Best Practice Coaching – How Often You Ask?

Shouldn’t every college graduate take a course in managing and coaching people? I know my wife and I with our fancy-shmancy bachelors AND graduate degrees never received formal training. Instead, we learned like so many people, on the job. Most of that was by osmosis from mostly average experiences. No slight is intended, as few of our managers were themselves taught to manage and coach. And so the cycle continues, which is why I keep challenging the conventional “wisdom” so many of us absorbed.

Two weeks ago I wrote about how “best practice” in coaching is to ask people — even your direct reports — if they are open to coaching.  Since then, I’ve been haunted by the executive I mentioned in that post, who said, “I have a responsibility to coach my people.” He didn’t know why he should have to ask for their permission.  I used him as a foil to explain why managers should ask whether their people are open to coaching.  But I’ve been thinking that I glossed over his fundamentally valuable point:  

 Great managers do see it as a responsibility to coach. So, let’s just assert this as a clear standard: In management we do have an obligation, not just to get the job done, but to develop people’s competence, independence, and satisfaction at work.

So now, I invite you to answer three questions for yourself and to share your answers with others in this community of 10 thousand reading leaders.   What do we consider best practice in terms of frequency of coaching? As a community of readers we have hundreds of thousands of years of experience as people who have been managed and who manage. So, weigh in on this 3-question survey, and immediately see the cumulative results.  I will, of course, share what stands out in next week’s Reading for Leading. I appreciate you taking a couple minutes to contribute your thoughts, as you 

Lead with your best self,



  • One of the best resources I found on Coaching comes from a series of Podcasts called Manager Tools ( They have been doing free podcasts for 8-9 years and have won podcast awards based on their content. I found this late in my career and wished I had access to their work when I was first starting out.

  • For whatever reason, supervisors seem loathe to provide the very thing that people need most – honest feedback. But we can’t expect our supervisors to know this, or break out of their comfort zone, unless we ask for the feedback.

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