4 Ways to Develop Talent by Coaching Through Success
Success is a terrible thing to waste.
Problems, challenges, and mistakes are so magnetic that leaders might forget to coach team members through success.
A couple of years ago, while working with a team of internal coaches, one participant remarked that his coachee was doing well. He said, “There’s nothing to coach about.”
It’s normal for new coaches to think this way.
Coaching through success builds momentum.
It’s limiting to think coaching is exclusively about fixing mistakes and dealing with weaknesses.
Coaching through success:
#1. Provide opportunities for reflection after success.
It’s easier to learn from failure by reflecting on what went wrong and what we might do next time.
It takes discipline to learn from success.
- What did you do right?
- What personal qualities are behind this success?
- What makes you proud?
- What motivated you to take these actions?
- What strengths do you have that produced the most benefit?
#2. Point out BS when you smell it.
Success invites people to think more highly of themselves than they should.
You’ve been doing these behaviors for a long time…
- What came together this time?
- How did others contribute to success?
- Who do you need to thank?
- What does humility look like in this situation?
#3. Turn toward the future.
Success is dangerous when it results in a sense of arrival.
- What’s next?
- How might you build on this success?
- How might you find new applications for your strengths?
- What advice do you have for yourself in this situation?
#4. Honor hard work and character more than results.
Failure is a learning tool – success energizes.
How might leaders coach team members through success?
Thanks for pointing out that there is an opportunity to learn from any situation – even when things are going well. Great food for thought!
Thanks Jennifer. I like the “learn from any situation” approach.
Great insights Dan, especially on the dangers of success making us complacent. That’s a real problem. The flip side is it’s easy to focus on failures and mistakes, few people know how to honor their success and capitalize on it.
Thanks Alan. I think one of the worst problems in organizations today is the seduction of problems. If you add our reluctance to learn from success and you have a double whammy.
Now that deserves an entire blog post!
It’s funny, I was thinking the same thing. 🙂
Thanks for this Dan.
You have very neatly articulated my approach to coaching children playing sport. My first question at the quarter and half breaks was always what did you do well. Kids usually know what they have achieved but sometimes you need to prompt them… this is also true of adults. After identifying what each individual did well, I would ask what we as a team needed to focus on in the next playing period or game. My coaching experience tells me people work best at improving when they decide what needs improving.
I have applied this approach in my work and always ask people when analyzing their own performance to start with their successes before moving to their areas of improvement and use what worked in the former to better advantage in addressing the latter.
Thanks John. Very helpful. I find that people need to get comfortable talking about successes. Perhaps we wonder if we are even allowed to talk about what we did well. It doesn’t feel humble. But, after a while, things start rolling and energy goes up.
As you indicate. It’s great platform for moving forward.
Great post and reflection. To add; there is a fear of acknowledging the amount of good luck involved as well. Timing, connections, placement, intuition (not knowing) etc. all have a role in translating concepts or programmes into success, I don’t think any of us acknowledge readily enough that ‘lady’ luck looked over our shoulder – foolishly we think it dims the light upon us, the reality is ‘that’s just the uncontrollable factor that can deflate or inflate the entrepreneur”.
I try to be consistent with remembering that each situation is a teachable moment. Thanks for the added insight.