Beneath every leader's ID badge is a hidden layer with a very important message.  While some recognize and embrace this message, too many others have no idea it, or they know it but choose to ignore it.

This often unseen message defines a leader as much as their name, job title, and the institution whose logo is clearly reflected in this badge.

“ I Coach” is a very simple but powerful statement. It means that I coach my team to achieve higher levels of performance and engagement; This is because education and improvement are the core of my job.

In the case of a manager or leader who understands their real role, they adopt this simple statement. For those who fail in their leadership roles, they may not fully utilize the power of coaching to counsel, inspire, and align. Excellent coaching results in excellent leadership.

8. skills that make a great coach:

To help all managers and leaders live up to their roles as coaches, here are the eight skills that make a great coach. Read these skills, consider how you perform each, and find ways to better respect the mantra: “I Coach.”

1. Building a solid relationship:

Building rapport is the ability to develop a trusting and open working relationship. To establish a solid relationship, a coach must demonstrate integrity, confidentiality, and honesty, as well as their own professional expertise in order to cultivate credibility. To put it simply, a manager who is good at coaching needs to demonstrate character, competence, and perseverance.. Relationship building is an ongoing activity that is essential for a successful coaching relationship.

Reflection Question:

Do I actively establish and strengthen a trusting relationship with every person I lead?

2. Asking Questions:

Asking questions is the ability to create awareness and action through proper questioning techniques. The right question can reframe, reveal, and present challenges, opportunities, and solutions in new ways.

A great coach poses questions that are based more on the needs of the other person than on their own agenda. In addition, while questions may focus on the past and the present, future-oriented questions may reduce defensive posture and open up untapped opportunities. (For example, going forward, what are the three ways you can address the issue differently)?

Reflection Question:

How can I use open-ended questions to help others acquire new knowledge and solve problems?

3. Active Listening:

Active listening is the ability to really understand the context and the meaning of what someone is saying. Active listening requires the coaching manager to listen to the needs, interests, and perspectives of others, putting their own points of view aside. This is often referred to as suspending one's judgment and being truly  present in the conversation. Listen without pursuing the agenda, welcome silence as an ally, and dig deeper to make sure they understand what they are trying to convey.

Reflection question:

How can I focus like this when other people are talking?

4. Providing feedback:

Providing feedback is an opportunity to share comments and insights in ways that help others. The goal is to provide positive and constructive comments that inform and inspire individuals.

To provide effective feedback, focus on the behaviors observed and the results achieved. Also, resist using nicknames and relying on the story you tell(for example, the person is always lazy or  just building their own empire).

These stories may or may not be true and can be a barrier to sending and receiving the required feedback. Therefore, base your feedback on actual behavior and its impact, and how that behavior will somehow lead to  better impact in the future.

Reflection Question:

How can I focus on  my actions instead of my storytelling when providing feedback?

5. Exploration:

Exploration means discovering and discussing alternative perspectives that lead to new and better solutions. You may ignore or go unnoticed by the many options and ideas that are there. However, reframing problems, challenging assumptions, and identifying different scenarios can open up new ways of thinking to others.

A manager who is good at coaching helps the individual to present ideas and identify connections in ways that help them grow and develop. For exploration to be successful, avoid criticizing ideas early and allow the other person to discover themselves.

Reflection question:

How can I  explore different perspectives and solutions without criticism?

6. Setting goals:

Effective goal setting means working with the individual to turn insights into action. A good coach can create goals together that challenge the other person well enough without being demoralizing or too easy. These goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time bound) and aligned with organizational, team, and individual needs. Strong coaching managers provide guidance and feedback on goals, helping individuals own, align, and learn from their goals.

Reflection Question: 

How do I help others create goals that appropriately stretch the individual? 

7. Encouragement:

To encourage means to be a source of support and reinforcement to help a person stay focused on the goals they have set for themselves. These goals can be performance, development, or career oriented. It's easy to get distracted by the meaningful demands of the day or become disillusioned by unexpected conflicts and surprises. Successful coaching managers help maintain and focus on priorities through honest and motivational reinforcement.

Reflection Question: 

How do I support others in helping them be confident in achieving their goals?

8. Recognizing:

Recognizing your progress is key to helping you reach your goals. People often need someone to complement their work, validate their actions, and point them forward  to make sure they're on the right track. We also need people who can recognize when their work deviates from their goals. Offering both compliments and course correction is an important part of helping someone grow.

Keep in mind that recognizing also involves identifying a person’s strengths, understanding their motivations, and leveraging this knowledge to empower each individual to achieve their goals.  While encouraging is about helping someone feel confident about achieving their goals, recognizing is acknowledging the accomplishment when they meet them.

In conclusion:

Next time you look at your ID, notice the words "I COACH". Use this mantra to remind yourself that at the heart of a great manager is a great coach. Build your coaching skills and see employee engagement and productivity skyrocket with these 8 coaching skills.