Anyone Can Coach With This Simple Formula

If you’ve been an athlete, I bet you remember your favorite coach. Great coaches help inspire us to strive for our best, feel proud of the goals we’ve accomplished, and work together as a team. Coaching isn’t just reserved for the sports field. These days it’s getting more and more popular for professionals to engage executive or life coaches to help them make forward progress in their lives. Most people I’ve talked to have found coaching to be quite beneficial.

What makes a good coach?

Here’s what I’ve experienced first hand and from others: Safety, Curiosity, and Consistency. Great coaches create a safe place to be vulnerable and get the real issues out on the table. They show genuine curiosity about their clients’ goals and aspirations, ask the best questions, and avoid trying to impose their solutions. And, you can count on them for some very important things like confidentiality, keeping your goals primary, helping hold you accountable.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if more people acted like great coaches?

Do we really have to pay people to be safe, curious, and consistent? What if more of us practiced basic coaching principles with our friends, families, and peers? I don’t want to downplay the significant training, expertise, and skill that good coaches have. It’s a lot harder than you think, and great coaches are rare. Additionally, a coaching relationship involves an agreement between the coach and client about parameters and goals.

Still, aren’t there things we could all apply without too much training? Absolutely!

A simple formula for coaching anyone

No matter who you are dealing with, you can be a positive coaching presence with this simple formula. Apply these steps, in order, whenever you sense that someone might want your support or need a helping hand.

Be Caring

  • Affirm their feelings and let them know it’s OK to share what’s important to them without fear of judgment or rejection.
  • Empathize with them if you can and let them know they aren’t alone.

Caring affirms that people are worthwhile.

Be Curious

  • Ask if they want any help, and avoid pushing your own ideas or solutions so they can take ownership over the process.
  • Ask what they’ve tried already, or what’s worked in the past so they can build on their own successes.
  • Reflect back to them the gifts and capabilities you see in them so that they can recognize their own strengths.
  • Ask them what choice they want to pursue or what information they need to make a decision. Don’t make it for them or tell them what to do.

Curiosity affirms that people are capable.

Be Consistent

  • Ask if and how they’d like support to follow through on their decision.
  • Stick to your own boundaries so you honor your conscience, your energy levels, and your best self.
  • Check in with them to see how they are doing. Affirm progress, never judge, blame or attack. If they are struggling, go back to Open.

Consistency affirms that people are accountable.

Here’s a great article from the World Economic Forum about the power of coaching in the workplace.


Want to take your leadership and coaching skills to the next level? Attend one of our public workshops in Newton, KS. Next Element Essentials is a great course to learn the basics of our positive conflict and adaptive communication models.

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