Essential Coaching Skills for Leadership (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 10, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Effective coaching strategies focus on helping an individual improve their skills and performance. Coaching skills for leaders emphasize how to help individuals identify their goals, assess their current skills and abilities, and create action plans for improvement. Understanding how to coach effectively can help leaders build strong relationships with their team members and improve organizational performance. In this article, we explore what these skills are and list the types you can use in the workplace, review ways to improve your skills, and identify how to highlight these attributeswhen applying for a job.

What are coaching skills?

Coaching skills are abilities that help individuals and groups improve their performance, achieve goals, or reach their potential. You can use these skills in many settings, including:

  • Workplace: These skills can be used to help employees improve their performance or develop new skills. For example, you might coach a team on how to work better together or give feedback to an individual about their presentation skills.

  • Sports: Coaching strategies can be helpful when working with athletes to improve their techniques, game strategy, or stamina. For example, a soccer coach might help players improve their passing skills or a track coach might help runners increase their speed.

  • School: You can use these strategies to help students reach their academic potential or develop specific skills, such as time management or study habits. For example, you might work with a high school student to prepare for college entrance exams or help a middle schooler learn how to take notes effectively.

  • Personal development: These skills can be used when assisting people in overcoming personal challenges or reaching goals, such as quitting smoking or losing weight. For example, you might help someone develop a plan to maintain a fitness routine or provide support to someone who's going through a difficult life transition.

Related: What Are the Types of Career Coaching? (How to Become One)

Types of skills

Incorporating a coaching methodology into your leadership strategy can improve communication, problem-solving, and team performance in the workplace. Here are some types of skills that leaders can use:

Empathy

Strong coaching leaders can understand and share the feelings of their employees. They can view conflicts from different perspectives and help their employees feel heard and valued. Coaches who exhibit empathy create a safe environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas. Empathy also allows coaches to better understand their employees' needs and how they can meet them.

Positivity

Focusing on weaknesses only disengages and discourages others, so staying positive is a coaching skill that's much needed to motivate a team. You can help others see their strengths and validate their hard work. A good leader helps an individual identify their unique abilities and uses those skills to help them improve professionally and personally.

Communication

Leaders who are effective communicators can share their vision with others in a clear and concise way. They also listen attentively and allow employees to share their thoughts and ideas. Excellent communication skills allow coaches to develop trust and respect with their employees.

Sincerity

When leaders are sincere in their words and actions, it creates trust and credibility. Employees are more likely to respect and follow a genuine and authentic leader. Sincerity also allows coaches to build strong relationships with their employees.

Guidance

Leaders who provide guidance help their employees navigate through challenges. They offer advice and support but ultimately allow employees to make their own decisions. This type of leader trusts their employees' abilities and allows them to grow professionally. Guidance is an important coaching skill for leaders who want to develop strong relationships with their employees.

Related: How to Become a Career Coach (With Steps and Types)

How to improve your coaching strategies for leadership

Some ways to improve your skills in this area include:

1. Define your strengths

Consider the qualities you have already developed and use those as tool and a basis for improvement to help guide you. Your strengths can be anything from your ability to empathize with others to your persistence when dealing with adversity. It's important to be aware of your strengths so you can leverage them to help you coach more effectively.

2. Identify your goals

Set some goals for improving your skills by asking for professional feedback from your coworkers. Be open to their ideas and ask clarifying questions to help ensure the message is clear. Try to make your goals specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based to have a clear target.

3. Seek a mentor

Observe those around you, identify someone you have confidence in, and ask for help or guidance. This can help you develop lasting bonds and adopt their most effective traits as your own. A mentor can provide you with the skills and knowledge to help you improve as a coach.

4. Practise active listening

Active listening is a key coaching skill that involves being fully present and engaged when communicating with others. This means making eye contact, maintaining an open body posture, and resisting the urge to interrupt or offer advice unless asked. It's important to let the other person speak without interruption so that you can fully understand their perspective.

5. Be patient

Coaching requires patience, as it takes time for employees to develop and reach their potential. It's important to be supportive and understanding when working with employees to help them grow both professionally and personally. Creating a safe and comfortable environment is key to fostering trust and open communication.

6. Build confidence

Keep your focus on your improvements and maintain some flexibility when learning. Staying positive about how you've helped coach others may build your own confidence. Remember that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, so don't compare yourself to others. Instead, focus on your own development and progress.

Coaching skills in the workplace

Implementing skills in the workplace, regardless of your industry or level, can make you more effective at work and lead to promotions or other professional opportunities. Some skills in the workplace to consider include:

  • Providing feedback: Individuals in leadership positions often give feedback, whether it's positive or negative. It's important to learn how to deliver feedback constructively and respectfully.

  • Motivating employees: Employees need the motivation to stay engaged and productive. Leaders can provide this by setting clear goals, providing regular feedback, and offering growth opportunities.

  • Accepting feedback: Asking for feedback can be difficult, but it's important to be open to criticism and use it as an opportunity to improve. It's important for leaders to encourage employees to give feedback and create an environment where it's safe to do so.

  • Being flexible: Understanding that each employee is different and may respond to different coaching methods is important. It's essential for leaders to be flexible in their approach and adapt to the individual needs of their employees.

  • Building relationships: Strong relationships are essential for effective coaching. It's helpful for leaders to focus on building trust and mutual respect with their employees. You can do this by being open and honest, providing support, and showing genuine interest in their development.

  • Developing others: One of the most important roles of a leader is to help employees develop their skills and reach their potential. Leaders can identify employees' strengths and provide opportunities for them to grow.

  • Improving morale: Team building is an essential part of leadership. Helping individuals build a relationship typically motivates them to work effectively and can make reaching goals and objectives enjoyable.

Related: Why Consider Online Career Coaching to Advance Your Career?

How to highlight your coaching strategies when applying for a job

Many coaching strategies for leadership are transferrable across many industries and roles. Featuring these skills and qualities on your resume and cover letter and during a job interview can help potential employers see how they can benefit from them. It can also make you a competitive candidate for job opportunities. Here are some ways to focus on your skills when composing your resume and cover letter or during a job interview:

1. Highlight it in your resume summary

If you have a few years of experience using these coaching skills, your resume summary is a great place to mention this. For example, you can mention that you're an experienced coach with a focus on developing leadership skills in employees. It's a good idea to mention your skills early on your resume so that potential employers can see this information first.

2. Focus on it during a job interview

When you're at a job interview, make sure to focus on your coaching skills. For example, if the interviewer asks you about a time when you had to give feedback, use this opportunity to discuss how you provided feedback constructively and helped the individual improve. If they ask you about your management style, you can discuss how you focus on developing others.

3. Use specific examples

When highlighting your skills, it's always helpful to use specific examples. This gives potential employers a better understanding of how you've used your skills in a real-world setting. For example, you can mention how you developed a leadership development program for employees that helped improve morale and increased productivity.

4. Include it in your work experience section

When describing your experience in your work history section, make sure to focus on the skills that you've developed. For example, you can mention how you've coached employees on effective communication or helped them develop a growth mindset. You can also include any relevant certifications that you have earned.

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