077: How To Coach Your Staff For Peak Performance [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com

What if your staff made excellent decisions and you were able to guide them toward peak performance?  Coaching makes that possible!  On this episode, I tell about the model and questions that I ask to equip my staff for excellence

On This Episode:

I have a staff of awesome people.   They are dedicated, hard-working, and they’re fun to be around.

Recently we began intentional coaching with the staff because I saw a need for me as a leader to lead better with the staff.  

Here’s what was happening before.  They’d  have an issue or question and I’d answer it.  Case closed.  This style of leadership created dependency on me!  

Now, I’m taking more of a ‘coach approach’ with staff. 

First, let me tell you what coaching is and how staff coaching is different from one on one. 

Coaching is a facilitated monolog.  If you were to get coaching from me one on one,  we’d identify the issue, ask what you want to get out of our time, then we’ll process the problem, what options have you tried and come up with a course of action, normally for a short term. “What are you going to do this week, this month.” This is a model called IGROW.

 I met 3x per month with people.  

Organizational coaching/leadership coaching does that but because we are in an organizational setting, we are solving problems through the template of vision mission values.

So if you work at a real estate company that specializes in commercial real estate, that template is the first lens through which you answer questions. 

If one of the agents said, “I found this great single family house!”  As a leader, my gut wants to say, “Nope, because we’re a commercial company.” My coaching says, “If we were to move on it, how does that line up with who we are as a company?”  

So Michael Bungay Stainer wrote a book every manager and leader should read called, “The Coaching Habit – how to coach your team in 10 minutes or less.”  His team studied neuroscience and found these 7 questions have the best long term impact… 

He offers the core seven questions that every leader should use.  Here’s what I do,

I use IGROW as a template to help guide the conversation and insert the 7 questions where I can. 

Let me give you the three of the 7 I use the most.  [For fun, you should try this with your spouse]

  1. “What’s on your mind?”  This get right to the issue
  2. “And What Else?”  Often the question they have isn’t really the question.

Then they lay out all of this issues and problems.

3. “What’s the real challenge here for you?”  This question is phrased intentionally. ‘Whats the challenge’ is too impersonal.  ‘Whats the real challenge’ is better to help focus, but if you really want to empower your staff person, Stainers team found the phrase, “for you” digs into a deeper part of your brain.  

And normally, the person can emotionally connect with the one challenge on which they really need to work next. 

So I do this once per month with my staff.  I have them fill out a google form before the session so we can keep on track and the form basically says, 






And again, I use the template and the Stainer questions to walk through what they are struggling with, not what is on my agenda.  This is their time and when they can come up with their own solutions that fit within the context of the organization’s parameters and goals, Peak performance is right around the corner. 




Follow the Leader

When I was a kid, we used to gather the local kids and play the greatest game known to mankind – FOLLOW THE LEADER.

One child would be in front and the rest behind.  Our call was to follow whoever was dubbed the leader and do everything that they did.  Inevitably the leaders ranged in ability on 3 levels.

First, there was the kid who was usually the youngest, smallest and as athletic as a dead cricket floating in your pool.  When he was in front, the rest of us knew that the experience would be less than exhilarating, teetering on boring.  Although he would try to make our journey exciting, and challenging, he usually fell into repeating the same moves and following the same path through the woods that was safe and uneventful.  Needless to say, we could follow this kid in our sleep… and most of us did.

On the opposite extreme was the kid who spent half his day in school the other half winning triathlons in his age bracket.  This was the kid who took our ragtag group through thorn bushes, under the floorboards of abandon houses and over the edge of a 25 foot, garbage dump embankment in full sprint, without breaking a sweat.  When he was in front, we knew that our scraggly bodies were about to get the whooping of their lives.   And when he lead, nobody wanted either to follow or to even try because his standard was so out of reach for us that Adrianne Peterson would have a hard time keeping up.

Then there was the kid who got it.  He understood the complexities of having people follow and imitate his every movement.  He knew when to break into a dead sprint and when to slow up the pace.  He knew how far he could push the rest of us physically without anyone losing their breath or their lunch at the same time.  He motivated us to be better than we normally were.  He led us into the dark places of the forest that we normally wouldn’t go, all the while calling back over his shoulder, “Come one!  You can do it!  I’ve done this a million times and I won’t leave you!”  With this kid in front, the game was challenging and enjoyable, all at the same time.

Whether you’ve played the game or not, one thing is clearly obvious… the joy and excitement of the game depends fully the one we are following.

What kind of leader are you?  Do you run too far in front and wonder why no one follows your leading.  Do you feel as if your team could be doing more but don’t know how to take them to the next level?  Be the leader who understands the team’s strengths and shortcoming’s, adapts their leadership style to fit them and always pushes a few steps ahead.  If you do, then your team and you will achieve greatness.

Personally, always follow our Master leader whose model was one of strength, kindness, love and sacrifice and you’re bound to live a life of purpose! (Mark 1:14-20)


How to Master any Task

I passed the bathroom the other day and noticed my daughter, Maddie, applying a few drops of lens solution onto her contacts.  Without a thought, she popped it in.  Then the other.  A few blinks later and she was off.

It wasn’t always that way.  At the beginning, this simple morning ritual was torture.    If you’ve ever worn the lenses, you remember how difficult it was to stick your finger into your eyeball, affix the lens onto your eye with the right suction technique and then smooth out the extra air-bubbles that inevitably hid between your eye and the lens… ALL WITHOUT BLINKING!

Morning after morning, I woke my daughter extra early to take on this monumental task.  However, the more we dove into the routine, the more mastery she gained.  Now, the lens application process is done without thought or effort.

Most everything that we try for the first time is awkward.  When learning a new job or skill, remember that routine is the tool toward mastery.

  • At the beginning of any new task, identify small victories.  What part of this task can I do?  Remember it for the next time around.
  • Keep your vision.  When learning something new, keep the vision of what it will look like when you’ve accomplished the task.  I call this “Jumping the Wall.”  Think of the unfamiliar process as a wall that keeps you from the goal.  Focus on the goal and the wall becomes small.
  • Ask for help.  Inevitably, there will be parts of the new task that you can’t just figure out.  Enlist the expertise or wisdom of others.  Ask, who has done this before?  What did they do to overcome the obstacles?

Newness creates fear.  But keeping the vision of your goal and practice the routines associated with the task will lead you to master anything!