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6 Effective Coaching Strategies for Your Team Six tips to keep your team motivated, productive and on track.

By Christopher Massimine Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Coaching is a great way to help your reports grow and improve. It allows you to spend time with each person on your team, learn more about them and help them strengthen their skills.

Coaching is about helping your team develop and creating a culture of growth. It's about creating an environment where your employees can succeed and learn, so they can ripen skills that will help lead the company to better results. Here are some tips for how you can coach your employees.

Related: Coaching Over Managing: Motivate Your Team

1. Keep your tone positive

You can coach your team by keeping your tone positive, setting clear goals and focusing on the positive aspects of the present situation. Be positive and encouraging. When you're coaching, it's essential to be supportive and honest with your team members. Avoid using negative language or blaming others for any problems in the business; instead, focus on solutions and how to move forward positively.

This tactic will help get everyone on board with working toward a common goal rather than feeling blamed or shamed into doing things their way instead of yours. Be clear about what you want them to do next time you meet up again. Ask yourself if they need additional training before then to be ready.

2. Ask about their concerns

The best way to understand what's going on in your employee's minds is to ask them. Ask them what they think their biggest challenge is and if there's anything that you could do to help them with it. Ask them how you can be more supportive of their goals and objectives, let them know about the things that are important to your organization as a whole — like growth or profitability — and have a candid conversation about how those priorities apply within your team dynamic. Finally, ask what some opportunities might be outside of just day-to-day operations. What do they think the future holds for this company? How can we grow from here?

Related: 6 Steps to Building a Great Team

3. Don't be afraid to say "no"

You're the coach, and you must keep your team moving toward the goal. That means sometimes saying "no" when it's best for everyone in the long term. It's easy and tempting to say yes all the time because it feels good to be liked by everyone. But that can backfire when you are overburdened or unprepared for a situation. Say no often. Say it firmly. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You may need to say no even more than once because people will feel slighted if they hear it once and then try again later without realizing that their request has been denied already.

4. Give them space to be themselves

Giving your team members space to be themselves is essential as a leader. Don't try to force them into a mold and change who they are. Your goal is not to make them more like you but to help them become better versions of themselves. They might be introverts or extroverts. They might be analytical or intuitive. They might have strong business skills but lack communication skills—or vice versa. The key is helping each person leverage their strengths and build on their weaknesses so that together as an organization, you can achieve greater success in your business endeavors than any individual could accomplish alone (or perhaps even in addition).

5. Make time to celebrate growth together

When you spend time with your team, talk about what they want to achieve. You should celebrate each other's successes. You will also want to reward good work, so make sure you are clear about what you expect from them and how they will be rewarded. Don't forget that it is important to give and receive praise.

6. Be honest but tactful

One of the most important things to remember when coaching is to be honest and tactful with your team. If someone asks for help, don't sugarcoat it — say no if that's what you think is best. But also remember that some people will take what you say personally, so always acknowledge their efforts and encourage them to keep trying.

Coaching is an important skill for any business owner to have. Coaching is about guiding your team through the process of making decisions for themselves — it's a way of empowering them to do their job better and feel more confident doing it. Coaching is the way forward if you want your employees to be happier and more productive.

Related: 6 Steps to Building a Great Team

Chris Massimine is the CEO of Imagine Tomorrow, a firm that shepherds and sources capital for creative works. Massimine is also a business development consultant, an international theatermaker and executive producer of the upcoming film "The Inventor."

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