As a leader, investing time in proactive 1:1 coaching conversations with your team members is one of the smartest moves you can make. These conversations not only strengthen relationships but also help achieve better business results.
Coaching conversations are not about providing quick fixes or playing the role of rescuer; they are about asking questions with curiosity, prompting reflection, and using future-focused inquiry to help people find their own insights and answers. These conversations focus more on the person rather than their tasks and are an opportunity for leaders to get to know their people better, so they can then lead them more effectively.
While many leaders believe they don’t have time for regular 1:1 meetings, the truth is you can’t afford to neglect them. Proactively dedicating time to connect with your team members is more efficient than dealing with people problems, low morale, lost productivity and poor behaviour later on. Coaching conversations build trust and provide valuable insight into a person’s engagement and challenges. This allows leaders to intervene and offer support before issues escalate and also provides a deeper understanding of each person’s uncertainties, concerns, goals, motivations and career aspirations.
While there’s not a one-size-fits all approach to coaching conversations, there are some basic dos and don’ts you should adhere to:
Remember, these are high-trust conversations and their success lies in asking questions with genuine care and curiosity, and then listening to the response. By prioritising 1:1 coaching conversations with your staff, you shift from simply managing tasks to empowering and supporting your people. These conversations are the gateway to stronger relationships and more engaged and resilient teams.
Leah Mether is a communication and soft skills trainer obsessed with making the people part of leadership and work life easier.
With more than 15 years’ experience working with thousands of clients, and an acclaimed book to her name, Leah knows what it takes to communicate under pressure. Like you, she knows the challenge of conflict, personality clashes, and difficult conversations.
Leah is renowned for her practical, engaging, straight-shooting style. Utilising her Five Cs® model of communication, she helps leaders and teams shift from knowing to doing, and radically improve their effectiveness.