Coaching to Inspire Virtual Team Members to Excel | College of Executive Coaching
Coaching Article

Coaching to Inspire Virtual Team Members to Excel

May 14, 2020
By Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., MCC

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Now that a large percentage of the workforce are working independently from home, how do managers maximize the results of their team? How do leaders know what is possible from their employees?

Coaching to Inspire Virtual Team Members to Excel

What is the number one step managers need to take to get the best results from their employees? The manager needs to speak weekly with each teammate for at least ten to fifteen minutes, one-on-one, to learn how the employee views their work, how enthusiastic they are about their work and what they view as their primary responsibilities.

Once a manager is having regular, supportive meetings where the manager is "inquiring" with the employee, not just "telling" the employee, they are ready to use coaching questions to inspire greater success.

A coaching question I pose to the leader is, "how does the employee's view of what is possible compare with yours?" The leaders we are coaching have access to information that not only allows them to see a piece of the bigger picture, it requires them to do so. However, the leader needs to have regular conversation with the employee to learn the employee's perspective, ideas and their observations from the field. This exploration creates a synergistic effect and if not tended to, the organization's potential, the leader's potential and the employee's potential all will fall short of what could be.

When the leader invests regularly in inquiring about the employee's thoughts about work they are taking an important step in creating a coaching culture. Creating a coaching culture is a top priority in progressive organizations.

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The following type of coaching questions have helped my clients inspire their employees to be at their best:

  • What are you doing to understand your employees' perspectives about their work each week?
  • What are you doing this week to help support and stretch your employee's thinking and goals?
  • How are you supportively helping your employees challenge their performance plateaus in line with their values and strengths to further engagement?

What if an employee has low expectations of themself? The manager can use inquiry to learn why. Perhaps the employee has a history of low expectations, has experienced many failures, is pessimistic, lacks resources, or engages in self-defeating self-talk. These issues will stand in the way of peak performance until they are addressed directly.

Regular, supportive coaching style conversations between the manager and their direct reports help people see themselves as winners. When the manager adopts a coaching style of inquiry with their employee, they will help foster energy, ownership, and enhanced personal commitment within the employee to their work.

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