6 Ways Executives Can Coach Their Teams

August 19, 2015 Jeffrey Hayzlett

With everything that chief executives have on their to-do list, managing teams is one of the most crucial parts. A great team can help you achieve even greater things, and help grow your company to the highest achievements success has to offer. 

With that being said, managing teams can also be one of the most stressful parts. Making sure that you have the right people in the right seats on the bus moving forward can be challenging, stressful, and downright hard. Nevertheless, I will say it again - it is one of the most crucial parts of the success to your business.

Managing a team is so much more than just managing. You're also responsible for leading them in the right direction, and coaching them to their fullest potential. I've managed businesses from Wall Street to Main Street, and the only difference between any of them is the number of zeros. Whether you're managing a team of ten or 10,000, there are six sure-fired ways you, as a chief officer, can coach your team.

Circle the Wagons

Whether your team is a size of one or a size of 10,000, everyone must be moving in the same direction towards a common goal. As a leader, it's your job to keep them moving that way. I'm not a huge proponent of meeting all the time, but regular meetings are necessary to keep everyone circled around the wagons. Find what works for your team, whether it's a five-minute standing meeting or an hour-long bi-weekly meeting. Share important information from the c-suite, and give your team time to raise red flags and brainstorm with their colleagues.

Ready, Fire, Aim

Your team will move as slow as molasses in January if you don't allow them to do a little 'ready, fire, aim'. Unless you're a surgeon, mistakes in business won't kill us. A leader who runs a great business must know how to take these kinds of risks, move quickly, and be smart. Leaders choose what to implement wisely, but aren't afraid to shoot quickly and aim later. When choosing what to implement, be transparent with your team and take them through your thought process. That's what a good coach does, and good leader, too.


Fast is not only the speed in which you can move, but it's also an organizing principle from my friend Thomas White of C-Suite Network. FAST stands for Focus, Accountability, Speed, Trust. Having this established and clearly communicated with your team will help keep everyone circled around the wagons. 

Focus: Clear visions, values, principles, and priorities consistent with our goals: What do we have to accomplish? What promises are we delivering on?

Accountability: What is my promise to the company, customers, and community? Shared ownership of results, actions linked to goals, and recognizing and rewarding success. 

Simplicity: How do you make what you do as simple as possible so you can move quickly? Timely response, innovative solutions, and removal of obstacles (even you!)

Trust: How do you engender trust among a group of diverse people who must move quickly together? Exceed expectations, communicate clearly, and genuinely encourage healthy debate.


When you move fast, mistakes are bound to happen. I mentioned it briefly above, but it warrants a little more definition. Trust your people enough to let them make small mistakes - mistakes that won't cost you much but are of great value to learn from and minimize in the future. But set the expectation for them to remain accountable to their mistakes, no matter the size. Reward good behavior and wins your team accomplishes, and confront the bad. Just remember to be fair, diplomatic, but consistent with your conditions of satisfaction. 

Be Their Biggest Cheerleader

To build an unshakeable foundation of trust between your team and you, you must be their biggest cheerleader. That doesn't mean you can never discipline them; it just means you must be a united front when working with clients, vendors, and enemies alike. Support their decisions, praise them in public, and coach them up through difficult mistakes. Never chastise them or undermine their efforts in front of clients - it gives the wrong impression and creates distrust between clients and your business.

Think Big, Act Bigger

I tell my team this every day - think big, act bigger. It's extremely unlikely they're going to hear 'no' from me unless it's dangerous or serves little to no purpose towards the end goal. I want my team to think big, to shoot for the moon, to push the envelope so far that we don't see the edges anymore - it's the only way to inspire innovation and drive change. Encourage your team to think big and act bigger, and reap the rewards of being relentless.

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