TIL: Developing and Coaching Your People

One of your most important responsibilities as a leader in your team is to develop and coach your team.

One of the most effective and helpful framework for helping find a strategy to coach and develop your team is called ACS model. A stands for assessment, C for challenge, S for support.


When you think about assessing your individual team members the first important question that you must be able to answer is “why am I assessing”? And “what am I assessing”?
The second important question that you must be able to answer is, “am I going to focus on weaknesses or strengths, or both”?

What researchers found that the traditional weakness approach to assessment and development is not so effective.
If there are certain weaknesses that someone in your team must improve in order to even be able to work on a specific task, thiese kind of weaknesses can’t be ignored. But in order to achieve exceptional results, leaders and teams should find ways to develop and leverage strengths identified through assessments even further.

Research results on 198000 employees underline that 80% of employees do not feel that their strengths are used every day. A greater use of employee strenghts can lead to less turnover, more productive business units, higher customer satisfaction scores.


Challenge is an essential ingredient to being able to help your team members grow and develop.
Challenge is an essential ingredient, but it also requires yourself and each and every one of your team members to be an active learner.


  • Expect and tolerate ambiguity
  • Revisit priorities regularly
  • Keep a learning journal
  • Manage energies and do not over-commit
  • Find a balance between competing priorities
  • Seek counsel from others with similar challenges
  • Engage others to hold you accountable
  • Meet regularly to talk about stressors

As you stretch the individuals to the highest level learning, growth, and development can start to decline.

Causes of this decline can be the lack of feedback during these challenging experiences.
It’s important to have a variety of sources of feedback, and it’s critically important for that feedback to be available to you in real time. and not simply at the end of the experience so that your team members are continuously learning from these challenging experiences.

The other cause can be mindset.
Some individuals have fixed mindset or a performance mindset. These individuals want to avoid making mistakes at all costs. But if you want to avoid making mistakes at all costs the only thing that you do is what you already know how to do really well, which means that you are not challenging yourself. You have to be able to let go off that comfort zone in order to grow and develop.
The other mindset that comes to life with people who have this performance or fixed mindset orientation is they not only want to avoid making mistakes, but they also want to prove to other people how good they are.
People who take a growth mindset or a more learning orientation are able to take on more challenging experiences and they learn more as a result.


One of the main aspects of support consists in building your personal board of directors. You should have a board of directors for developing yourself but as a leader you should also help your team members develop their personal board of directors.

The members of your personal board of directors should belong to one of these groups:

  • people who are in functions other than the one that you’re in
  • people at a higher level (not just peer or a subordinate)

A personal board of directors should include individuals with specific roles:

  • Sponsor: people that will be your champions and advocate for you
  • Mentor: people you will go to for, feedback, advice and coaching
  • Stretch: people that will challenge you to think in new, different ways
  • Support: people that will provide you social and emotional support

“The ultimate test for a leader is not whether he or she makes smart decisions and takes decisive action, but whether he or she teaches others to be leaders and builds an organization that can sustain its success even when he or she is not around.”

Noel Tichy, The Leadership Engine Professor of Management, University of Michigan

Notes from: Leading People and Teams Specialization

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