How coaching can empower leaders to create a positive workplace culture

As an aspiring leader or existing manager, you play a crucial role in shaping your organisation’s workplace culture. A positive culture can increase employee engagement and productivity, as well as provide better outcomes for your organisation.

Nurturing a positive workplace culture should be a high priority for you, yet it is easier said than done. It requires strong leadership skills, effective communication, and a commitment to continuous improvement. Fortunately, coaching can be a valuable tool to empower you to achieve this goal of developing a positive workplace culture.

But first, what is coaching?

Coaching is a process that involves working with a trained professional to achieve your personal or professional goals. In the workplace, coaching can help you develop the leadership skills you need to be effective and empowered.

From one-on-one sessions to group coaching and workshops, coaching can take many forms and easily fit to your individual needs.

How can aspiring leaders benefit from coaching?

Coaching can provide a range of benefits for current managers and aspiring leaders like yourself. Here are 4 key benefits to take note of:

1.    Develop your emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI) is defined as “the ability to understand, assess and manage our own emotions, as well as the emotions of others”. Leaders with high EI tend to build more positive relationships with their team and create a supportive workplace culture.

“Coaching helps to reveal the best version of yourself
and let you see things from different perspectives.”
– Ai Chin Chiew, Founder & CEO, BestOfMe

Coaching can help you develop your EI by equipping you with the right tools and strategies to manage your emotions and communicate effectively with your team.

2.    Improve your communication skills

The key to nurturing a positive workplace culture is to have effective communication between everyone, such as leaders and their teams. If you can communicate clearly and consistently with your team, you’ll be able to build trust and create a sense of community with them.

When you undergo coaching, you’ll be provided with feedback on your communication style and learn how to communicate more effectively with your team.

3.    Build trust and collaboration within your team

Two arguably more important components of a positive workplace culture are trust and collaboration. You need to prioritise building trust and collaboration to create a sense of teamwork and shared purpose within your team.

Leadership coaches will provide you with different strategies for building relationships with your team, fostering open communication, and promoting teamwork.

4.    Encourage feedback and continuous improvement

A positive workplace culture allows employees to feel comfortable providing feedback, with leaders demonstrating their openness to receiving it.

Coaching can equip you with the right skills to solicit feedback from your team, effectively respond to feedback, and properly use the feedback to continuously improve yourself, your team and your organisation.

Such benefits from coaching can be illustrated by an industrial executive’s journey with our coach Diana, where he learned to leverage his strengths and achieved visible positive changes in his leadership abilities.

“My coaching journey with Diana (from BestOfMe) is fantastic. She’s a coach I can share in confidence, and I know that she goes all the way out to help me be a successful and effective leader. I learnt from her about leveraging my strengths and driving positive changes during organisation transformations. Diana is able to clearly translate feedback on my leadership and help shape it further into my organisational contexts.

I learnt to stop/start/continue doing what is meaningful for my team and achieve several (small) wins in my organisation transformation process. Even though we are half way through my coaching journey, I already received positive feedback from stakeholders on the visibility of my leadership changes.”
– Senior VP, Industrial Company

Empower your leaders today – with coaching

Coaching will be valuable for aspiring leaders like yourself to nurture a positive workplace culture in your organisation.

By developing your EI and communication skills, by building trust and collaboration within your team, and by encouraging feedback and continuous improvement, you can create a workplace culture that increases employee engagement, productivity, and the likelihood of organisational success.

Invest in coaching for yourself, or your future leaders, and help nurture a more positive workplace culture in your organisation, happier teams, and ultimately better outcomes for all.

If you would like to empower yourself or aspiring leaders today, a 1-on-1 Executive Coaching is what you’re looking for.

©Published by Lifeskills Institute Pte Ltd

Photo by SIphotography on istock



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The role of emotional intelligence in extraordinary leadership

Extraordinary leaders inspire and motivate their people. Extraordinary leaders build trust, engage employees, create a positive culture and foster collaboration.

But what is it that makes some leaders extraordinary? Their authority? Or maybe their charisma?

What about both, as well as something arguably more important in today’s workplace: emotional intelligence (EI).

What is emotional intelligence (EI)?

Emotional intelligence is defined as “the ability to understand, assess and manage our own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.”

Not only is emotional intelligence about how you feel, but it’s about how you perceive emotions in yourself and others, and use this awareness to guide your thinking and actions.

Why does emotional intelligence matter for aspiring leaders?

An increasingly critical part of leadership, emotional intelligence is how you use your emotions to motivate yourself and your team, make crucial decisions based on the right level of emotions and understand how others feel.

As a future leader, you’ll be dealing with many different situations where you need to use your emotional intelligence to lead your team effectively.

How to develop my emotional intelligence as a leader?

Fortunately, you can develop your emotional intelligence. You can read books on the subject, take courses, and go to seminars. 

What’s even better is working with a leadership coach or mentor, and practicing what you’ve learned in your job, in real life.

Be aware of your feelings. Observe your own behavior. Work on building valuable relationships with others. 

For example, if you’ve just been through a stressful situation and feel like you’re losing control of your emotions, take a step back and analyze the situation. Try to understand why things went wrong and how you might be able to prevent the same thing from happening in the future.

How can a leadership coach help develop my emotional intelligence?

While there are many coaches who specialise in helping people develop their emotional intelligence, you should always start with some research, so as to find one that you feel comfortable with. 

A good coach will first ask you about your goals and then develop a working plan for you. A leadership coach will help you understand what emotional intelligence is, how it is relevant to you, and how it can be used in the workplace.

Then you will need to identify the areas where you feel like your emotional intelligence is lacking. The coach will guide you through exercises and coaching sessions that will allow you to understand how to use your emotional intelligence more effectively when leading others. They will also provide mentorship even after the end of your coaching sessions.

Is there a correlation between emotional intelligence and leadership effectiveness?

Emotional intelligence is a better predictor of leadership effectiveness than IQ, with a study conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership finding that emotional intelligence is the most important factor in determining leadership success.

Leaders who are highly emotionally intelligent have more success in developing their people, delivering results and driving change.

Emotional intelligence is key to becoming an extraordinary leader

To lead people, you need to be good at your job and core responsibilities. 

To lead people well, you need to treat your teams with respect, honesty and fairness.

Emotional intelligence helps you better understand what motivates people so that they will be more productive in their work environment or feel valued by you.

If you want to be an extraordinary leader who inspire others, developing your emotional intelligence should be your top priority this year.

Let us support you in your leadership journey. Reach out now for a quick discussion.

©Published by Lifeskills Institute Pte Ltd

Photo by SIphotography on istock



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Why a growth mindset is increasingly key for your team’s development

As new technologies emerge, such as the latest buzz around AI, organisations are having to transform the way they operate.

No longer are you competing with local competitors, now your competitions are across borders and in different corners of the world. Even if you aren’t facing these pressures now, chances are you’ll feel these impacts on your organisation sooner rather than later.

As a manager or aspiring team leader, how can you build a culture where your people can survive and thrive in this uncertain yet ever-advancing world?

What you need is to nurture a growth mindset.

A growth mindset is a belief that everyone must seek to improve their personal and professional skills on an ongoing basis, through dedication, hard work, and training

This means emphasising the talents of all and that everyone has the capacity and ability to improve themselves. This means celebrating mistakes as learning opportunities for both individuals and teams alike. This means encouraging your people to take risks in their role without fear of failure.

We share some nuggets of why nurturing a growth mindset in your organisation is key for your team’s development.

Both you and your people can better deal with setbacks and failures

A growth mindset is about learning from mistakes, being willing to change your approach, and not giving up when things get tough.

When you have a growth mindset, you’re more likely to see setbacks as opportunities for improvement and growth. That can make all the difference in how well you and your team deal with setbacks.

Your people can do better work and be more productive

A growth mindset keeps your team more open to new ideas and new ways of working, such as improved processes that make them more efficient.

It also makes it easier for your people to take and accept feedback, whether from their peers or their managers, and make changes and improvements where necessary.

Your people can reach their potential

A growth mindset is, after all, about prioritising learning, professional development and even personal growth. As a leader, your growth mindset should be about helping your people reach their potential.

Having a growth mindset as a leader means you’re more likely to treat every challenge as an opportunity for learning and development, rather than a problem. You’ll tend to encourage others to stretch themselves by taking on new challenges or responsibilities,rather than keeping them in their comfort zone,

Your focus will be on helping people develop skills that will help them achieve their goals – whether those are technical skills or softer ones like communication, leadership or management capabilities.

You can develop a positive corporate culture

A growth mindset can also be perceived as a positive outlook that leads to more effective communication, problem solving and time management. It’s also the foundation for building better relationships with your team members.

In a growth mindset culture, people feel comfortable asking questions and admitting when they don’t know something. They’re not afraid of failure but are eager to learn from their mistakes, as  they know that everyone makes mistakes sometimes. 

This nurtures an environment where people feel more comfortable sharing ideas and taking risks because they know that their colleagues will support them no matter what happens – even if those ideas may not work out.

Your organisation can better navigate an uncertain future

Uncertainty is a fact for businesses. It will only become more challenging as we enter an era where new technologies disrupt existing ones and traditional business models at an increasingly rapid pace. 

Without a growth mindset, you’ll be unprepared when uncertainty strikes in your organisation. That could mean missing out on valuable opportunities or worse, making wrong decisions more often than not.

A growth mindset helps you and your people deal with uncertainty by building resilience and adapting to change quickly. This allows your organisation to keep moving forward and hitting your goals, even amid today’s challenges, innovation and constant disruption.

It is therefore key to build a growth mindset within your organisation. Contact us today and discuss how our programs can help you achieve this.


©Published by Lifeskills Institute Pte Ltd

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Why you need a learning ecosystem to accelerate your organisational growth

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, organisations must be adaptable to remain relevant. This requires a constant stream of learning opportunities for employees so they can stay up-to-date with the latest trends and innovations in their industry or field of work.

However, there are many challenges that prevent companies from providing their employees with ample opportunities to grow their skills and develop their expertise.

A learning ecosystem could be what you need to accelerate your employees’ development as well as your organisation’s overall growth.

What is a learning ecosystem?

First off, an ecosystem is a system of interrelated parts that support each other. The term is often used to refer to natural environments, but it can also be applied to the business world.

A learning ecosystem is a combination of networks, processes, and tools that help people learn, share knowledge, collaborate, and stay connected with information they need to succeed in their roles.

Such an ecosystem can take many forms: an intranet site or forum, a live webinar series, training courses offered by third party platforms like Udemy or Coursera, informal sessions where employees have access to experts within your organisation who can answer questions about certain work-related topics.

A learning ecosystem should include senior leadership and management, employees, as well as your internal learning and development (L&D) teams and external L&D partners, Lifeskills Institute for example.

It’s important for everyone to work together towards common goals, so that all stakeholders know what is expected of them throughout the entire L&D process.

Why does your organisation need an ecosystem for learning?

For organisations operating in a fast-changing industry, like tech, or simply want to build long-term success, a learning ecosystem can be a powerful tool to help your teams develop and gain expertise as they move through their own careers, and in the long-run, help your organisation thrive and grow over a long period of time.

Learning is after all a continuous and ongoing process. Even the best performing employee or most experienced manager can’t possibly know everything about their current field. Now more than ever, your teams need to be prepared for any new trends that might pop up overnight.

Being able to always pick up new things is absolutely vital these days, or risk falling behind your peers or worse, your competition, and becoming obsolete.

A well-established learning ecosystem can ensure your teams are always provided with ample opportunities, tools, and resources to learn new skills and develop professionally. Whenever and however they like. Such flexibility, even in L&D, is important for today’s millennial managers and Gen Z workers.

How will your organisation benefit from having a learning ecosystem?

By setting up a well-established learning ecosystem, your organisation can enjoy indirect benefits as well, such as better employer branding and productivity.

More and more employees want to work for companies that are on the cutting edge of innovation, not just in terms of their technology, product, or service, but also in terms of their talent management and business processes.

Having a learning ecosystem in place can show them that you’re committed to their career growth and professional development. It can thus improve your talent attraction and retention rates in today’s competitive job market.

As your employees of all levels, from juniors to executives, collaborate on new ideas and challenges, they can also access previously-siloed information and knowledge through this learning ecosystem.

Not only helping them to complete their tasks or projects, but also equipping them with skills and expertise beyond their own domain. This ultimately serves to improve your organisation’s overall knowledge base and productivity levels.

How can you establish a successful learning ecosystem for your organisation?

Step 1: Define your employees’ L&D needs

If you’re unsure what your employees might need or want in terms of professional development, you can start with these two questions:

  • What are the skills my employees need to perform their jobs more effectively?
  • How can my employees and I work together to develop plans that help them to acquire these skills while aligning with our organisation’s goals?

Step 2: Define success for L&D in your organisation

How would successful training programs, workshops, coaching sessions or mentoring look like to your organisation? You might need to define the metrics that indicate whether such initiatives are meeting management goals. Success might also look more intangible, such as observing increased morale among employees who feel supported in their professional development.

Step 3: Audit your organisation’s current L&D efforts

Evaluating your organisation’s current training programs’ effectiveness starts with finding out whether your employees are actually benefiting from them, or whether your current programs are geared towards a specific area, like customer service and project management, instead of other areas that could be more relevant for your employees today.

Are your L&D programs mostly in-person, online, or a mix of both? The mode of delivery could also affect your employees’ interest in these programs, their attendance rate, and their general motivation during the course.

Whichever step you’re at, you can always reach out to a dedicated L&D partner for advice and guidance.

How can you successfully integrate your learning and development partners into your learning ecosystem?

Ensure that your partners are aligned with your organisation’s goals by making sure they have a shared vision and set of values.

Work together effectively by creating clear lines of communication and setting expectations for how each party (you as an employer, your employees, your L&D partner) will contribute to the learning ecosystem.

Evaluate your L&D partners’ content to ensure it is relevant, engaging, and actionable for your employees. Their courses shouldn’t be too technical after all. Check how they deliver their programs too, as mentioned, this can influence your employees’ motivation and development.

Also, remember to check if they can support the development needs of your senior leadership and managers too – as learning is an ongoing process, even for the most experienced.

An effective learning ecosystem helps both your employees and managers grow and learn, ultimately allowing your organisation to develop as a whole.

We believe that establishing and maintaining an effective learning ecosystem is essential for business growth. It can serve the L&D needs of your employees, managers, and leaders, helping everyone to level up together, and ultimately allowing your organisation to develop as a whole and accelerate its growth.

Reach out now and learn how Lifeskills Institute can partner you to establish an effective learning ecosystem today.


©Published by Lifeskills Institute Pte Ltd

Photo by AmnajKhetsamtip on istock



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Top 6 Leadership Trends in 2023 and beyond

The future of work is here. A world filled with increasing disruption, ever-evolving expectations from your customers and workforce alike, and new ways to work productively. A world where leaders are expected to take a stand on global societal issues.

With so much at stake, today’s leaders need to sit up and take notice. Your teams and employees are becoming more selective with their employers, demanding better work-life balance, and expecting more opportunities to develop themselves as both professionals and individuals.

You need to adjust your leadership approach to remain competitive in this changing landscape. Here are 6 trends that will shape the future of leadership and how you, as a current manager or aspiring leader, can adapt to them.

1. New Leadership models

What does the future hold for business leaders? Traditional structures are being replaced by a flatter, more collaborative and inclusive model. In this new model, authority rests with teams rather than individuals, which makes them more efficient and effective while also allowing you to focus on broader leadership responsibilities, such as long-term strategy, collaborating with your leadership counterparts in other teams and departments, or even managing up.

Two notable models to keep in mind include collaborative leadership, which is a team-based approach towards achieving shared goals, where every member of the team is responsible for contributing their own ideas and inputs. According to McKinsey, a whopping 97% of both employees and leaders attributed a project’s failure to a lack of alignment, the need for collaborative leadership is clearly more important than ever.

Another is empowerment, which means giving your team greater autonomy to take initiative and make
decisions on behalf of you and the company.

2. Managing your hybrid managers

While the pandemic might be in our rear-view mirror, what has remained is the desire for greater flexibility and hybrid work. Owl Labs found that 62% of employees around the world are choosing hybrid work.

This desire for hybrid work would naturally apply to your managers as well. It’s important for leaders to acknowledge the differences between their expectations for managers who choose to fully work from the office, and those who only see their teams in-person at certain times of the week, or month.

Hybrid managers need to be able to work independently and communicate effectively, as well as manage their own time. That’s a lot of ground to cover—and if your managers are not prepared for it, your hybrid teams may suffer.

3. Caring for mental well-being

Workplace discussions used to solely focus around work-life balance, which looks at how much time one has outside of work, for instance with their family and friends.

Nowadays, mental well-being is gaining greater importance as an issue that leaders need to take more seriously. After all, 81% of workers will prefer workplaces that support mental health, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association.

More people simply want to take better care of themselves and their well-being, as well as that of others, in their search for a happy and healthy equilibrium in their lives.

4. Diverse teams for increasingly diverse customers

No longer a buzzword, diversity is a strategy that can help your company grow. Diversity in the workforce allows your business to attract and retain top talent, especially important today in the face of skill shortages and greater competition for talent from other industries.

What’s often overlooked is how diversity can help teams better understand their customers. How? Well, diversity improves the ability of your employees to  empathize with customers who might be from anotherculture, another country, or simply have different perspectives. The numbers add up too: diverse companies were found to be 70% more likely to capture new markets, according to Harvard Business

Going forward, diversity will impact on the bottom-line and increasingly be part of the decision-making
process for you and your fellow leaders.

5. Aligning incentives

Incentives are a powerful tool for motivating people. But what if you’re the one who hands out the bonuses at the end of the financial year?

One of the biggest challenges leaders face is aligning incentives at every level of their organizations, from top to bottom, with a Deloitte study finding that 52% of employees feel their incentives aren’t aligned to organizational goals.

The upside of this challenge is that if you manage to do it well, you can create an environment where everyone feels genuinely motivated and committed to achieving your goals—and drive revenue along the way.

The first step is to understand how different levels of incentives work together in a way that’s fair, transparent and motivational. Then comes the hard part: putting it all into action while maintaining relationships with those who report directly to you as well as those who report indirectly through other
managers or peers.

6. Leading creatively

This new world of hybrid work and greater employee expectations means that you need to be more flexible than ever before. For example, allowing employees to run occasional errands during traditional office hours is less frowned upon these days.

Greater emphasis needs to be placed on providing ample and valuable learning opportunities to your employees, such as training and mentoring. Whatever new and complex organizational challenges that come your way, you must be able to adapt quickly and find creative solutions.

Being creative with your leadership approach may not come naturally to some. This is why even those leadership positions must take on their own growth opportunities too.

A Monte Wyatt study found that 77% of participants, mostly Fortune 1000 executives, reported improved working relationships among direct reports after undergoing coaching. That should come as no surprise, given that such leadership training can equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to lead in a more diverse, demanding and hybrid world of work, one where empowering your employees will be key to sustaining future success.

Leadership training must be an increasingly important part of your leadership toolset. 2023 is a good year to embark on your journey to becoming a modern leader.

©Published by Lifeskills Institute Pte Ltd

Photo by fizkes on Unsplash



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3 things you can do to become a great leader

3 things you can do to become a great leader

Astute leaders, researchers and authors have contributed substantially to what you can do to become a great leader. And in an earlier article, we established that great leaders are made not born, outlining as well what great leadership is made up of.

Zenger Folkman suggests 25 attributes and skills you can develop to become a great leader. In this article, we’ll focus on just three things you can do:

  1. Prepare for your next job. Think ahead regarding the skills you will need
  2. Seek ways to give and receive productive feedback and learn to absorb it in an emotionally health way.
  3. Develop and display high personal character

Photo by Lindsay Henwood on Unsplash

Prepare for your next job. Think ahead regarding the skills you will need

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered organisations and individuals to reinvent their business, redirect efforts, reskill or upskill their workers – and quickly at that.

Great leaders would not wait for a pandemic to prepare themselves for their next job. They would rethink their capabilities and capacity periodically, engaging their upline or a coach or mentor along the way.

Will your future role require more technical expertise, more strategic thinking skills, coaching skills ? Have you taken stock of the skills in demand for the future economy?

Whatever skills and knowledge they may be, it is never to early to identify them and take active steps to add them to your slate of skill sets.

Seek ways to give and receive productive feedback and learn to receive it in an emotionally health way

If you want to receive useful feedback it usually requires a sincere request on your part for it. The gap between how leaders view themselves and how their direct reports perceive them is often, but not always, huge. How do you close that gap? The best way is through feedback – when you ask your direct reports for feedback.

One of the ways to receive feedback is through a 360-feedback process, not just a tool. Accept the feedback you receive as a valid perception of yourself by others and first seek to understand the meaning of the feedback.

A client of ours was perceived in a negative light by his direct reports with regards to his leadership skills. His organisation believed he could improve and change with the help of an external coach. During our coaching conversation, he was challenged to take a 360-degree assessment. He was very reluctant at first but when he genuinely felt that his coach believed in him, he took the step forward.

On his own, he diligently marked the feedback report with notes as he dissected it. He found that he benefitted from the 360-feedback process which included an assessment and coaching sessions.

With feedback, leaders move from mediocre and good to great as they recognise their strengths, what needs to be done to strengthen them further and how to do it before proceeding to taking any appropriate steps.

Photo by lexie janney on Unsplash

Develop and display high personal character

Those at the lower levels of an organisation resent arrogance from those in authority. They dislike leaders who convey an attitude of superiority, condescension or disrespect.

So the advice to leaders is to maintain an attitude of humility to become a great leader.

C.S. Lewis says “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

Humility will make you approachable. It opens the door to building relationships.

We make our attitudes and character conform to our behaviour. So participate in powerful skill building programmes designed to improve your interpersonal skills as this would have a clear impact on your attitudes. When you learn and practise new behaviour you’ll find that there is a remarkable transformation of your attitudes and ultimately your character.

What support do you need for this journey?

So you’ve made a decision to become a great leader. What kind of support do you need on this journey you’ve embarked on? You can look for a mentor in your organisation or through management books. Or you could engage a coach.

Find a coach not because top athletes have a coach or the top corporate leaders have one. Find a coach to provide you with a strong accountability partnership as you take steps to becoming a great leader. You’ll be amazed by your remarkable behavioural transformation.

©Published by Lifeskills Institute Pte Ltd

Lifeskills Institute is the strategic partner of Zenger Folkman for Singapore and Malaysia. Our Chief Enabling Officer, Ian Tan is a Master Facilitator certified by Zenger Folkman.

Zenger Folkman is a strengths-based leadership development company helping leaders elevate their people and organisations. Co-founders Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman utilise empirical data and behavioural evidence to help leaders become extraordinary.



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5 stages to consider for effective performance coaching

Wouldn’t it be great if you could recognise and meet where your staff is on the spectrum of change to help them improve on their work performance? However, before delving into the five stages to consider for effective performance coaching, we need to determine the reasons for underperformance.

Is your staff underperforming because they feel as though they are being punished for performing? Do they feel that they are rewarded for good performance by having more work piled on them? Perhaps your team members are unwilling to take on challenging and risky assignments as they feel that the punishment for failure overrules all reason to do it for the rewards of success. Or are they unsure on how to go about carrying out the task or lacks the ability to do it? And so on.

As you speak to your staff regarding the issue at hand, frame the conversation to focus on one area or issue. This includes listing the issue to be discussed and the expected outcome which both the manager and staff are aiming for. Also determine the time frame for the discussion and agreements on confidentiality.

Consciously suspend your judgement and maintain a curious mindset as you begin the conversation. Your goal in the coaching conversation is to help your employees gain a different awareness of and insight into the performance issue as awareness precedes change. With the new awareness, the coachees would have an idea of the possible solutions that can be considered.

If your organisation has yet to embrace a coaching culture,  fret not, you can still engage in a conversation with these stages in mind.

Precontemplation Stage: “I’m not considering a change”

When your staff is at the precontemplation stage, they are not considering making a change in their behaviour or attitude because of denial, obliviousness or resignation. If your coachees are in this stage, invite them to begin thinking about change.

Ask them questions like:

  • “How do you see this situation? What is happening?”
  • “What is working well?”
  • “What makes it challenging?”
  • “How might you have contributed to this situation?”
  • “How might others see the situation?”

Here’s a tip: give them time after the session for the information to sink in.

Contemplation Stage: “I’m considering making a change but I’m not committed to it.”

At the contemplation stage, the staff weighs the benefits and costs of the behaviour as well as the value and costs of the change. If you’re meeting your staff at this stage, help them to examine the costs and benefits of the change.

Ask questions such as:

  • “What are the consequences if the situation doesn’t change?”
  • “Tell me more about the business costs of this issue.”
  • “Imagine that a year has passed and nothing has changed. What would that be like for you?”

At the end of this phase, the coachees can make a decision to either change or not.

Preparation Stage: “I’m committed to changing and I’m beginning the process of change)

This stage is where the employee actively investigates possible ways to change. When your team member is at this stage, address the barriers to them engaging in the forward movement towards the change.

For instance, ask them:

  • “What do we need to keep in mind as we move forward on this issue?”
  • “What challenges do you think you would need to overcome?”
  • Followed by “What support do you need?” and
  • “Who can you get the support from?”

The support might be in the form of undergoing training or mentoring sessions. If the former is engaged, be sure to follow-up on how they will use them to help them improve their performance.

Action Stage: “I’m full on board with a change agenda.”

The action stage is where the employee commits to an action plan and makes is decisive to make the change. If this is where you are meeting them, help them to plan the action path and be generous with your affirmations for the steps taken.

Behavioural change will take time, effort, practice and reinforcement so be sure to be available to affirm them and give them feedback.

Maintenance Stage: “I’m continuing with my well-established patterns after six months of action.”

At this stage, employees are maintaining a new behaviour over a course of time, maybe six months, and follows through with ongoing milestones and measurement. Be sure to continue to praise them.

What happens if there’s a relapse and the employee reverts to their previous non-performance behaviour or feels frustrated and demoralised? As their coach-manager, engage in a problem solving discussion and be encouraging while re-engaging in efforts to move your coachees toward realistic goals. Ask them what other support they would need to meet their goals.

Moving ahead in performance coaching

Knowing where each of your team member is on the five stages will help you to know what is possible when exploring the desired state of performance and the paths that can be explored to get to the desired state.

Remember, people will not change until they feel a need to change. Your role as a coach-leader is to help your coachees gain an insight into their performance issue and let them decide if there is a need for change. With this new insight they will be able to, on their own, propose possible solutions in order to move forward (or not).

Before your next coaching session with your staff, analyse the real reason for their shortcomings in their performance. If you’re unsure of the real reason, how could you become more sure as you meet with each of them?

Having these five stages of change in mind, which stage do you think they are at? Then, think about what your focus would be during the coaching session as you move ahead in the performance coaching journey together with your staff.


©Published by Lifeskills Institute Pte Ltd

Lifeskills Institute is the strategic partner of Zenger Folkman for Singapore and Malaysia. Our Chief Enabling Officer, Ian Tan is a Master Facilitator certified by Zenger Folkman.

Zenger Folkman is a strengths-based leadership development company helping leaders elevate their people and organisations. Co-founders Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman utilise empirical data and behavioural evidence to help leaders become extraordinary.

Lifeskills Institute conducts The Extraordinary CoachTM Workshop  where participants will master the F.U.E.L. coaching model that can lead to a profound impact on those whom you are coaching. You will be equipped  to empower your coachees make better decisions on their own. And you will get to see how this empowerment and process correlates to levels of commitment, satisfaction, retainment and profitability. Participants will also receive a self-survey which measures their coaching behavioural preferences and equip themselves with the toolset for effective coaching.



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The Power of a Coaching Culture

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The Power of a Coaching Culture

simply described by the Centre for Creative Leadership, the “coaching culture” applies a coaching mindset to the entire organization. It might mean shifting mindsets and unraveling some set practices to allow for more open interactions, and meaningful feedback. This could influence organisational transformation that leads to improved productivity, higher performance, and possibly greater revenue.

What Does a Coaching Culture look like?

In a best-case scenario, a coaching culture could possibly be one that:

  • Empowers others to discover and reach their fullest potential;
  • Asks questions more than giving answers;
  • Provides ongoing feedback rather than only during annual reviews;
  • Considers people above profits;
  • Encourages learning, growth and even allows for failure;
  • Focuses on mindset shifts.

In essence, a coaching culture involves engaging in conversations with your employees. Much research has testified that there is a deep connection between employee engagement and their performance. In other words, the more engaged an employee is, the more motivated he will be in his work. It is therefore worthwhile for leaders to consider creating a strong coaching culture that drives organisational wellbeing.

How to Create a Coaching Culture?

In their whitepaper, “How Developing a Coaching Culture Pays Off”, Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman identified some steps that we can consider when creating a coaching culture.

  1. Set Clear Expectations

Senior leaders need to set the tone and send a clear message regarding the importance of coaching as a key element in effective managerial behaviour. This expectation must be intentionally factored in meeting agendas and given enough time to convey. This signals to all employees that coaching will be implemented seriously by the organisation, and ought to be taken seriously by employees as well.

  1. Create a Process to Follow

To promote the coaching culture, this expectation must be made concrete and practical so that the broad population of managers know exactly what must be done. Addressing questions like what are they to do? What is the purpose? What are the desired outcomes? can be aided if a simple process has been created that everyone can easily understand and follow.  It is found that the most successful coaching implementations invariably provide a structure and process that include helping the coach to identify the topic of successive coaching conversations. Tools that aid the process also include some mechanism by which the coach can gather ongoing feedback both ways.

  1. Provide Skill Training

Like any other skills, coaching has to be learned. It is also not a skill where one can attained just by watching another coach doing it. It is a skill that requires practice, which will enable competence and gain confidence. It is more practice that makes it more perfect each time when it is executed.

  1. Organise Systematically

Any change process in the culture must involve different parts of the organization and operate at all levels of the hierarchy. For a coaching culture to happen, it involves the entire workforce to see it as an integral part of interaction that happens between both the managers and the employees. It is a conversation that must happen both ways – the leaders and managers cascade the message, practice it in visible ways, and employees reciprocate this to achieve the same purpose.

  1. Monitor and Measure

To know if a coaching culture is successfully created, the tracking process needs to be in place. These measures will vary in different organizations; the key is to ensure that data can be collected from informal discussions with all managers and HR representatives as they interact with people.

Recent studies have shown that company culture is a top reason great candidates choose to work for a company; many workers even value culture over higher pay. The way we work is shifting, change is no longer an option; the younger generations of workforce are demanding this change.

When you create a coaching culture, you are also catalysing a change in your business to deliver a high performing environment that comes through a partnership of connected engagement, personal development, and committed support. Such is the power of a coaching culture that values people!

©Published by Lifeskills Institute Pte Ltd

Lifeskills Institute is the strategic partner of Zenger Folkman for Singapore and Malaysia. Our Chief Enabling Officer, Ian Tan is a Master Facilitator certified by Zenger Folkman.

Zenger Folkman is a strengths-based leadership development company helping leaders elevate their people and organisations. Co-founders Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman utilise empirical data and behavioural evidence to help leaders become extraordinary.

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5 reasons to invest in a superior 360 feedback process

5 reasons to invest in a superior 360 feedback process

Before sharing the five reasons to invest in a superior 360 feedback process, let’s establish what the 360 feedback process needs to have to be effective.

  • There needs to be complete confidentiality in the process. This goes beyond the comments not being attributable to the respondents of the 360 feedback; this is about keeping their responses confidential at all times.
  • The respondents need to be truthful and keep their comments productive without having to worry that they are bruising the self-esteem of the feedback recipient.
  • When the process is implemented, HR and the feedback recipient’s supervisor need to be transparent with the recipient, his coach and the respondents on the purpose of the 360 leadership review process. Be specific.
  • Customise the 360 leadership survey to reflect the company’s language, vision, mission, and valued competencies. Take this into consideration when selecting your vendor and setting aside a budget.
  • Have a proper follow-up process in place. Without it, the recipient may not be able to put the feedback to good use. And if the respondents notice that the recipient has not made any changes based on their feedback, future respondents may hesitate to participate in such exercises or if they do, may give only obligatory responses instead of being authentic.


What needs to be established here is that what makes the difference is investing in the 360 feedback process and not just the tool.

You may have invested in a great tool but without engaging in the 360 feedback process, the leaders of your organisation may have missed an opportunity to grow intentionally. And your organisation may have missed an opportunity to grow into becoming an extraordinary one.

Now let’s take a look at five reasons you should invest in a superior 360 feedback process.

Reason 1: Expands self-awareness – the first component of emotional intelligence

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” — Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst

Emotional intelligence – your ability to recognise, understand, and manage your own emotions – is a must-have skill for leaders. The first component of emotional intelligence is self-awareness. Self-awareness is about understanding how you feel and how these feelings can impact your co-workers. When self-aware, you are able to identify your strengths, weaknesses, and emotions.

A 360 degree feedback process expands the recipient’s self-awareness as they find out more about their strengths and weaknesses through the eyes of their co-workers. When leaders engage in a multi-rater feedback like a 360 assessment, they can be pleasantly surprised by the differences between their own opinions of themselves and the observations of others.

Reason 2: Increases the importance and credibility of feedback given in the past

“Wait a minute, I’ve heard that before. My kids/spouse/siblings have said that about me too. WOW! It must be true if so many of my co-workers are saying the same!”

When administered well with a dozen or more respondents participating in it, a 360 assessment reiterates important messages to the assessment recipient as more people collectively observe the same behaviour. The feedback becomes louder and clearer to him.

Source: Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash

Reason 3: Increases the chances of the leader changing his behaviour

This is especially so if several leaders go through the process together. When they do, they become far more responsive to feedback and a different or new perspective.

With the 360 assessment, leaders can either change their behaviour or reframe how they see themselves.

Take James, for example: he found out through a 360 assessment that his staff found him to be more critical of their work than encouraging. When engaging in a work review meeting, James became more aware of this and held back his criticisms at the onset of the discussion. Instead, he took the time to understand how the staff came up with the piece of work and how it would meet the team’s goal. His discussions with his staff became more engaging. If James immediately criticised the staff’s work on the onset, people’ views of him would be accurate.

Reason 4: Establishes a solid relationship between leadership behaviour and business performance

When you invest in a top-quality 360 degree feedback assessment process, not tool, the leader is more motivated to change his behaviour as he understands how it can result in better business performance.

For example, the best 360 degree feedback assessments measure the current level of engagement and commitment of the leader’s direct reports. In the chart below, it is evident that a greater leadership effectiveness score results in more engaged direct reports. When a leader is made to understand this, he is more motivated to alter his behaviour.

Reason 5: Creates a domino effect from a single leader’s performance improvement

Once a leader showcases improvements in his leadership effectiveness score, other leaders in the organisation are motivated to do the same. This ripple effect is not just a one-off effect. It lasts a long time.

Research from Zenger Folkman shows that if the leadership effectiveness scores of the top team are just above average, then the successive layer below them will have lower scores. Conversely, if scores of the top team are at the upper percentile; the scores are higher at every successive level below them.

Reap the benefits of investing in a solid 360 feedback process

Investing in a 360 feedback process, not tool, takes time, effort, careful consideration and a serious commitment to follow through the process.

When carried out well, we have found that the individual and the company reap the benefits. And the benefits flow down not only to the various organisational levels but also in the individual’s personal life.

“360 feedback is the most valuable part which really helped me to understand better my strengths and weaknesses. Getting a 360 degree report provides a clear picture of people’s perception of you and what you think of yourself – big treasure. It lets us identify opportunities for improvement – better communication and work relationships at different levels.” Monica Ai,  Operations VP, Antolin (China) Investment Co., Ltd, participant of The Extraordinary Leader™ programme.

A 360 assessment process expands the leader’s self-awareness and increases the importance and credibility of feedback previously given to him. It would be well worth the while if the process is taken together as a team of peers as this increases the likelihood for a change in behaviour. Working with a coach to make those behavioural changes will also contribute to this likelihood as the coach holds the leaders accountable for their commitments to the changes. The coach is also part of a follow-up process to establish that he does.

You will see that over time, the business performance is affected positively when the people engage in a choice 360 leadership process.

©Published by Lifeskills Institute Pte Ltd

Lifeskills Institute is the strategic partner of Zenger Folkman for Singapore and Malaysia. Our Chief Enabling Officer, Ian Tan is a Master Facilitator certified by Zenger Folkman.

Zenger Folkman is a strengths-based leadership development company helping leaders elevate their people and organisations. Co-founders Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman utilise empirical data and behavioural evidence to help leaders become extraordinary.

Source: Photo by Esperanza Doronila on Unsplash

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Why Coaching Matters in Building Stronger Teams?

Source: istock – Nattakorn Maneerat


Why Coaching Matters in Building Stronger Teams?

Research by Zenger Folkman found that leaders who are able to coach are eight times more likely to become top-tier leaders as opposed to a leader who manages. Collected data from 4,212 leaders affirmed that those coach their team delivered greater effectiveness and impact shown through their work performance. Hence, improving engagement and commitment at workplaces among teams.

Manager versus Coach

Clearly, the expectations for leaders today are not just about being able to lead, instruct, or manage, and ensuring work performance. It is also about being able to connect, engage, inspire and impact the team. To be a leader, you need to also be a coach. Question is, is it possible that the manager can also be the coach? Or is it not a distinct role between a manager and a coach?

If there should be any distinctions between a manager and a coach, it would be the approach. A manager is usually directive or instructive, that means, the leader likely prefers to “tell”, so the interaction is mostly one-way except if there are questions from the team. A manager is usually more tasks focused; thus, can become impatient when having to deal with too many questions. This usually leads to low engagement with the team, and decrease in collaboration efforts.

Coaching, on the other hand, takes on a more collaborative and empowering approach. As the saying goes, instead of “providing the fish, it is teaching them how to fish”. It means directing the team towards their own resourcefulness to discover insights and opportunities that can be translated to knowledge they can own. This ownership is critical in bringing about a change in behaviour because of the conviction gleaned from the insights gained. A coach is always interested to see transformation that brings innovation through leading change.

Becoming an Effective Coach

Building on the 4,212 collected data of the leaders who coach their team, Zenger Folkman separated those who were rated as the most effective coaches.  They identified 20 behaviours that were most frequently used by this group of most effective coaches, and further conducted a statistical factor-analysis to determine their dominant behavioural patterns.

  1. Carve out the time

Effective coaching requires setting aside time and showing up for the experience. Practically this means accessing your calendar, and scheduling the times to contact the person involved to provide coaching.

  1. Focus on specific actions

Discuss the specifics and dilute the generalities or platitudes.

  1. Inspire others via positive interactions

Create a script that leaves the other person uplifted. The best coaches were consistently seen as positive catalysts for change, rather than critics. Other looked to them for ideas, inspiration, and direction. They were seen as constantly seeking superior performance through continuous improvement. The best coaches radiate energy and enthusiasm to others.

  1. Add your ideas and experience

Coaches are not mere passive listeners. Good coaches help the person being coached to see the issues and challenges they are facing. The coaches enable them to find good answers from themselves. At the appropriate time, they give their ideas and share their experience. They deliver observations with honesty and in a non-offensive manner.

  1. Freely give honest praise

Feedback can range from redirecting or corrective observations all the way to high praise and commendation. Both kinds of feedback have their time and place. Our research, however, convincingly shows that the best coaches spend most of their time recognizing and rewarding positive performance. Their goal is to build confidence ad self-esteem, which in turn encourages even greater effort. Positive expressions far outweigh negative comments.

  1. Foster collaboration

The best coaches emphasize superordinate goals that unify people and generate collaboration. They help those they coach to see opportunities to garner cooperation from other teams and departments. They do all they can to tamp down competition between departments and to replace it with selfless cooperation.

Directing team is highly necessary in the chain of command; however, breaking that chain will also not create adversity. In fact, breaking this chain and incorporating coaching effectively will create greater freedom for the leader, and greater empowerment for the team. To change behaviour and inspire new efficiency, there is a need to focus on what will drive this change.

To impact change and grow a stronger team, it is therefore important for managers to be equipped with coaching skills, as well as leaders to further honed their coaching skills.

Reference Source:

©Published by Lifeskills Institute Pte Ltd

Lifeskills Institute is the strategic partner of Zenger Folkman for Singapore and Malaysia. Our Chief Enabling Officer, Ian Tan is a Master Facilitator certified by Zenger Folkman.

Zenger Folkman is a strengths-based leadership development company helping leaders elevate their people and organisations. Co-founders Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman utilise empirical data and behavioural evidence to help leaders become extraordinary.

Read More