10 Negative Results of Believing People are Incapable

Wanting change – while thinking and acting the same – is frustrating futility.

Trying to change people is the greatest futility of all.

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Coaching-leaders don’t change people, they have transformative conversations where people change themselves.

Shift toward engagement:

The most powerful shift coaching-leaders make is changing the way they think about people.

Stop focusing on lack. Begin focusing on capability.

Achieve engagement by focusing on what you have not what you don’t.

10 negative results of thinking people are incapable:

  1. Low expectations.
  2. Praise for marginal effort.
  3. Avoid conversations. “I don’t want to be bothered with them.”
  4. Provide less information. Incapable people don’t need information.
  5. Act with impatience.
  6. Interrupt while “incapable people” are talking.
  7. Supply less help. Why bother?
  8. Criticize more frequently.
  9. Give less feedback.
  10. Less smiling. More frowning.

(Adapted from, Coaching for Engagement.)

Engagement requires capability.

10 questions coaching-leaders ask capable people:

  1. What would you suggest?
  2. What are you trying to accomplish?
  3. What have you already done to address this issue?
  4. How have your efforts worked so far?
  5. What would you like to try?
  6. What would you like to do next?
  7. Who might need to be involved?
  8. What can you do while you’re waiting?
  9. When can you take the next step?
  10. When will you be done?

Coaching-leaders instigate change. Change begins by thinking and then acting differently.

Try approaching teammates as capable.

If they aren’t capable you hired the wrong people.

Coaching-leader tip:

Stressing and pressuring are unnecessary and counter-productive.

Become a coaching-leader by relaxing with people while holding high expectations. Tension indicates your inner fixer wants out of it’s cage.

What mental shifts facilitate movement toward coaching-leadership?

What changes when leaders approach people as capable contributors?



Wouldn’t it be great if you could energize people in the pursuit of excellence?

Wouldn’t it be great to enjoy the process?

I’m delighted to partner with Clarity Development Consulting to offer the proven “Coaching for Engagement” program. Drop me an email if you’d like to explore Bob Hancox and me coming to your organization to begin developing a coaching culture in your organization.

This post is inspired by, “Coaching for Engagement.”