Submitted Date 01/08/2019

Athletic coaches don’t get in the game by jumping on the field or on the court. They lean in by coaching and providing feedback more frequently. They find ways to connect with their players at a different level, getting into their mindset, using that player’s specific language of motivation, being direct about the lack of execution and then, being clear on how they can get back on track quickly. Finally, they reinforce their confidence in the player’s ability to get back in the game quickly.

Applicable to business, a leader’s ability to channel their inner coach and lean into the game (not get in the game in the role of a player), lean into the strategy, lean into where the execution happens is THE game changer.

Here are 4 ways a leader can be an effective coach and change the game:

⁃ Schedule routine time to ‘review the tapes’. Have a discussion about how that individual’s leadership showed up the previous week. Let them share how they feel they executed behaviors necessary to meet the assigned goals. Have dialogue around how they took partners and collaborated as applicable. Be clear in communicating where they failed to execute, root causes, and plans for the way forward.

Create a safe environment for practice. Partner with the leader to identify where he/she struggled to lead, to communicate, to performance manage, to follow up, etc. Practice what would have made the interaction more effective by engaging in role plays and situation-based dialogue with the leader.

Call Timeout. Leadership in the moment requires a pause in the current activity to give you a chance to step back with the leader and observe true execution and give feedback that will resonate more during the experience vs. after. It will allow the leader to be redirected and improve effectiveness vs. just hind-sighting it later.

Recognize solid or improved execution. The more consistently the leader is able to identify the desired behaviors in action, the more likely it is he/she will accelerate their ability to execute consistently and feel confident that they are doing so.

Most of us want to take our leadership to the next level. We have to resist the urge to physically get in the game, we have to be in a position of observation and learning, we have to be in the position to lead, we have to coach in ways that have more impact and more influence than ever before. We have to be great at maximizing execution by being great at coaching the coach. We have to change the game.


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  • Mary Jaimes-Serrano 3 years, 7 months ago

    Kesha, this is great advice. I think it ties well into the whole learning by example. In this case the example being the persons own successes. Thank you for sharing.