5 Coaching Mistakes Many Team Leaders Make

Coaching and development are two elements at the core of every team leader’s role.

The performance of your team doesn’t wholly and solely fall on you. However, you have a significant influence on what the team delivers. It can come down to the type of culture you nurture and the amount of attention you show your direct reports.

Another factor is how you coach and develop your team members. There are many coaching mistakes that leaders can make when they spend time with their people. So what are they? Here are some of the most common ones and what you can do to avoid them.

1. Going in Over Prepared

Some preparation is needed to go into a coaching session. You should have a focus area and have completed some research as to how you’re going to spend the time together. It’s no good pulling up a seat next to someone without any clue what you’re going to work with them on.

It’s also a bad idea to focus too much on what you’re going to coach someone on as well as all the actions you’re going to take before you even meet with your direct report. Going in with preconceived ideas can result in a lot of worthless preparation. So be clear on what the development area will be, but don’t plan much more than that.

2. Not Having a Focus Area

If you’re going to put aside time to coach and develop someone, you should be prepared with a focus area. It doesn’t have to be something the person is doing wrong. It might be a skill they’re very good at but want to become better at.

You have options on how to avoid this coaching mistake. You can agree on it before you meet or outline an area before you catch up with the individual. At the start of the session, you should explain what the focus area is and why you want to spend time on it. That way, you’re both on the same page, and your direct report can divert their attention accordingly.

3. Focussing on the Wrong Things

One of the biggest coaching mistakes team leaders make is spending too much time making notes or filling out paperwork during the session. When you’re with your direct report, you need to have your undivided attention on them.

You shouldn’t bring your laptop or your mobile phone. Most coaching and development meetings go for about an hour. So don’t book anything afterward so you can spend 15 minutes making notes and recording your follow-up actions.

4. Providing Zero Input

There are some companies that include a KPI for how many coaching hours a team leader should perform within a month. If this is you, your boss is highlighting that you don’t do enough and need to do more. However, there can also be a downside to this.

As it becomes a KPI, it can mean you will complete the hours but not effectively. You may spend an hour with an individual but contribute nothing. Ultimately the business will suffer, and your team’s performance will decline. It then becomes a different conversation as to whether you’re suitable for the team leader role.

5. Lack of Follow Up Actions

Every coaching discussion should end with follow-up actions. What will your employee work on before the next session, and what support will you commit to? Nothing will change after the meeting is over if you don’t have any actions and just pat your employee on the back.

It’s essential to document these follow-up actions and commitments. Putting it in writing is like creating a contract. Send a copy to your direct report and file your own version too. It makes it easier to refer back to when the next session arrives.

More Coaching Mistakes to Avoid

There is no one right way to manage a development session. However, there are many different coaching mistakes that team leaders make. The most important thing you can do is measure the difference you’re making. Capture where your team is currently performing today, then demonstrate how you’re helping them improve in a month’s time. If you can’t do this, then it’s likely you’re making some of these coaching mistakes.

If you want to improve upon your coaching and development skills, then make sure you’re following the Better Boss Blog. You’ll find tips, advice, and guidance on how to become a more effective leader. Follow pwf services on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, so you never miss a post.

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