4 Ways to Develop Talent by Coaching Through Success

Success is a terrible thing to waste.

Problems, challenges, and mistakes are so magnetic that leaders might forget to coach team members through success.


A couple of years ago, while working with a team of internal coaches, one participant remarked that his coachee was doing well. He said, “There’s nothing to coach about.”

It’s normal for new coaches to think this way.

Coaching through success builds momentum.

It’s limiting to think coaching is exclusively about fixing mistakes and dealing with weaknesses.

Coaching through success:

#1. Provide opportunities for reflection after success.

It’s easier to learn from failure by reflecting on what went wrong and what we might do next time.

It takes discipline to learn from success.

  1. What did you do right?
  2. What personal qualities are behind this success?
  3. What makes you proud?
  4. What motivated you to take these actions?
  5. What strengths do you have that produced the most benefit?

#2. Point out BS when you smell it.

Success invites people to think more highly of themselves than they should. 

You’ve been doing these behaviors for a long time…

  1. What came together this time?
  2. How did others contribute to success?
  3. Who do you need to thank?
  4. What does humility look like in this situation?

#3. Turn toward the future.

Success is dangerous when it results in a sense of arrival.

  1. What’s next?
  2. How might you build on this success?
  3. How might you find new applications for your strengths?
  4. What advice do you have for yourself in this situation?

#4. Honor hard work and character more than results.

Failure is a learning tool – success energizes.

How might leaders coach team members through success?