What’s Your Strategy for Making Coaching a Habit?

Make coaching a habit

For coaching to become your dominant leadership style, it needs to become a habit. Our lives are a reflection of what we repeatedly do—our habits. Establishing new habits is not easy, but it can be done. By changing one small habit at a time, we begin to become better versions of ourselves.

Making Coaching a Habit

Research has indicated that there are things we can do to make habits easier to form.

Along with consistent practice, it’s helpful if the habits you’re changing are small, specific and include a stimulus. Instead of saying, “I’m going to become a better coaching-based leader,” try something like: “When someone asks a question, I’m going to pause and ask myself, ‘Is this an opportunity for coaching?’” In this example, the stimulus is the question the other person is asking. Knowing that this is the stimulus will help form a habitual response—and since that habitual response is a coaching approach, it will help you become a better coaching-based leader. This example of a habit also starts out small by only focusing on reflecting if the situation is an opportunity for a coaching approach, rather than attempting to do everything at once.

When you implement your coaching-based habit, reward yourself. This is what conditions and literally re-wires your brain into being a coaching-based leader. Eventually, this habit becomes reflexive and automatic—you won’t have to consciously remember (or reward yourself) to pause and think, for example, whether it is an opportunity for coaching.

What reward do you think would work best for you? This reward could be something as simple as treating yourself to a jellybean, or it could be putting a tally mark toward a bigger reward, like seeing a new movie in the theater.

Here are some other examples of small, specific actions you could implement to become more of a coaching-based leader:

  • Start every meeting with an intention to take a coaching-based approach to the meeting
  • At the end of every meeting, ask insightful questions like:
    • “What haven’t we said yet that needs to be said?”
    • “What’s our collective next step?”
  • After a conversation, take out a notebook and jot down three bullet points about the other person’s perspective. Consider what went well and what could be done differently.

Challenge

Think about what habits are currently embedded in your day-to-day conversations. What can you begin to do to change some of those habits into coaching-based leadership approaches?

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