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Coaching for Results through Others

March 12, 2015

The coaching style is a good fit when an organization needs someone who can keep a variety of workers motivated, needs a flexible type of leader or is in a competitive environment.  The key steps of the coaching addressed in this article are conveying expectations, practicing delegation and giving performance feedback.

Conveying Expectations

What is an Expectation? Some words use when defining the word expectation includes:

  • Goal
  • Result
  • Idea

An expectation is a powerful force. With expectations set “just right,” individuals and teams can take aim and reach loftier goals, while gaining valuable experience and developing new skills. When expectations are too high, individuals and groups may falter or experience burnout. Set too low, people can rust out.  Without an expectation, there is no goal, meaningful activity, relevant performance feedback or sense of accomplishment.

Communicating Expectations According to Learning Styles

An important ingredient to consider when conveying expectations to a follower is his or her learning style. Each person has a primary way of learning information; either visual, auditory or kinesthetic.


Visual learners pay more attention to what they see. They need to be shown things. Use pictures, charts, maps and graphs to convey concepts.


Auditory learners pay more attention to what they hear. They are natural listeners. Pay attention to sounding good and delivering an organized verbal pitch.  Use verbal analogies and stories to make points.


Kinesthetic types learn by touching and hands-on experience. They are tactile learners.  Give them a hands-on demonstration, let them hold relevant items and allow them to use and try things. They learn best through touch, practice and imitation.

When conveying an expectation, delegating an assignment or presenting information try including all three learning modes to express information to followers.  As much as possible, show, tell and give them a “hands-on” experience. This greatly increases the odds they will understand and retain the information you relay.

Practicing Delegation

Delegation is a way of conveying expectations and assigning work.  It is also the art of getting things accomplished through others. By assigning work to followers, you can free up your time to focus on other important tasks that are more fitting for the leadership role.

Benefits of Delegation

  • Followers become more involved and interested in the work
  • Increases the likelihood one will become more invested in your organization
  • Increases the odds individuals will stay with the company
  • Helps you become a better teacher, coach and mentor
  • Causes you, your followers and your organization to grow

Reasons Why Leader’s Don’t Delegate

  •  Not knowing how to delegate
  • Thinking they can accomplish the task more quickly by doing it themselves
  • Feeling they can do the job better than a subordinate
  • Not having time to adequately train an individual
  • If they have a great deal of turnover, feeling the job will just come back to them anyway

When planning to delegate, determine exactly what you are going to assign to whom and for what reason. You will need to make clear the results you expect. Also consider how you will train the chosen person. It’s important to factor in any controls or guidelines for accomplishing the objective and how and when you will follow-up with the individual or team. Decide how you will establish accountability and what the consequences of success and failure will be.

Giving Performance Feedback

Using Praise & Affirmation

A leader can use praise or affirmation to:

  • Recognize a task correctly accomplished or a job well done.
  • Affirm the individual’s value.
  • Acknowledge improved performance.
  • Support the person in pursuit of a goal.
  • Inform the follower they are on the right track.
  • Encourage the individual to keep moving forward.
  • Build the follower’s self esteem.

Taking time out to notice and point out what the follower has achieved is very effective. Telling an individual you liked the way he or she handled a customer or solved a problem or finished a task are all examples of giving an affirmation. In-the-moment feedback has been shown to help improve performance. You may also choose to use monthly, quarterly or annual employee recognition or awards to affirm an individual’s value in front of their team.  Remember that your outgoing behavioral types are more receptive to public praise while your reserved types prefer more personal and private recognition.

Giving Correction, Discipline, Warnings & Reprimands

The job of correcting, disciplining or reprimanding is one that most leaders don’t relish.  In addition, some leaders don’t correct in a clear manner, so the person does not really understand what’s being conveyed. If the leader hems and haws and gives fuzzy correction, the follower may not get the message or realize its importance. Correction must be delivered confidently, directly and clearly.


Some of the pitfalls leaders face when correcting workers include:

  • The need to be liked.
  • Fear of the follower’s reaction.
  • Concern with hurting the person’s feelings.
  • Being too direct.
  • Being factual without considering feelings.
  • No fore thought.
  • Bad timing or location.

Leaders should ask themselves the following questions: “Is this discipline or warning really called for?” “Is there really a problem with performance, appearance or relations that needs to be addressed?” Or are you just going to harp on someone because they do something differently than you?

Be careful about expecting everyone to do things the same way you do. Don’t forget, followers are there to help you accomplish a purpose and mission. If you are too controlling, they probably won’t want to work for you, or won’t be able to work in a manner that meets your unrealistic expectations.

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