Part of being a good coach and leader requires that you be coachable. While there are many ways to demonstrate your “coach-ability” as a leader, one of the best ways to model that you are coachable to your team members is to seek out some feedback on your coaching conversations when they occur. So before you conclude a coaching dialogue, shift gears and ask a few specific questions about your performance. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or extensive, just demonstrate that you are taking an interest in their perspective and modelling the receiving side of coaching. You can also use the information you gather to enhance your self-awareness and discover how people respond to your style and approach.
Here are a few questions I recommend using to initiate some feedback and coaching from the coachee:
- How did this discussion work for you?
- Are you getting what you need from me?
- How can I help support your efforts?
- Do you feel I have been clear or have you felt confused?
- Do you have any suggestions for me that would help me be a more effective coach?
These types of questions will do a lot to ensure that you have demonstrated your active interest in being coachable. But the most important part is that you listen intently and try to take the person’s feedback to heart without getting defensive. Demonstrating respect for their ideas and perspective is a key part of communicating the right message to the other person.
Indicate that your commitment is to improve and make a significant contribution to creating a productive relationship. When coaches know that you are committed to building a synergistic relationship and that they are supported, you can expect to see positive results from your coaching discussions. This will give you a glimpse into whether or not the dialogue is working for them and better prepare you for the next coaching opportunity. I have also found that team members are more likely to come back and seek more input from you because they have seen you be vulnerable and look for opportunities to learn and grow.
Maintaining a healthy coaching relationship is one of the most important things you can do as a leader, so don’t neglect opportunities to signal your intent and commitment to improve your leadership skills.