Offering leadership advice to unknown participants may be fairly easy. However, if managers or senior employees are asked to coach their peers or subordinates in their organizations, training may seem extremely difficult. Most people find coaching someone they work with every day an almost impossible task.

However, an external leadership coach or an individual coach working with peers within the organization adopts some basic principles required to coach people.

Here are six effective principles for leadership coaching:

Creating a safe and supportive but challenging environment

Everyone needs challenges to encourage innovative thinking. But without the right support, challenges may damage trust and erode morale. Executive coaches need to provide safety and support to assure people that they have been heard and their feelings understood and valued. This helps to build trust and encourage honesty while allowing participants to psychologically feel safe at work. Coaches must keep their attitudes open and non-judgmental to create an environment where people feel risk-taking is rewarding rather than risky. Executive coaches must support the participants even as their knowledge and skills are tested during the leadership coaching program.

Working within the participants’ agenda

Coaching is about the participants and therefore, the goals must be determined by them and not by the coach. Participants must also have the freedom to choose how they want to achieve their goals and improve their knowledge and skills. While the alignment of coaching and participants’ goals is ideal, coaches must ensure they do not impose their personal priorities during the training. However, if the participants need to be pushed, the coaches must do the necessary while maintaining the collaborative environment.

Facilitating and collaborating

The most effective and efficient coaches do not offer direct answers or flaunt their experience and expertise. While holding coaching conversations, the focus should be on the needs of the participants. Executive coaches must avoid including their life stories and favorite strategies during the leadership training program. They must offer multiple options and strategies but leave the final decision with the participants to choose what suits them the best while the coach acts like their collaborator and facilitator.

Advocating self-awareness

The participants must be encouraged to recognize their own strengths and identify their weaknesses. The coach must also understand how their behavior impacts people around them. Showing self-awareness is likely to foster similar traits in the participants. The coach must also share some effective ways to boost self-awareness amongst the participants.

Promoting learning from experience

Most individuals learn, grow, and change only when they have the right experiences and are willing to learn from these experiences. Coaches must help the participants reflect on past events and analyze things that went well and what went wrong. Fostering experiential learning and using these to fuel further development and growth ensures the participants will implement their newly acquired skills and knowledge and continue their improvement over the long term long after the coaching program is completed.

Modeling what is coached

This last principle may seem easy but is often difficult to embody. It requires that the executive coaches put into practice what they teach. They must adopt their teachings in their daily work lives to show their peers and subordinates that they implement their lessons and are not merely using these as a learning tool. Modeling the teachings fosters an environment of trust and encourages the participants to also adopt the learnings to improve their performance, grow their careers, and achieve personal and organizational goals.

Opting for professional service providers with experienced and expert coaches may be a more suitable choice for companies that do not have in-house senior leaders to adopt the above-mentioned principles. Professional service providers work with several companies in different environments, which can add valuable insights for the participants and inculcate innovative thinking and find out-of-the-box solutions to resolve problems.