The Golden Rules of Leadership Coaching

I really enjoy the work we do training leaders and business owners to be more coach- like in their leadership and management styles.  Some of them go on to take professional coaching qualifications with us.  This means we attract some of the brightest thinkers in leadership around the world, and the debates we have are rich and interesting.

On the first day of last week’s course, I said “If there’s one rule in coaching….” I said the same on day two, and the group began to wonder how many more “One rules” there might be!

In fact, I’ve probably got five ‘rules’ that I’d like to share with you; and I’d really welcome your feedback

  • Golden Rule #1: Coach the person, not the ‘problem’

It doesn’t matter what you call it: the challenge, the topic or the ‘issue’; we coach people, not problems.  We might be able to help our client solve the problem – once. But the real power comes from working deeper, to bring sustainable change.

  • Golden Rule #2: Everything the Coach does is in service of the client

The questions, the silences and listening; even the interrupting, being direct, being supportive – and sometimes being quite playful or ‘rude’: only in service of the client, not our egos!

  • Golden Rule #3: Leadership coaching is about choice

We have far more control over our lives than we think – the choices we make, the things we say and do, even (especially!) our emotions. Coaching opens our clients up to see they are resourceful and have resources around them that can help them achieve their vision, objectives or goals.  They see possibility.

  • Golden Rule #4: If it’s hard going, is it really coaching?

Use humour and lightness to move your clients into the creative side of their brains: and use stillness and playfulness to get your own focus too.

Which leads me to…

  • Golden Rule #5: there are no rules!


2 thoughts on “The Golden Rules of Leadership Coaching

  1. bobh Post author

    Nick – humble apologies; we just realised the system was not set up to show me responses, hence the long delay in replying. It’s a great debate and maybe one I’ll kick off on our Leadership Zone linked in group. I think you are right to be pointing to the impact. In our model, we look at the impact the leader makes personally, to the team, to the organisation and to society. I see leaders as having as duty to be developing the next set of leaders, as well as doing the job, making their team successful etc. So, perhaps the distinction in our training is about showing that wider impact – leaders choosing an impact rather than unconsciously having an unplanned one! I’d be interested to hear your view

  2. Nick Robinson

    Rule 5 is cheating Bob isn’t it!?
    Nice set of principles, good stuff.
    I was curious about whether there was something else, that made it ‘leadership coaching’, as compared to ‘just coaching’. Maybe something around the purpose/reason/impact that the client is having?

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