We have all been taught very poorly how to train by those that trained us.  The corporate world trickles down into small business and it is primarily built one showing someone how to do a job.  Deciding to be a coach is very different than being a shower.  Think about the last time you trained someone or got trained, was the phrase “let me show you” used?  Showing someone how to do something is very different that teaching them, and that brings us to step 1.

Teach to Fish

We have all heard and said the old proverb, but it is amazingly apt when it comes to coaching and training.  Coaching is teaching someone to fish, or whatever task or skill you need them to acquire. Showing them is giving them a fish, and it rarely helps to develop skills.  And the truly negative part about showing is that it usually turns into doing it for them because it’s “easier” in the moment.  Keep in mind that you will have to invest more time on the front end to teach and coach, but it will more than make up for it on the back end.


Think of a coach that helps you to improve your game/skills, but when it comes to executing they can’t do it for you.  It’s you that has to get out onto the field, court, or pitch and put into practice what you have learned.  The constraints of competition force your coach to empower you to put your knowledge to work in real life.  Consider that the next time you have the thought to step in and take over a task.  If I were an actual coach would I be allowed to do this?  If the answer is no then figure out a better way to be a coach and empower them.

High Leverage

Coaches focus first on the skills and techniques that are going to have the biggest impact on their team.  Do the same with your team.  Before you create a coaching session for a one off, or very rare situation create a session for something that is extremely common or has a major impact.  Revenue driving or cost cutting issues are always great things to coach and train on.  The time you spend coaching and improving skills will be seen each time the employee(s) you trained encounter that situation.  This is what it means to truly be a coach, and it is time well spent.Work Culture Creation

If you are like most of us and have created a culture of showing you things and discipline the coaching mindset might feel foreign to your people.  Don’t be discouraged if they don’t jump at it right away.  However, if you are consistent in your approach they will come around.  That consistency will pay off with a change in culture to a coaching and teaching environment.

Once you have mastered your ability to coach and teach, your next challenge is to teach your influencers and supervisors to coach other employees.  That will be a future blog post, but for now we would love your feedback about being a coach.

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