By Jennifer Xue

Not every business has the budget to hire a professional coach. On average, a business coach charges around $150 to $250 per hour. For a small business, this rate can be used to pay for more essential things, such as electricity or Internet bills.

Thus, the choice to self-coach your team is a wise and doable one. However, to coach successfully, you’d need to upgrade leadership and coaching skills. This can be started with recognizing existing skill levels and areas requiring improvements.

Once you’re ready, start inviting team members to an introductory meeting. Explain to them what the common objective is and how their individual goals can be met. Remind them that coaching is a communication exercise, not a problem-solving activity.

In general, a coach’s job is ensuring goals are met by clarifying the path(s) that the coachees need to take. This means creating a safe, open, and trusting environment is crucial.

The benefits of coaching your own team are twofold: both the coachees and the coach can learn together, in addition to collaborating for the agreed goals. After all, coaching provides you with a form of conversation, while problem solving might involve hardcore analytics and analytical skills.

Such co-active communication opportunity is precious, as it’s much more intense, deep, and meaningful that regular instructions and daily interactions. There are at least six proven ways you can self-coach your team for success.

1. Define the coaching relationship specific to the needs of your team.

Use the common definition of “coaching” as a point of reference, but allows your team to make it their own. Redefine what “coaching” is by inviting all team members to think together or crowdsourcing. The term agreed by all will be used as the “official” team definition.

2. Create a safe and trusting environment, so team members will be willing to take risks.

Creating a safe and trusting environment is the primary function of a coaching relationship, which differs from other types of relationship. A coach provides a safe and trusting environment with zero tolerance to prejudice and negativity, as only in such environment can people be encouraged to change and experiment.

3. Define ground rules between the coach and coachees.

Since you’ll be wearing a “coach” hat, make sure that the ground rules are clear from the beginning. When you’re coaching, you’ll be more than a “manager” or a “leader.” You’re there to bring out the best of team members’ selves.

Thus, certain things, like how to provide feedback, how discussions should take place, and choices of words will be based on creating a safe and trusting environment. For instance, ban judgmental choices of words in coaching sessions.

4. Listen deeply (out of 3 levels of listening).

As a coach, you’d need to listen deeply. It doesn’t mean that as a leader or a manager you don’t need to do so, but as a coach, the element of “safe and trusting” environment must be fostered consciously.

Listening can be categorized into three: listening for yourself, listening for the other person, and listening beyond yourself and the other person. In coaching, you go back and forth between listening for the other person and beyond yourself and others.

5. Encourage transformation by showing the path.

In a safe and trusting environment, coachees will be encouraged to experiment. Thus, changes are expected to emerge. A coach can help by showing the path based on what the coachees have expressed.

6. Encourage trusting their own instinct by giving examples of you trusting yours.

A coach is expected to lead by example, especially since you’re the coachees’ manager. It means that what you do is likely to be imitated. When you trust your instinct in addition to your analytical skills, coachees will be encouraged to also use their instinct.

It’s recommended that you include at least one session about “using instinct,” so coachees are made aware about this skill. Encourage them to use both analysis and instinct in communicating.

At last, self-coaching your team requires a deeper level of communication and awareness of what people are projecting and communicating. Pay close attention to what people say and don’t say. By reading the line and using instinct intelligently, you’d be able to see whether the path has emerged.

After all, your job as a coach is ensuring goals and milestones are achieved as expected.