How can we help others improve? That’s a question leaders often have top of mind. And they continue to ask themselves this because there’s no easy answer. Let’s face it, people are complex. As leaders we must ask ourselves, is there a way to break through all of life’s distractions and personal issues to coach someone to be the best they can be?

When you think about coaching in this context, it makes sense to choose the right time to coach someone. Just like you wouldn’t approach your boss and ask for a raise when you see he’s having a bad day, people need to be in the right frame of mind to be coached. That’s why it makes sense to tune into when folks are sending us signals that they are ready to be coached—that they’re ready to accept new ideas and are willing to be transformed.

I just read an interesting blog by Dan Rockwell entitled, How to Reach the Ultimate Goal of Leadership”Rockwell describes 7 ways to spot someone who’s ready for change. I won’t reiterate his complete list, but some of the ones that I’ve often observed are as follows:

  • Dissatisfaction with the way things currently are
  • An understanding of the importance of self-development
  • A willingness to do something different

Part of the problem is that we as leaders just don’t take advantage of these signals. We’re not taught to recognize them and don’t know how to capitalize them.

 I believe coaching is uniquely different and exponentially more difficult than selling. Sales leaders need to learn how to coach when in the field working with their reps and demonstrating what great looks like to help them improve engagement with their customers.

The solution to being a better coach likely involves a change in mindset for both the coach and the employee. For the coach, it’s either taking advantage of a signal that the person wants to be coached or knowing how to create that coaching opportunity and then following through. For the employee it’s a mindset that enables them to be prepared to accept change.

Consider what could happen if everyone in the organization adopted a growth mindset? What if they realized that to succeed at work, they needed to be open to change? How much more successful could that organization be?

I believe the idea of incorporating a growth mindset as part of the corporate culture has incredible value. An organization won’t thrive by staying stagnant. And the only way the organization will grow is if its employees grow. The key to doing so lies in having leaders who know how to coach—who know how to make suggestions for change and growth in ways that the person being coached is receptive and willing to take action. What a difference such a mindset and culture could make in terms of individual and organizational success!