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

NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work

NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work

Written by: Jon Sabes

When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward. 

However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:

  • He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
  • He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
  • When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
  • While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
  • In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.

Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (, is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.

Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.

Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.

His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”

When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”

On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.

“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”

That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing.  Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.

Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”

When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it.  He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.

I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.

GWG Holdings, Inc.
Investing in Life
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GWG Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:GWGH) the parent company of GWG Life, is a financial services company committed to transforming the life insurance industry through disruptive and i ... Click for full bio