By Michael Holland –

One of my often used warm-up question sequence when coaching a leader is:

  • As you reflect on your leadership recently, what is one success that sticks out, one way in which you were leading well recently?
  • And conversely, what is one thing you did as a leader that, upon reflection, was a stumble; something you could have done better at or wish you had done differently.

This question sequence is tremendously valuable to leaders to ask themselves because of the reflection opportunity.  It’s through reflection that insight is stoked and behaviors are affirmed or challenged.  And it is those small behaviors that hold the key for growth.

Here are several different ways leaders could ask the questions.  Leaders could. . .

  • Ask themselves each day as they journal about their leadership and their life.
  • Ask themselves several times a day as they are “leading live” in the moment. Right after having an interaction with an employee, ask the question of themselves.
  • Ask employees using a variation of the questions and seeking a window of opportunity to provide some coaching – affirmation or adjustment.
  • Ask their boss one of the questions – every now and then – to gain insight to their leadership perspective.
  • Ask a peer one of the questions as they walk down the hall to a meeting.  This helps to create a cadence of leadership conversations.
  • Ask employees during a 1:1 (one on one) meetings, what is a success or stumble they have seen the leader make recently as a leader.

Leaders who lead well know that reflection, insight and input are the ways to tweaking leadership behaviors over time to always be improving.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • When you ask yourself the questions, which one – a success or a stumble – is easier for you to answer?
  • Grab a peer leader and commit to asking each other the questions every day for the next two weeks.
  • Are there different words you might use than stumble?