Implementing Personalized Leadership Coaching & Mentoring III 

This week, we continue with our 3rd discussion on a 4-part series titled Implementing Personalized Coaching & Mentoring. We already looked at 8 Reasons Leaders Must Adopt A Coaching Leadership Style in 2024 and 9 Ways To Develop Coaching Leaders On Your Team

 5 Coaching Errors Leaders Make And How To Avoid Them

Based on experience serving clients at over the past 12years, Implementing Personalized Coaching & Mentoring is our #2 strategy for driving a culture of peak performance. 

What we have found is that as leaders attempt to coach and mentor, there are certain behaviors some leaders exhibit that limits the potency of their attempt. 

Nobody is perfect and we are all vulnerable to making mistakes at some point in our lives. Even professional coaches aren’t immune to making mistakes. The difference is whether we are open to discovering our ignorance and making conscious effort to unlearn these behaviors. 

In the time past, before coaching became a common lexicon in the corporate world, a lot of leaders bullied their way coercion and manipulation. Some later realized they could have done better but it was too late for most. 

As we have noted in the past years, coaching has evolved to be a game changer for teams and organizations of all sizes, successfully converting team members into partners through motivation, inspiration, and a variety of other elements.

However, because coach leadership is entrusting your team members to do their best while you encourage and inspire them to think, plan, and set goals objectively, while also navigating the best route to reach them, you cannot afford to make costly mistakes.

Let’s look at 5 of the most common errors limiting the effectiveness of coaching:

  1. When Leaders Don’t Really Listen

When you don’t develop the capacity to understand what others are feeling and experiencing to truly connect with your team’s perspectives and challenges, you miss out on a very crucial strategy that would have helped to build trust with your team. Active listening isn’t just about hearing, but listening to comprehend to gain hindsight or foresight.

Next time you are in a conversation with your team members, leave everything else in the moment and ensure you truly listen more than you speak.

  • When Leaders Don’t Provide Constructive Feedback

In our work with leaders, we find that one of the rare traits most team members find admirable is when a leader has the capacity to give constructive feedback. This is one of the criteria for nominating leaders for The Peak Performing Executive of The Year. 

When you don’t provide concise, helpful, and practical feedback from periodic assessment, you deny your team members the opportunity to grow. Some attempts at giving feedback focuses on discussing the error and consequently magnifies the error. 

It is therefore imperative that you implement a performance management system where you can give constructive feedback by focusing on what can be done better to enable your team members make informed adjustments to areas in need of improvement in their career journey.

  • When Leaders Don’t Admit Their Errors

You can’t afford to give your team members the impression that you are perfect or that you know it all. Leaders must always acknowledge and disclose their faults. This is because team members are continuously observing how their leaders lead—especially when they make mistakes. 

When leaders fail to accept responsibility for their failures, they contribute to a culture in which honesty is expendable. 

Next time you make a mistake, admit it, learn from it and share with team members. This is not weakness, it takes guts to admit your error even to your subordinates. 

  • When Leaders Assume Knowledge of Team Members 

Assumption is the lowest form of intelligence. When your perception of your team members is based on their background or previous experiences you must have had with similar character profiles that share the same identity as your team members, it weakens the effectiveness of your attempt. 

While there may always be overlaps and similarities among those whom you lead, making judgments or assumptions that they will be the same doesn’t help anyone. Nor is it fair to your team members who are their own unique individual selves with a unique set of attributes, goals, desires, and obstacles. 

While it is good to draw on experiences, as a leader, you must approach each member of your team with a blank slate, being as curious as possible to learn the most about them in the most neutral manner possible. 

Still, on making assumptions, it is an error for leaders to talk to their team about the performance of other members. Why? Because if a leader speaks poorly about one member of the team, the tendency or the possibility for the rest of the team to think that they could be next will be high. 

We all thrive in a high-trust environment. Therefore, It is always easier to establish trust when relationships are reliable and authentic, and when communication is direct and open. So, as much as it might be tempting, leaders should abstain from this practice and rather choose to talk directly to each team member about their performance and not their peers.

  • When A Leader Is Totalitarian

Totalitarian is a system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state. There are many different coaching styles and methodologies available. And, with expertise and time, leaders frequently establish a specific style and procedure based on the commonalities of the profiles of members of their teams and what would yield the highest guaranteed success. However, for a coaching engagement to be successful, it must focus on the team first and foremost; and then the process comes second. Many leaders attempt to use coaching in totalitarian system by forcing their team to take a specific route rather than being flexible. 

After coaching hundreds of executives in the past 12 years, I’ve learnt that coaching conversations rarely follow a set pattern. Many times, I rush forward, circle back, go deep, and shift direction—wherever the ground is most productive. Certainly, the coaching goals can serve as the North Star to shoot for, but the path to those goals can never be precisely defined – and this is something leaders must embrace and understand, to allow them to be flexible.


Peak performing leaders are those who help their team members overcome obstacles and reach their potential. Therefore, be present to offer resources and support when needed. Acknowledge and commemorate accomplishments, regardless of the size. It is your responsibility as a leader to specify the attitudes and actions you expect from your team. As you continue to develop and improve as a coaching leader, go to workshops, study books, and look for mentorship from more seasoned coaching leaders.


To further position your leaders for peak performance, you can download a free copy of the latest edition of The Peak Performer Magazine You can also enrol your Mid-level  Leadership Team for the Made4More Accelerator Program and your Senior Leadership Team for the Dr. Abiola Salami International Leadership Bootcamp MOMBASA 2024 We also have an upcoming training for leaders in public service

About Dr. Abiola Salami

Dr. Abiola Salami is the Convener of Dr Abiola Salami International Leadership Bootcamp and The Peak PerformerTM. He is the Principal Performance Strategist at CHAMP – a full scale professional services firm trusted by high performing business leaders for providing Executive Coaching, Workforce Development & Advisory Services to improve performance. You can reach his team on and connect with him @abiolachamp on all social media platforms. 

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