Seven Ways Leaders Create Tipping Points

Employees who don’t feel the need to improve say, “Just tell me what you want.” But, passion for self-improvement drives the desire to be coached.

Those committed to growth want coaches, not bosses – especially young, aspiring leaders.

tipping points

3 tips for coaching style leaders:

  1. Don’t get sucked into problems.
  2. Don’t feel responsible to find solutions.
  3. Create tipping points.

3 parts to coaching conversations:

  1. Problems or frustrations.
  2. Solutions or progress.
  3. Tipping points.

Problems: What’s wrong?

  1. Dig into their problem, never minimize it. “That seems serious.”
  2. Listen for frustration and explore it. Don’t fear it. “What’s frustrating about that?”
  3. When does this problem flare up?
  4. What do you see? Define problems in behavioral terms.

Solutions: What do you want?

When you ask a coachee what they want, they tell you what they don’t want.

“I want complaining to stop,” for example.

When you ask a coachee what they want, they tell you what they want from others.

“I want them to stop complaining,” for example.

Tipping points: What can you do?

  1. Define solutions in positive, not negative, terms. “I want a positive work environment,” is better than, “Stop complaining.”
  2. Define solutions in behavioral terms. “What behaviors create positive work environments?”
  3. Encourage responsibility. “What can you do to create a positive work environment?”
  4. What system or process might help?
  5. How can you reward positive behaviors?
  6. How can you not tolerate or marginalize negative behaviors?
  7. What’s the first thing you would like to try? When? How frequently?

Dealing with sticking points: It won’t work.

Coachees protest that problems are too big and solutions imperfect.

  1. Improve as you go, not before you try. Just try something simple, observable, and small.
  2. Trust the ripple effect. Small shifts produce powerful impact.
  3. Explore commitment. On a scale of one to ten, how committed are you to try this? Why didn’t you choose a lower number?

What does coaching style leadership look like to you?

What are the challenges of managers coaching their team members?

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