The Top 5 Ways to Coach Your Team to Success

The Top 5 Ways to Coach Your Team to Success

Coaching is one of the key components of managing modern employees. Nowadays, most people don’t just want to turn up to work and complete their daily tasks: they’re interested in both their personal and career development, and expect their managers to align with this and help bring them to the next level. Coaching your employees and helping them progress is the mark of a successful manager, and one that team members are highly grateful for. We take you through the top 5 ways to coach your team to success, and become a great leader yourself as you do so.

Listen: get to know the individual

Coaching isn’t a one-fits-all process. It’s important to tailor what you’re doing depending on who you’re interacting with. There isn’t a formula when it comes to helping someone develop: instead having a genuine understanding of the individuals that make up your team and what they’re needing to work towards will make for a far better and more useful process for everyone. Asking people what they feel they need to work on, how they see their development and what they think their next steps are, rather than simply putting people on standardized plans is far more beneficial. It will allow your team to each work on things which will benefit them and their long-term development plans. People will also really appreciate that you’re taking the time to treat them as individuals and cater to their goals, and in turn likely feel way more motivated to put great effort into their work.

Ask question

Asking people what they want from the coaching process goes hand-in-hand with communicating well. Once you realize what people want from the process, it’s easy to tailor what you’re doing. One fail-safe way to start is by asking people questions. What is it they want? Only once you know what people’s key focuses are can you really start to help them. Just taking the straight forward step of asking people the right questions can make all the difference between a useful process being set in place and people still not being happy with their progress. Really listening to your employees responses and tailoring the next steps around their answers shows you value people, and are in line with their personal values and goals. Asking people what they actually want out of the process is the only way to ensure it’s fully useful: whilst sometimes, as a manager, you have to assign things to people, working on coaching and their development programs can’t just be another one of these tasks. It really requires people to give their input and work collaboratively with you in order to take control of their own development.

Focus on people, not tasks

Make it clear to your team that the conversations and feedback taking place aren’t focused around the tasks or projects they’re working on, but how they can work on their skills, knowledge or practices and build them to improve future performance. When coaching your team, that’s exactly what the focus should really be on: using these skills and points for improvement to shape future practices and personal development. It’s key to have people know that this is all something you can build on together over time, and that you’re not expecting the things discussed to change and improve instantly overnight.

Emotional Intelligence

Coaching employees isn’t just about the employee. A large part of coaching people is the way you yourself deal with them; how you both perceive and in turn interact with them. If you can level with people, try and understand where they’re coming from with any problems in their role, opposing outlooks or personal issues, you’ll be far better equipped to deal with the situation at hand and work with people on a one-to-one basis. Being more aware of and increasing your emotional intelligence will by far improve you as a coach and mean you’re ready to better support and guide people: it’s not surprising that successful leaders seem to have higher than average levels of emotional intelligence.Being emotionally intelligent requires a focus: both on yourself and having an acute awareness of your inner workings, but also on others: empathizing with them and using your understanding as a basis to work more closely with people on a personal level.

Feedback is key

It’s impossible for people to develop without feedback. If your team aren’t aware of what they can improve, it doesn’t allow them to change or really build upon what’s going well. Providing effective, real-time feedback means plans can be tailor made to ensure the most efficient development takes place. Giving people tailored feedback which you’ve built up from closely working with them is the first step towards a useful development process. It’s also hugely important to recognize people’s achievements. Feedback isn’t just limited to constructive criticism: praising people for their successes is equally important. If your team know that you’re both aware of what they’re doing and you support them in their successes, they will be appreciative and likely strive even harder towards their goals as they know both where their strengths and weaknesses are, and that they have the support needed to achieve their upmost potential. It’s a great idea to set up regular 1-on-1’s with team members so feedback is established as an ongoing process.

Coaching is an increasingly important part of a modern manager's job. It’s key to get comfortable with coaching people by building genuine, unique relationships with your team members, using feedback efficiently, and listening to people to find out what they want and where they feel they’re headed. Once you’re collaborating like this and leading your team in the direction they need, you’re well on your way to coaching a happy and motivated team to success.

Steffen Maier
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Steffen Maier is co-founder of Impraise, a platform for actionable, timely feedback among co-workers. He is Y Combinator alum and recognized thought leader in Human Resources ... Click for full bio

Sizing up Strategic Beta

Sizing up Strategic Beta

Interest in strategic beta ETFs is rising. A few simple guidelines can help investors pick from among the often-bewildering number of options.

The number of strategic beta ETFs has grown at 20% a year, consistently in good markets and bad, since the year 2000.[2] With good reason: Strategic beta ETFs offer a more thoughtful passive option than cap-weighted indexes—and they can do so with a more transparent process and lower fees than actively managed funds.

Bright future, dim past    

All well and good, but how should investors assess any particular strategic beta ETF? Close to 40% of these funds have been in operation for less than three years[2]. This lack of an established track record can make it hard to validate their claims. ETF sponsors may try to make up for that shortcoming with back testing, running simulations of holdings they might have had against actual past market performance, but that has its limitations:

Back testing doesn’t always account for fees, liquidity or transaction costs.

Back tests are “selection biased”—that is, back testers have a tendency (conscious or not) to engineer positive outcomes. Live outcomes are therefore likely to be inferior.

Too great a focus on recent history can lead to “driving in the rearview mirror.” While an index or ETF may solve the problems of yesterday well, an investor’s focus should instead be on solving the potential problems of tomorrow.

Three steps to an informed judgment

Because the indexes tracked by strategic beta ETFs are by design somewhat exotic, effective assessment of them calls for some digging:

  1. Investors first have to understand who the index designer and asset manager are (they may not be the same people). They should have a clearly expressed investment philosophy and the expertise to enact it in practice.
  2. The properties of the portfolio should reflect the investment philosophy. Not only does the transparency of ETFs allows examination of the holdings to ensure that this is the case, it also measures such as active share relative to a cap-weighted benchmark or turnover can indicate whether an ETF is performing as designed.
  3. Performance can also be used to confirm that an index is doing its job. While short-term results shouldn’t be given too much sway, the index designer should be able to explain when and why an index will perform and when it might not.

One key aspect of performance shared with traditional passive management is tracking error. Like earlier cap-weighted index tracking funds, strategic beta ETFs should have minimal tracking error to their own indexes. Beware, though, the tracking error to the benchmark can be large and dynamic, it is by this differentiation that strategic beta adds value.

Made to measure

Strategic beta does not defy analysis, despite its novelty. Indeed, it has a lasting advantage over standard active manager due diligence. Strategic beta, after all, is rules-based. What an investor sees in straightforward, well thought-out index composition rules is what the investor will get. In that sense, strategic beta is relatively immune to the personnel changes, style drift and index hugging that can challenge actively managed mutual funds.

Learn more about ETF due diligence here.


This document is a general communication being provided for informational purposes only. It is educational in nature and not designed to be a recommendation for any specific investment product, strategy, plan feature or other purpose. Any examples used are generic, hypothetical and for illustration purposes only. Prior to making any investment or financial decisions, an investor should seek individualized advice from a personal financial, legal, tax and other professional advisors that take into account all of the particular facts and circumstances of an investor’s own situation.

Opinions and statements of market trends that are based on current market conditions constitute our judgment and are subject to change without notice. These views described may not be suitable for all investors. References to specific securities, asset classes and financial markets are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as, recommendations. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investment returns and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. ETF shares are bought and sold throughout the day on an exchange at market price (not NAV) through a brokerage account, and are not individually redeemed from the fund. Shares may only be redeemed directly from a fund by Authorized Participants, in very large creation/redemption units. For all products, brokerage commissions will reduce returns.

J.P. Morgan Asset Management is the marketing name for the asset management business of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and its affiliates worldwide. J.P. Morgan Exchange-Traded Funds are distributed by SEI Investments Distribution Co, One Freedom Valley Dr., Oaks, PA 19456, which is not affiliated with JPMorgan Chase & Co. or any of its affiliates.

For additional disclosure 

For a longer discussion, please see our recent publication Strategic Beta’s due diligence dilemma (J.P. Morgan, April 2017).

[1] Morningstar.

[2] Morningstar.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management
Empowering Better Decisions
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See how ETFs differ from other investment vehicles, learn how to evaluate them, and discover how ETFs can be used effectively to achieve a diversity of investment strategies. ... Click for full bio