Method Leader as Coach
Being a leader is one of the most important roles in which people need to be coached. By practicing being a leader, students can be helped to make better decisions, to solve problems that are holding them back, learn new skills, and otherwise progress their careers (Gjetson, n.d.)[i]. This method teaches students a simple coaching technique when another person is stuck and unable to take action.

Suitable for small and large groups.

Aim to improve leadership skills
Target group Students of all courses and all study fields.
Intended learning outcomes
  • Being able to motivate and direct others;
  • Emphasises the thinking behind various practices;
  • Enhanced negotiation skills.
Open the workshop with a short story entitled My Best Boss. In your telling of the story, you explain that a Senior manager was once asked to describe his “best boss” and the manger responded by saying “That is easy to do. My best boss always gave me work and expected me to do it. Those expectations drove me to action. He gave me challenging assignments and showed that he believed in me. That gave me confidence. But most of all, he was a wise old owl. Whenever I got stuck, and could not figure out what to do, he took the time to coach me. He never gave me answers, he just asked me questions and helped me figure out what to do. I learned from him. If I am going to get work done through people, I have to know how to develop people through work.”


The next step is to highlight the importance of knowing what questions to ask and in what sequence. With that in mind, I then divide the class into small groups of three or four and ask them to walk around the room to three separate stations. At each station they are to generate three or four questions under the following headings:

  • Questions to Clarify the subordinate’s problem or situation
  • Questions to Remove Perceived Barriers that the employee has identified
  • Questions to Create Forward Movement so the employee can take action

The next step is to reconvene the full group and prompt a discussion on the list of questions: which questions do you like? Find useful? Which questions are not clear to you? After the discussion you should hand out a sheet of paper with the three categories (Clarify, Remove Perceived Barriers, and Create Forward Movement) and ask each participant to record those questions they find most helpful and expect to use in their coaching practice.

Preparation Prepare 3 “station cards”:

  • Clarify
  • Remove Perceived Barriers
  • Create Forward Movement
Resources and equipment “Station cards”
Success factors Through efficient and well-directed coaching it can be possible to work out solutions for a wide range of issues concerning leadership.
Advantages Actively involve students in learning,

Students can feel that they are making a real contribution to their own learning.

Allows students to experience roles as leaders, peers and subordinates and to experience a range of social contacts.

Disadvantages Time consuming.
Additional information This site hosted by writer and consultant Tom Siebold provides activities, exercises, inventories, and resources that can be used in leadership development

[i] Gjetson, B. (n.d.). Leader as Coach.

Download PDF file:

Leader as Coach (264 downloads) Leader as Coach LV (260 downloads)
Do you enjoy this method?