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How Do Good Leaders Give Advice?… They Don’t!

A common misconception about leadership is that leaders are there to give advice. But instead of giving employees the answers, leaders should actually be helping them arrive at their own solutions. The best way to help employees to come up with their own solutions is through coaching.

Coaching means supplying people with the tools, knowledge, and opportunities they need to develop themselves fully. This in turn helps them to be more committed to themselves, the organisation, and their work.


To help you understand what we’re talking about, we’ve outlined a few ways you can coach your employees, rather than give them advice.

Ask the open-ended questions

Yes/no questions shut the conversation down. They can also make people feel as if they’re being led down a specific path. Conversely, open-ended questions create value for the person asking and the individual answering. In this way, they allow both parties to actively engage in forming possible solutions to any issues.

Be quiet and listen

Most people don’t listen properly. They are so busy waiting for their turn to talk that they fail to actually listen to the other person. The problem with this is that they miss valuable information. Savvy leaders know there is much more to be gained by handing over the proverbial mic than there is by holding on to it.


Help with goal setting

Goal setting can be an effective tool to provide challenge, focus, and motivation. Unfortunately, this tool is often underutilised or poorly implemented. Many employees struggle to set goals for themselves. Or if they do set them, they struggle to stick to them. A good leader helps employees set realistic goals that they actually want to achieve.


Provide constructive feedback

There are two types of feedback a leader can choose to share with their employees: constructive and destructive. Destructive feedback points out an individual’s faults and offers no practical support. On the other hand, constructive feedback helps the other person to move forward. When a leader provides constructive feedback, it shows their employees that they want to help them become better, more talented workers. As a result, employee-employer relationships become stronger and more trusting.


More and more organisations and leaders are recognising that coaching is critical to great leadership. Not only that, but employees are asking their leaders to coach them. It is important to remember though, coaching is not training. It is the provision of the right support to help employees reach their full potential.

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