The Coaching Habits of Excellent Leaders: Step One

The Coaching Habits of Excellent Leaders: Step One

Would you rather be “managed” or “coached”? When I think of being managed, I think of top-down orders being given and obeying commands. But, when I consider being coached, I think of teamwork, collaboration and advice. If you’re like me, you probably prefer to be coached.

Unfortunately, many of us do not receive the coaching we need as leaders to become good coaches of our teams. Having led teams large and small, I’ve become convinced over the years of the superiority of coaching as the best way to get the most out of individuals and teams.

The 5 Coaching Habits of Excellent Leaders

Recently, I read an outstanding book by Lee Colan, PhD. entitled The 5 Coaching Habits of Excellent Leaders. For the next few weeks, I’m going to elaborate on each of the key lessons of Dr. Colan’s book. If you believe that coaching is the best method for moving yourself and your organization forward, then I highly recommend this book.

The Reliability Advantage

In order to be a great coach, Dr. Colan stresses a key trait must be in place first: personal reliability. Reliability starts with qualities such as integrity, trust, competence and authenticity. Those traits are critical because it’s impossible to expect others to be reliable if we are not. So, what are some of the keys to becoming a truly reliable leader?

Your Say/Do Ratio

Reliable people have a high say/do ratio. Meaning, your follow through on promises can be counted on. When someone always follows through, it’s always impressive. It is the quickest way to build credibility and trust.

Know Yourself

Knowing your preferences, values, limits, gifts and weaknesses will help you make the right commitments. Start with how others perceive you. Ask others what you can start doing, stop doing and keep doing that can make you a better leader.

Know Your Priorities

Having good clarity and commitment to your priorities will definitely help increase your reliability. Saying “no” to commitments that remove your focus from your priorities is a good trait to develop for reliability. Because saying “yes” to one task means saying “no” to some other task. You can be polite and still say “no” to anything that will distract you from your priorities.

Manage Timelines vs. Deadlines

Reliable people focus on timelines (when work gets done) to meet deadlines (when the work is due). It’s quite common to underestimate how long a task will take. So, better to under-promise and over-deliver on the results.

Speak the Language of Reliability

Words are the seeds of commitment. Reliable people see their words as personal promises. It’s really easy to let our reliability slip due to the language we use. Using specificity when speaking creates a sense of reliability and
commitment. For example, good examples of commitment are:

• Yes, I will do that for you.
• I will own this.
• I will make time to get this done.

Examples of reliability killers are:

• We’ll see.
• I’ll try.
• If I have the time.

We all probably need to examine our reliability language and resolve to do better. I know I do at times. As Jedi Master Yoda says, “Do or do not…there is no try!”

In the next article, I’ll review the next step of effective coaching habits in Dr. Colan’s book, which is “Explaining Expectations”. Feel free to reach out any time with questions and contact me.