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Don’t look to provide answers right away

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 11-10-2011

Align goals with organizational strategies

Individual development targets should match specific company objectives.

Conduct person-to-person research

Interviewing direct reports/colleagues about work approaches, advancement potential, personal approach, etc. will establish full view of future leader's developmental needs before coaching begins.

Set the tone

Your own energy, empathy, preparation and techniques should model trust/professionalism/authenticity aspirations of your future leader.

Find a safe place

Locate coaching sessions in neutral areas where conversation can flow freely without concerns about others listening in.

Don’t look to provide answers right away

Initially, coaching is about listening and discovery. Focus on answers in later sessions.

Expect occasional tension

If professionally managed, it can positively fuel a sense of developmental challenge in your future leader.

Explore with open-ended questions

Not "did you ...?" But "how did you ...?"

Encourage insightful disclosure with positive language

"That's a very intriguing point. Tell me more ..." or "Sounds like you've been putting a lot of thought into this idea. Let's discuss it further ..."

Tell your own stories

Sharing makes you more real and reminds future leaders that you once walked in "their shoes."