An effective coach meets people where they are. As you coach your employees to develop their skills or improve their performance, set them up for success by understanding how they learn best and adjusting your methods accordingly. Some people may prefer learning in the moment, through intense experience and goal-directed action. Others may favor retaining information reflectively, through sustained meditation and analytical thinking.
Coaching will likely involve some combination of these two approaches. With people who prefer an active style of learning, for example, communicate dynamically and encourage on-the-job experiments. With reflective learners, communicate thoughtfully and allow adequate time for them to rehearse quietly on their own.
By tapping into their preferred styles, you will engage employees more deeply and find an approach to learning they feel motivated to follow. As a result, they’ll make greater—and faster—progress toward their goals.
Adapted from The HBR Guide to Coaching Your Employees.