Coaching Traps That Snare Many ManagersResearch on the Dramatic Impact of Extraordinary Coaching Skills” shows that leaders who are the most effective at coaching have three times more employees that “go the extra mile.” When leaders add coaching to their existing strengths they are ten times more likely to become a top-tier leader.

But as Aristotle observed, “with regard to excellence, it is not enough to know but we must try to have and use it.” This same advice applies to coaching skills. Today there’s lots of “coaching speak” but little real coaching skills development.

Leaders often fall into these common coaching traps:

  1. Reactive problem solving that puts out short-term fires and doesn’t build long-term personal, team, or organization capabilities.
  2. Jumping into coaching discussions with little planning and no framework to guide the conversation.
  3. Confusing giving advice/feedback with coaching.
  4. Perpetuating the Manager-Employee Dependence Cycle: Employee complains about what’s not working, hopes for solutions and advice from the manager, and expects him or her to own the issue. The manager listens to the problem, gives advice, and expects results from the employee.
  5. Climbing The Ladder of Inference way too quickly; rapidly stepping up from data/observations, to adding meaning, making assumptions, jumping to conclusions, adopting beliefs, and taking actions that often damages relationships and doesn’t deal with the root issue.
  6. Spending 85 – 90% of conversations with employees on project or status updates and very little time on coaching and developing. Employees want a 50/50 ratio.
  7. Confusing performance appraisal/management with performance coaching.

It’s very easy to slip into these traps without realizing it. Which ones ensnare you? How about your organization’s supervisors and managers? What’s your coaching culture?

Organizational surveys show that most managers believe they are providing coaching to employees and score themselves high. However, most employees state they receive little coaching from their leaders and score their leaders low.