A Leadership Challenge You’ll Actually Like

In my role as executive coach, one of the most rewarding experiences is helping others see themselves in a new light so they can accomplish goals they didn’t think were possible.

You can do the same to help the people you lead.

In my last post I talked about the importance of being able to change your own perspective.

(Changing your perspective about yourself.)

As you learn how to change your own perspective, you can help others do the same.

Sometimes subtle shifts in how people view themselves can make a significant difference in the business.

As a leader, put on your own executive coaching hat as you view your team.

Try to change the lens through which you are accustomed to viewing your team or staff. It’s easy to find weaknesses. Employees are sensitized to weaknesses. (That’s why performance reviews can be so stressful.)

Instead make sure they see themselves as strong, capable performers, important contributors.

So much of an employee’s performance is based on the support, belief, recognition and coaching they receive from their manager.

If your team is not performing at the level it should, you may not be challenging the team in the right way.

It’s easy to challenge team members by giving them a big stretch goal. Or you might be thinking, “I just need to push them harder.” Pushing people too hard leads to burnout for them–and you.

Instead challenge team members to see themselves differently.

For example, you may think your new salesperson is not making calls because they’re unsure of the process. But they are thinking, “I’m too new.” Tell them to trust their instincts. Let them know you have confidence in their skills and capabilities.

Your key employee feels too nervous to speak at an important event. Tell them you look forward to hearing them speak. Let them know you believe they have exactly what it takes to deliver the talk.

You don’t have to be an executive coach, but you do have to develop a couple of key leadership coaching skills:



Challenge and encouragement. It’s a good combination often found in effective executive coaching relationships.

When someone is complaining that they don’t have enough time or resources, CHALLENGE them to see themselves as more resourceful. ENCOURAGE them to bring new ideas or solutions.

So the key is not to spend your energy pushing people so hard to get the work done. Instead CHALLENGE the beliefs and assumptions they have about their own capabilities. ENCOURAGE them to see new possibilities about what they can do.

What to say?

Here are some suggestions:

  • I think you are more capable than you realize.
  • You’re really smart. I know you’ll figure it out.
  • What are some new ways you might help us achieve our goals?
  • What if you weren’t so afraid to step into the new role? What would be possible?

As they change or expand their self view, they’ll expand results in your business.

See how many team members you can challenge and encourage this week.

Are you up for that leadership challenge? I hope so.