with greg layton

The Inner Chief is for leaders, professionals and small business owners who want to accelerate their career and growth. Our guest chiefs and gurus share powerful stories and strategies so you can have more purpose, influence and impact in your career.

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This is episode 9 on our 25 part series on High Performing Teams. The first 5 episodes were about your MISSION which includes your vision, purpose, strategy, values and goals of your team. And then for the last three weeks we've been talking all about your PEOPLE.

We have already covered getting the right people on the bus, putting them in the right role, and then getting a strategic development plan together for that individual.

Today we talk all about the coaching and one-to-ones. We’ll cover four important steps in coaching:

  • Understanding what motivates your people
  • Understanding their psychology in greater depth
  • Get into a regular coaching rhythm (see Ep 33 and 88 on Strategic Development Plans)
  • Coach each person in their own right and maintaining growth mindset


First and foremost, you have to understand who it is you're leading. What are their goals? What are their dreams? What are their aspirations? What motivates them? Do they have a family? Do they want to go and do more study? Do they love travel? What are their hobbies? If you don't understand them at a high level, or even at a deeper level, how can you possibly lead them? So know what's going on for them and where they want to be and what are their goals and dreams.


Then the next part that I think is really important, and often it's a step that's missed, is get to know how they tick up here. What is their personality? So find a personality modelling tool and do it. It might be Kolbe Index, it might be Myers-Briggs, it might be Disc, it might Belbin, it might be Enneagram. You pick one that teaches you about how they operate, what their preferences are, what they do under pressure.

And also do one for yourself. If you can have a personality profile on both you and the person that reports to you, you'll get a sense of where maybe some of the tension might rise from time to time. You'll get a sense of how they would best report to you, and how you would best lead them. These are really valuable tools that give you an insight and often really spark your own awareness of your own preferences and behaviours on a day to day basis.

So I recommend you do that for every single person who reports to you. You get everyone to do it, it's a wonderful team building activity where people really grow in themselves and learn a little bit about how they operate. Always remembering that these are preferences. A lot of these things aren't DNA. A lot of them are things that you can work on over time. You might revert to them under pressure, but you'll find even with things like Myers-Briggs, someone say “hey you're either very intuitive or you're very, more logic based”. Over time you might find that you maybe started at one end of the spectrum and now you're more in the middle, 'cause your business world or your life lessons have taught you that. And that's totally okay.


In episode 33 we covered “Inspirational and effective one-to-ones” in a four step process called “COPS”:

  • Check In
  • Operations / Commercials
  • People and Cultures
  • Strategy and Business Improvement

In creating a regular rhythm avoid the pitfall that a lot of leaders make where they say things like “hey listen, you set the agenda for the one to ones, you look after them, and whatever you want to talk about we'll just talk about that.”

Let’s be straight… when you do that it sends a message to that individual that you don't really care about them, that you're not that interested in their development.

No professional sporting coach in their right mind would ever do that. You control the agenda, you control the development of your people. Take ownership of those one to ones and invest in your people, make them feel loved and valued so they turn up every day knowing they're gonna grow.

Last week about developing those people over a long period of time. I find it's really helpful to do some analysis on that. If you look at their targets and their KPIs, think in detail about what do they bring to the table in achieving those? So when we work with elite athletes, and I do this all the time with elite athletes, we say what are all the technical, tactical, physical, mental, and social aspects of their game that are having an impact on their performance every single day?

I want you to think about that for your individuals on their team and look at their KPIs and their goals, and then ask yourself “how are they going technically? Do they have the operational, the technical skills to do their job? How are they going tactically? Do they know the order, the frameworks, the processes, do they know what to do in order to shift the bar from one level to another level, to dial something up, right?”

Continue through each of their elements of high performance and analyse where they’re stalled in their growth and identify ways you can support them in fine tuning their skills.

Look at everything, particularly if someone is stalled. Help them get fitter. Help them get healthier. Help them with their nutrition, help them with their recovery. Because these are all little elements that help you as a leader. Find little things to help their mind. And coach. Because this is a big thing. A coach never stops trying to find ways to improve their athlete or their people. You have to have a growth mindset. No matter how good they are, no matter how stuck they are, no matter how bad they are you're the coach, you can help them move.

Remember, all you need to do is move them one degree. And this is a key concept in coaching. Don't always try and turn the dial 100% in every coaching session. That's not how coaching works. Coaching works one percent, one percent, one percent. And it's the conglomeration of those, the integration of those one percenters where you get big leaps in performance. Every now and then, every now and then you'll have an opportunity to give someone some really strong feedback, or a really big piece of advice that's life-changing for them, but it's not that common. Most of the time it's incremental pieces of advice, incremental pieces of improvement.

So over the year, we spoke last week about setting up the strategic development plan, then every week, fortnight, you set up your one to one, you own that process. And you own it as a coach would.


Everyone is different and requires different approaches to coaching. There are two particuarly tricky individuals to coach…the star thoroughbred who is highly motivated and the pasture horse that turns up everyday and just gets the job done.

Number one let's talk about a star. A star is your thoroughbred. They're the person on the team that is just knocking it out of the park in every single element of the game. Now a star is someone that needs love as much as anyone else in the team, and often that can be a bit annoying, because they just finish their work so quickly and if they get bored they just cause trouble. But this is the thing: think of them like a thoroughbred. The truth is you're not likely to have them on your team for that long. They're gonna outgrow the team eventually. That's alright. Recognise that, and don't create an environment where you're crushing them. The worst thing you can do with a thoroughbred is put them inside a pen and lock 'em in. You do not wanna stifle. You do not wanna starve them of oxygen. You wanna do the opposite.

For a thoroughbred, you need to give them a challenge. It needs to be a big challenge. You need to double their KPIs, make them do extra projects, make sure they develop other people in the team, and you gotta keep giving them feedback about how they can be better and better and better and better.

I remember this one time I was coaching a rugby team and one of the best players on the team, he came off the field afterwards and he said “hey man have you got any feedback about how I can play better?” And I said “Oh man, you're awesome, man, I can't think of anything right now.” And you know what? He was really disappointed. He really wanted to know how he could do better. Even though he was basically the best player on the field. Because with thoroughbreds, if you can't give them advice on how they can get better, they start to feel like that maybe they're not a part of the future plans of the team. So thoroughbreds need to be pushed, alright?

The other end of the spectrum is maybe someone who's not maybe someone who's not motivated, who is maybe more of a pasture horse. They turn up, do their job every single day, they're happy just coming to work. With this type of person, it's less about driving massive KPIs and more about the team spirit and the culture. These people value human connection or just doing a good job every single day. They're really happy with that. And that's fantastic. You need to celebrate that. If you treat them like you treat a thoroughbred, you're going get a pretty negative resoponse. What you need to do is make them feel valued, invest in them every single day, listen to their opinion, push them when it's appropriate but not all the time, and create a fantastic team culture.

So you can see already that within your team you're coaching everybody in very different ways, and there's a massive spectrum of all the pieces and of all the bits in between.

So coaching and developing your people, running these one to ones. Just to summarise. First of all go back to episode 33. If you haven't listened to how to run the agenda and investing in your people every single week and running inspirational and effective one to ones. Then come back to this episode and think about first of all, do you have a really solid understanding of what motivates your people? Where are they going? What are their dreams, their goals, their visions, aspirations. Then understand more about how they tick. What is their psychology? And that's about more personality profiling of some sort. Then get into a regular coaching rhythm, and treat them as individuals. You must make sure you're always pushing these people all the time, and I'll put those steps there on the website that we spoke about, about how to deal with different kinds of individuals in particular.

You've got a wonderful opportunity to act as coach and to develop your people. Which can be the greatest gift you can ever give someone. So take it seriously. Take it to heart, and learn as much you can about coaching over time. Invest in those people, and you will all reap the rewards, because it can become very quickly the best place, or the best job some people have ever had is when someone has really played the role as coach for them. I know certainly for me when I was in the corporate world, the best things or the people I respected the most were the ones that really cared for me and took my game to a new level and pushed me when I needed to be pushed.

Stay epic

Next article in the High Performance Teams series:

Pillar 2/People: Part 10 – Situational Delegation