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How To Coach Frustrated Control Freaks

Experience suggests that leaders are control freaks.

You know you’re a controlling leader if:

  1. You’re ideas are always the best.
  2. Teammates have stopped offering suggestions.
  3. People constantly ask you questions.
  4. You spend your days signing off and giving permission.
  5. Your organization is stagnating.

4 coaching questions for frustrated control freaks:

  1. What responsibility would you like to let go, at least partially?
  2. What new responsibilities might you take up, if you let go of some current ones? (Note: The person you are coaching may wish to take up a new responsibility or spend more energy on a current one.)
  3. How important, on a scale of 1 to 10, is letting go of this responsibility? Personally? Organizationally?
  4. What are you doing when you are fulfilling that responsibility? Explore behaviors.
    • Describe the behaviors associated with fulfilling that responsibility, specifically.
    • What’s fulfilling about those behaviors? Frustrating?
    • What makes you great at employing those behaviors?

From controlling to empowering:

Think about the behaviors you employ to fulfill a responsibility that you would like to let go. (Refer to responses to question 4 above.) Forget the responsibility itself. 

  1. How might others become ready to take up what you’re ready to let go? How quickly? How could you cut that time in half?
  2. What needs to be true of others in order for you to let go? How can those things become reality?
  3. Which behaviors could you give to someone, this week? What needs to be in place to make that happen?
  4. How might you equip someone to engage in the behaviors that fulfill a responsibility you would like to let go? (Explore mentoring, coaching, or training.)

General questions:

What will be true of you in six months, if you don’t let go of ______? If you do ______?

What would you like to do about that, this week?

What suggestions do you have for coaching frustrated control freaks?


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 having Bob Hancox and me come to your organization to develop the coaching skills of your team.

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