You’ve had this moment. The moment when you know you need to make a change. When your need meets your willingness to change. I call this the coaching moment. When we are most open to advice, counsel, and guidance - and ready to try something new or different.

Being a great coach takes more than skills and approaches. It takes wisdom, insight, and a mindset that might be different than you expect. It is recognizing the value of the coaching moment, and how to create those moments for those they coach.

What is the Coaching Moment?

A coaching moment isn’t something the coach does. It is a moment of clarity, insight, and openness in the person being coached. In these moments, we are most open, willing, and motivated to try something new and accept help from someone else. They are moments of reduced resistance to change and heightened awareness of our potential and desire to reach it.

How Can We Create Coaching Moments?

The person we are coaching is the person who will experience this moment of clarity and insight. Given that, we can’t create them for others the way we can create a product or service. But we can create processes and situations where they might occur. What are those actions we can take?

Build your relationship regularly

The better you know someone, the more likely they are to open up to you in a variety of situations. What are you doing each day to build relationships with your team?

Build trust

Trust goes hand-in-hand with relationships. But as the boss/leader/coach, we must work harder to build that trust. And if your team members are remote from you, it is even more important that you focus on this. How much trust exists with each of your team members?

Have regular one-on-ones

Coaching moments won’t always happen during a one-on-one. But if you don’t have regular opportunities for coaching to occur, they are less likely to ever happen. Is the frequency of your one-on-ones most effective for you and our team members?

Be available

Coaching can and should happen in formal and informal settings. For coaching moments specifically, timing matters. Do people know when you are available, and if so, how to reach you?

Be present

When you are with others, stop other activities. When you are fully present with others, they will be more open and you will be more observant. If you aren’t fully present, you may miss a powerful coaching moment. Are you fully present when you are with your team members?

Increase psychological safety with those you coach

To maximize the opportunities for coaching moments, people need to feel safe enough with you to be vulnerable and share. Doing all the other things on this list will help build psychological and emotional safety.

Honestly, each of the items I’ve listed could be an article or even a chapter in a book. But having the list improves the chances of coaching moments occurring for your team members.

How Do We Use Coaching Moments?

When these moments arrive, be grateful, humble, and mindful that your advice now has great weight. Slow down. Ask questions. Make sure your conversation is clear and helpful. As a coach, it is an honor to have someone seek our input in such an open way. Don’t take coaching moments for granted, because the person you’re coaching surely isn’t.

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High Impact Leadership: The #1 Fastest Way to Accelerate Your Organization’s Success

February 22, 2024  1:00pm ET

Kevin Eikenberry is a recognized world expert on leadership development and learning and is the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group ( He has spent nearly 30 years helping organizations across North America, and leaders from around the world, on leadership, learning, teams and teamwork, communication and more.
Twice he has been named by as one of the top 100 Leadership and Management Experts in the World and has been included in many other similar lists.

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