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Why You Should Do Your Own Coaching
by Nannette Rundle Carroll


What if a shingle outside your office read, “World’s Most Insightful Coach”? What if your leadership style oozed creativity? Coaching is evolving as one of the top creative skills an executive must develop because it strengthens individual–and thus organizational–performance.

You bring your executive wisdom and your direct reports bring their intelligence and quest for learning and enhancing productivity. You know the business better than any other coach. That frame of reference will point your staff towards practical and relevant action steps to help them deal with the competitive, ever-changing market.

You know the content you need to know. Now for the process.

Collaborative coaching conversations are continuous and frequent. You give personal attention that is tailor-made for the individual’s goals, talents, skills, and triumphs. Ask your employee what she or he wants help with. Then add your own ideas. Put them in the context of supporting your staff members to excel at their work and self-development. When reviewing progress, ask your direct report to assess his or her own achievements and struggles before you give your own observations. Together, set new action steps for continuous improvement to discuss in your next coaching conversation. Instead of viewing these discussions as formal, keep the communication conversational to reach optimal results.

Recently a V.P. at a San Francisco corporation approached me about his need for coaching. He wanted to advance to the next level in his company, but didn’t know what skills would be necessary or what action steps to take. People at higher levels in his company qualified to work with outside coaches, but not his level. He had budget. He planned to get coaching. He said he could not ask his boss, or anyone inside the company, for help because it would be seen as a sign of weakness. Lots of managers say the same thing. Don’t let that happen to your staff. Managers cannot produce their best work under this stress. Neither can their own staff.

Many executives think that whenever they talk with a direct report, they have to take notes for “the file.” These are really notes for the potential lawyers. Can you imagine a football coach documenting every situation in which he coached for greater performance?

Coaching is not about poor performance. That is counseling and discipline. Many managers mistake discussions about less than perfect performance as a problem. Fear drives them to document. Once you document, trust evaporates. How open and honest would you be about improving performance if  your “coach” was documenting? If anyone writes down goals and progress during your coaching talks, let it be your direct reports.

Create a culture of authenticity. Accept people. Let them be themselves--imperfect and continuously improving. Help them be their best selves. Encourage their efforts to expand expertise. Grab the opportunity to enhance working relationships. Strategize with them about where their personal and professional development intersect with the business plans. You will succeed in leading an energetic, passionate, committed team.


The Author

Nannette Rundle Carroll

The Communication Problem Solver

Nannette Rundle Carroll ( is author of The Communication Problem Solver: Simple Tools and Techniques for Busy Managers (AMACOM 2010), which The CEO Refresher cited as one of 2009’s best books. She is a top-rated seminar leader, speaker and consultant on management and communication. Nannette brings high-level management experience as well as extensive consulting and leadership training expertise to her clients. Learn more at her blog, Communication Bubbles
Contact her at nannetterundlecarroll [at] yahoo [dot] com.

Many more articles in Coaching in The CEO Refresher Archives
The CEO Refresher

Copyright 2010 by Nannette Rundle Carroll. All rights reserved.

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