5 Great Behaviors of a Workplace Coach

by | Culture & Financial Results

Organizations that embrace a coach-like modern workplace culture have been shown to increase employee engagement.

In a post-pandemic world where retaining and engaging great people is now one of the most pressing workplace challenges—with employees who are not engaged costing their company the equivalent of 18% of their annual salary—the impact of leadership styles on employee retention and engagement can not be underestimated.

It means mentoring and coaching in the workplace is more important than ever. So what are the most important behaviors of a workplace coach, and how do you know if you’re displaying them?

Here are 5 signs you’re on your way to becoming a more coach-like leader.

#1. You Listen More Than You Speak

One of the largest transformations you make when becoming more coach-like is listening more than speaking.

Traditional management practices teach you to look after everyone by telling them what to do and using your wisdom to give the best advice.

Coach-Like Leaders do the opposite.

Being more Coach-Like is defined by listening to your team and understanding the problems they’re going through so you can build a plan together. You understand that you don’t know everything, and by listening to what others have to say, you’ll come up with a much better solution.

So if you’re noticing yourself listening more than speaking in a coaching conversation, you’re displaying the first key behavior of a coach-like workplace leader.

#2. You’re Curious and Empathetic

Curiosity and empathy are a huge part of coach-like leadership.

Since you’re always wanting to discover more about your team, you constantly ask powerful questions to better understand the situation they’re in. You then take what you learn to better empathize and understand the issues your people are going through.

More traditional management would think that level of curiosity and empathy is a waste of time and won’t result in anything. That’s because they’re used to making decisions all on their own, which leads to employees feeling disengaged.

By contrast, the great thing about curiosity and empathy is that it also allows you to learn and understand the people you work with in a much more personal way. You are genuinely interested in their well-being and development which helps to create a culture of care in the workplace.

#3. You Ask Versus Tell

One of the hallmark behaviors of a workplace coach displaying Coach-Like Leadership is whether they’re collaborating or commanding.

This means you need to ask a lot more questions as a leader, instead of telling everyone what to do. It’s about understanding that your people are by far your best resource and it’s your responsibility to use it.

By asking questions, you bring people together, collaborate in an effective way, and come up with a much stronger solution to any problem than you would have come up with on your own.


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#4. Ensure Others Feel Heard, Valued, and Respected

Some traditional leadership styles can make people feel like a cog in a machine. This is a behavior guaranteed to have a negative impact on employee retention.

Coach-Like Leaders see people as their biggest asset and treat them as such. Many Coach-Like Leaders live by something I like to call the 3 C’s.

The 3 C’s ensure every person working with a Coach-Like Leader is looked after, feels heard, and knows they belong inside the company.

Those 3 C’s are:

  • Check-ins: having consistent one on one meetings
  • Challenges: asking teammates what they are stuck on
  • Cultivate: seeing how you can work together to advance their career further

This type of coaching in the workplace ensures everyone is feeling heard, valued and respected and helps in creating a culture of care in the workplace.

#5. You Hold People Capable

The last, but certainly not least behavior of a Coach-Like Leader, is holding people capable.

Holding people capable is all about believing your people can do amazing things.

Coach-Like Leaders, through their attitude and actions, guide people on the path of sustainable improvement so they can increase both their capabilities and capacity, improving your employee engagement and retention.

Holding people capable works because your people begin to believe in themselves just like their leaders do. They begin reaching their goals and understanding what they can achieve.

Coach-Like Leaders build their people up to reach new heights, while also forging a strong connection of value, trust, and respect which has a positive impact on workplace culture.


Coach-Like Leaders are hard to find. It takes a lot of effort to really embrace Coach-Like Leadership and have it become your main leadership style—but the results are worth it.

If you think Coach-Like Leadership is right for you and want to get a head start, please book a Discovery Session with me to learn more: → BOOK A CALL NOW.