How to Develop Your Coaching Skills

What Are Coaching Skills?

Developing and Coaching Others refers to supporting the development and career goals of direct reports through work assignments, ongoing developmental discussions, and feedback.

The Importance of Coaching Skills

Aggregate data from SIGMA’s consulting engagements has shown that out of all 50 competencies in SIGMA’s Leadership Competency Framework, “developing and coaching others” is one of the top five skills organizations want to see in their leaders. What that means is that when organizations are looking to hire or promote, the ability to develop and coach others is among the key strengths they look for in potential candidates.

Seven Ways to Develop Coaching Skills On-the-Job

Would you like to begin developing your coaching skills? Below are seven on-the-job activities you can use to help you get started. We strongly recommend that you do not try all of these at once; start by picking one activity and pace yourself from there. Depending on your schedule it might only be feasible to do one activity per week. Note that some activities will also need to be repeated in order to help strategic thinking become a habit.

  1. Learn about developing and coaching others from your own leader. If you don’t already have regular meetings with your supervisor, ask to meet on a regular (monthly or quarterly) basis to discuss feedback on your performance and development opportunities.
  2. Practice giving feedback to yourself. At the end of each day, list three things you did well and three things you could have done better. Be specific. For the things you could have done better, write down how you will do them differently going forward.
  3. Practice giving feedback to others. Select a direct report or colleague and write down three points of praise and three points of constructive feedback. When and where appropriate, share your feedback with the individual.
  4. Take time to understand others’ professional goals. Meet with each of your direct reports or with a few peers (if you do not have direct reports) and ask them where they see themselves in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years.
  5. Discover what motivates your people. Together, discuss what forms of rewards and recognition would encourage them to grow in their professional abilities.
  6. Ask your direct reports about their development goals. If you have direct reports, ask them about the skills and abilities they would like to develop. If it is within your ability, provide opportunities for them to develop those skills. Brainstorm stretch assignments, training, or job shadow opportunities that could provide individuals with the development opportunities they are looking for.
  7. Set up regular meetings with your direct reports. If you have direct reports, set up regular meetings with each to ask them about their accomplishments, challenges, and goals for the coming period.

Download the Coaching Competency Development Guide

These tips are a part of SIGMA’s Developing and Coaching Others Competency Development Guide. Download the free PDF below for a complete list of tips and tricks for developing this critical leadership skill.

SIGMA Can Help

Since 1967, SIGMA consultants have helped thousands of organizations across North America develop their people potential and increase organizational effectiveness. Explore our assessments, coaching, and consulting services below, and contact us if you would like to speak about creating a custom plan for your organization. Develop your coaching skills with SIGMA today.

Leadership Skills Profile – Revised™ (LSP-R)

Take our flagship leadership assessment and see how you score on developing and coaching others.

Talent Development

Use SIGMA’s scientifically validated, industry-tested tools to give your talent development a strong start.

Coaching with a
SIGMA Consultant

Participate in one-on-one coaching with SIGMA’s expert consultants.


Looking for More?

If you would like to speak with a consultant about what developing and coaching others looks like at your organization, contact us today. We are happy to share what we’ve learned from client experience and talk about the specific needs of your organization and your team.

Glen Harrison is an organizational transformation consultant and succession planning expert. Over the course of his career, Glen has worked with one-third of the Fortune 500 list and with every level of government in Canada and the United States. Having worked with numerous clients to build robust succession plans from the ground up, Glen has extensive experience in the application of SIGMA’s products and services to help organizations realize their people potential.