As a business coach for more than 25 years, I can attest to the power of a good companywide coaching program. If done correctly, you can help your team stay on task and focus on the bigger picture. You can increase revenue and profits, all while working less on the things that matter the most. And you can help ensure that everyone on your team has a good work-life balance. But even with all of that, it is possible to overcoach your team. Here’s how to tell if you are at risk of self-sabotage when it comes to your coaching plans.

Overcoaching Defined

You may be asking, how much is too much when it comes to coaching? At the core, you are trying to contribute value to your team members and help them grow and develop as employees and leaders. But if done incorrectly, you could be overhelping. Overexplaining, going into too much detail, or offering up so much help during the process that your team members aren’t able to critically think for themselves, or develop the problem-solving skills needed to grow, could actually be worse than if you did no coaching at all. This is particularly frustrating for your highly competent team members who already have a really good handle on their current realm of responsibility.

Beware of Your Behaviors

It’s one thing if you are coaching your new assistant on how to use a system or process within your business. You can explain every detail and task needed to be successful, and the chances of overcoaching are nearly impossible. But if you try to coach your marketing director on how to run a successful pay-per-click campaign, you are going to run into trouble. This person is an expert in that field, and you hired them for their expertise, so it is critical that you respect that expertise and tread lightly. Instead, you can help them ensure that their reporting format, structure, and frequency are optimal for your business needs. You can help guide them to be a better leader for their team. You could help them focus on the fewer items that make the most impact on the business, and you can help keep them on track with the company mission and goals. All while respecting what they do and what they bring to the table.

Holding Yourself Accountable

As a leader, understanding your behavior is critical to leading your team to success. And if you find yourself falling into the overcoaching trap, it is important to recognize it early on and take steps to prevent further harm to your team. Listen to your employees and take their feedback seriously. Sit down with them to develop a coaching plan, and help them reach their personal and professional goals. And if you ever find yourself slipping into past behaviors, take a step back and reassess the situation. There is a huge payoff for doing this correctly, and a lot of negative implications if overcoaching continues. With a little bit of time, effort, and practice, you can be the coach that your team needs and deserves. Good luck!