not only by gaining more knowledge and practicing the skill themselves but by coaching their teams to become better.


While proving a valuable employee engagement option, regular coaching helps in sustaining performance and creating new opportunities and leading to extraordinary results for both the employees and the organization.

A coach is not a magician who has a bag of tricks, however, they definitely have several coaching techniques that they apply to the given situation to get the results. In the next post, I will touch upon these methods, until then

Be The Leader, Be A Coach.

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Abhinav is passionate about working with people, understanding their concerns and coach them to do better. He writes in what he believes and shares his experiences with the larger audience. Through his services, he wants to make a difference in peoples' lives. Let's get on the learning journey together, get in touch through the SERVICES page on

75 Replies to “How Can A Leader Be A Coach

  1. The thing I love about this post is that all the information contained in it can be used not only at work but also at life with difficult relationships. Really good content here.

  2. Great post, there is some really insightful advice in here about how to balance being a coach and a leader, something that is hugely important and great for all involved.

  3. Great and informative article, and good to have the distinctions between the different kind of coaches.

  4. Loved your explanation here! It’s so important that to be a TRUE leader, you have to be a coach. You added excellent graphs to explain this as well


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