As a leader, you are required to clearly set expectations and standards for your team and each individual employee.
We continue to see that this is an area within organisations that is not as effectively applied as it should be.

In our short video you will learn why setting expectations is more important than ever to ensure that your team members are not only aware of but understand what is required and expected of them in their role. We have observed some organisations and leaders who hold their employees to account unfairly, sometimes for things that have not been established clearly or understood in the first place.


It is never too late to review where this aspect of leadership sits with you and your team. Maybe it is time to revisit your team’s roles and make sure their is clarity, certainty and context…the risk is minor and the potential returns are significant.
One of our recent blogs on this topic struck a nerve with many of my clients and readers and I felt it necessary to follow it up with additional content: Leadership: Setting Standards and Expectations.

Often leaders are wary of providing their own view as it is seen as subjective. Don’t be frightened to seek and provide this detail. Particularly when respect and trust exist, a simple acknowledgement or recognition of progress can be the difference between an engaged and disengaged employee.

The CoachStation REOWM Model of Leadership and Accountability provides additional context and opportunity to embed a structure that supports and encourages input from your team. Feel free to use the model, share it with your team and let me know how you go. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop us a line as we are always willing to assist you and your organisation.

One of the biggest challenges for managers who are learning to lead is developing the ability to set expectations and standards and then hold people accountable to these expectations.

Understanding the benefits and why to apply a model such as the one highlighted in this blog is relatively simple, however application, consistency and follow-through can be a challenge for many.

Many years ago I was introduced to a model titled SOI assisting to set expectations and assess performance. The model title is an acronym which stands for Standards – Observations – Impact and has been a simple, yet vital tool in my development and that of others in my coaching and leadership development roles.

The SOI model has become inherently part of how I think and work with others. Through practice and application it has become an unconscious process focused on ensuring people are clear on what is required; measurement against those objectives; and discussions as to why they are important.

Throughout this time and as my exposure and experience increased, I recognised that there were a couple of elements missing in the model that when added, make it clearer and more relevant.

In essence the 5 stages of the model create a structured process for leading and coaching your team members, focused mostly on clarity, context and accountability. As with most concepts or models such as this, they are not pure in that sometimes there is a need to move from step 4 back to 2 for instance. Following the basic principle and order, whilst remaining flexible to return to previous elements is important. Most relevant is the fact that there are no ‘rights and wrongs’ in application, rather discovering a way to make the tool work best for you and your team. A rigid and linear mindset and application of models such as this rarely adds the value it should if too literally applied. Click on the image below to open a full version that can re easily read and/or printed.

CoachStation: REOWM Coaching, Leadership and Accountability Model

Click on the image above to open a printable PDF version of the REOWM Model


To fully understand the model and its application it is also important to delve into the 5 elements:

Relationships: I often refer to this as ‘earning the right’ to have any conversation. Regular, informal and formal discussions are incredibly important to developing trust, understanding and depth in any relationship. This is as relevant outside of the workplace as within it. Deliberately taking the opportunity to get to know other people creates the extended opportunity to understand their beliefs, interests, passions, goals etc. Ultimately you need to get to a point where the diversity and differences that exist between people is understood well enough to know how to hold the various, specific conversations required as a leader. This is different for each of your team members. Listening, asking relevant questions and knowing how and why this is different between people will lead to deeper relationships and a greater likelihood of trusted, contextual conversations. That is why relationships are the key to leadership and this tool. Put another way, without strong relationships its is very difficult to apply a model such as this with any meaning or depth.

Expectations: the original model title for this element is ‘standards’. I have changed it as sometimes this word has confused people I work with. It can be identified with standardisation of processes and compliance requirements such as ISO standards – in reality it represents so much more than that. Expectations and standards can and do take many forms. They can be personal expectations from the leader; cultural factors or norms; team-based; KPI’s and many other forms. The most critical part of this point is that it is not enough to simply deliver the expectation(s). A productive and interested leader will ensure that the expectation is understood. On occasion I have requested of a leader to check in with a member of their team regarding what they consider are the top 5-6 things they are most responsible for in their role. Every time there is a discrepancy between what the leader thinks they have delivered as an expectation and what the employee relays back. It is not enough to tell, you must also ask, confirm and regularly check in.

Observations: in essence, this is an assessment of how your employee is going in meeting the expectations previously delivered and understood. It is a progressive discussion and should form a core part of the 1:1 and coaching sessions you regularly conduct. The biggest mistake I see leaders make within this point is that they tell or give feedback in the early stages of the discussion. Feedback and your own observations are important, but so is a self-assessment from your team member, generally sought before your thoughts are given. By asking first you are setting a standard that states that your team members are expected to know how they are progressing and how these changes have occurred. Ownership and accountability shifts with this type of discussion. It also provides an opportunity to understand others perspective; remove assumptions; clarify understanding; and create ownership of development. All of this deepens the relationship and levels of trust when applied with meaning.

Why/Impact: generally the most commonly missed element. Ensuring that clarity exists as to why this expectation is being discussed in the first place is important. It could be that it benefits the employee and their goals; the team; peers; bottom line; contribute to KPI’s; or any other reason for it being key to the discussion at that point. If the why or impact cannot be discerned then it is worthwhile challenging the benefit or focus of that expectation in the first place.

Measurement: along with relationships, this is the other element I have added to the model. Being able to measure progress from a starting point, through improvement, to an end state provides many benefits. The psychological gains in seeing growth or improvement for both the employee and yourself are important. Understanding when things are maybe not progressing as solidly or quickly as planned; helping to see the efforts as an investment rather than a cost; feeling the worth of this effort and the desire to keep trying; learning from mistakes and successes; and celebrating milestones along the journey are all assisted through an effective measurement process. Importantly, this can be qualitative or quantitative. Some of the most powerful measurement processes relate to feedback from other team members; peers; and yourself based on observation.

Often leaders are wary of providing their own view as it is seen as subjective. Don’t be frightened to seek and provide this detail as (particularly when respect and trust exist) a simple acknowledgement or recognition of progress can be the difference between an engaged and disengaged employee.

The opportunity to provide greater context and clarity for people is one that I regularly see could be improved in most organisations. Depth and substance in coaching and 1:1 sessions is critical and a tool such as this can make a real and sustained difference when applied. Each step is important and has its own need. Practice the art and science of effective leadership by using tools such as this. When you consider the option, there is little to lose in trying and much to gain.

Feel free to use this model to the advantage of your team, organisation and self. By clicking on the image above it will open a PDF version that can be printed or shared as you see fit.

Let me know how you go as I am always interested to learn how others gain benefit from information and tools such as this. Additionally. don’t hesitate to contact us if you feel that CoachStation would assist you, your team and organisation.

One of the biggest challenges for any manager or leader is the relationship they have with their team members.

We often read about the need for leaders to be open, self-aware, honest and possess similar traits.

But what about the employee? What is their responsibility?

Managing people and teams is challenging, there is no doubt. Understanding why people do what they do and behave in certain ways can reduce the challenge and assist in managing situations as they arise.
The responsibility to influence outputs amongst different roles may vary, however the level of responsibility and commitment required from a manager or employee remains the same. It is the context of the role and associated tasks that differ, not the degree of ownership that is required. I remain certain that this is not how accountability and ownership is presented and reinforced in most organisations. I sometimes see employees manipulating, displaying passive-aggressive behaviours and generally playing games to get what they want or influence their peers.
CoachStation: Leadership Development, Coaching, Consulting and Mentoring
Passive-aggressive behaviour is the indirect expression of hostility, such as through procrastination, stubbornness, sullen behaviour, or deliberate or repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible.(1) This is not always the employees ‘fault’. As organisations and leaders we are required to clearly establish the standards, expectations, culture and support to give the best opportunity for success of the individual and business.
When coaching and consulting, I encourage my clients to first look at themselves and the world they have created to see if that is in fact, the reason why an employee is ‘misbehaving’. The risk is that we hold others accountable for things that were not clearly established or understood in the first place. In my experience, very few people wake up in the morning with the attitude that they intend to ruin everyone’s day.
As leaders we need to be able to comfortably acknowledge that we have created the best chance to get the best out of every employee. Looking at ourselves first is important, however ultimately these behaviours are a choice and often reflect character flaws and sometimes other, larger issues.

Who is managing who? Remember, a manager is an employee too – we are all part of a team. These behaviours are not restricted to entry-level employees only!

A recent Forbes article highlights ways to manage these situations through your own awareness and development. I learned how to “control the controllable” and not get side-tracked by other people’s agendas that could have thrown my career off-course. Instead, I disciplined myself to invest in my own development and associated myself with people that I could trust and build momentum around. You must have wide-angle vision in today’s new workplace to avoid the traps that may hinder your path towards career success…you may not be able to always avoid them, but you can always learn to navigate through them along your journey.(2)

I am certain that most of you reading this can associate with and have observed people behaving in these ways. Understanding why people are making these choices can help you to know how to manage through the challenge. Some of the behaviours and related triggers in my experience are:

  1. Fear: the fear of the unknown; risk of losing a job; risk of not being given a pay-rise or bonus; pride and many similar triggers for fear drive the behaviours of us all, not just your team members. Taking the time to understand what people are feeling and why offers the opportunity to reduce or allay their fears. It might seem a simple approach and even obvious, yet what we know is not always what we do!
  2. Resistance to change: managing the beliefs and reasons why change remains predominantly a negative aspect of business is a core leadership task. Apart form the strong link to point 4 below (clarity and context), it is also often about finding a trigger for individuals and teams that helps them to see the reasons why the change is of benefit.
  3. Just plain nasty: although it is rare, some people are quite simply not wired correctly and inherently create and look for trouble. Sometimes this is sociopathic behaviour and no matter what you do, little will change. Don’t allow yourself to overstate how common this type of person and behaviour is, however, as it can be one way that people let themselves off the hook by attributing their own flaws or blaming others for their own failures.
  4. Lack of clarity and context: providing background information and helping your team members understand how what they do contributes to something bigger really does matter.
  5. Mental health issues: genuine issues can exist that require external counselling and support. As a leader your role is to understand people and recommend assistance elsewhere if it is required. Having a good Employee Assistance Program is a great benefit and has helped many people.
  6. Earn the right: in all relationships, both in and out of work, the effort and desire must exist to truly get to know people. Along with trust, empathy and other attributes detailed in this blog and my other writing, you must ‘earn the right’ to have whatever conversation is required. This cannot be achieved by meeting with someone once every 3 months, for example!

The responsibility to own development sits with each of us individually. Hopefully you work for a leader and organisation who genuinely supports your development goals and sees the obvious benefits of investing in you and how that assists everyone involved. If not, this should not stop you from taking your own steps towards developing yourself, both personally and professionally.
Looking at this another way, if you don’t take the initiative to develop yourself, who do you expect will?
Let me know your thoughts.


To genuinely succeed in business, leaders must know their role, continuously develop their skills and be constantly supported to achieve the best they can as a leader and employee.

Finding your own development pathway takes ownership, effort and clarity. However, it is not something you need to do on your own. Whether it is developing yourself or your team, coaching and mentoring can be a powerful tool to enable change and growth, both personally and professionally. When it comes to leadership development, however, one of the keys to success is to start developing deliberately and early.

It is problematic to concern yourself with focusing on developing leadership skills after they are needed.

Setting up leaders to thrive through a development program both prior to and during their tenure is key to the success of your leadership team and business. Training in itself is one source of development, however this learning must be supported and reinforced in practice based on individual situations, needs, understanding and capability. Ongoing support ‘makes the learning real’ within the work environment, reinforcing the content and context provided during training.

CoachStation: Coaching and Mentoring Pathway

Image by Nick Scheerbart, Unsplash

As referenced on my CoachStation website, there are many reasons why organisations and people seek coaching and mentoring solutions, with a variety of benefits and outcomes accessed depending on individual needs.

Coaching and mentoring are increasingly sought after tools, accessed by business leaders and organisations eager to dedicate development time and resources at an individual level. Organisations are finding that this form of development is both good for business and employees.


Benefit and improvement is seen in areas such as: improved work performance; better client and customer service; increased confidence; effective leadership; enhanced relationships; more robust succession planning and increased goal achievement. Additionally, personal development improves self-esteem, self-awareness and other attributes which provides a stronger platform for you to succeed at work and at home.

When I am coaching and mentoring, the coachee and I work together on both a professional and personal level. It is virtually impossible to delineate between the ‘home’ and ‘work’ person, with situations, personalities, values and other traits being a consistent influence on coaching success. The benefits and rewards are often significant, however being coached and mentored takes effort and accountability. I recently read an excellent blog by Joanna Maynard which highlights the importance of ownership and accountability in self-development:

I like Ben Franklin’s idea about not giving others advice: “Wise men don’t need advice. Fools won’t take it.” I think this highlights a cornerstone of coaching. Unlike consulting, where the consultant is an expert who gathers information and then gives advice, the coach is more of a facilitator. A large part of a coach’s role is to draw out wisdom already inside the client so that the client may discover solutions for themselves.

I often hear people talk about what to consider when shopping for a coach. They may want a coach who has worked in their industry, or in a similar role to theirs, or at their level of management. I don’t think these should be the only—or even the top—criteria.

In fact, one of the most important factors in whether a coaching experience is successful centers on a quality that must be present not in the coach but in the client. Some call it coachability: the client’s willingness to discover their own wisdom and, once found, to act on it.

Effective coaches employ strong skills to facilitate client-discovered wisdom. Coaches help clients focus on their most important area of concern, define what they want, and determine what that looks like. Coaches ask questions that aid the client’s own discovery—questions that expand the client’s perspective and inspire them to take risks. To accomplish this, effective coaches create a safe, trusting environment in which their clients can do this important work. But the client also has a major role in creating this environment. They need to be coachable. Here are just a few ways you can enhance your own coach-ability:

  • Be willing to think and act differently in the future, even if your current ways of doing things have resulted in success.
  • Don’t hesitate to break free from old habits.
  • Take the time, and make the effort, to clarify your values and the parts of yourself you would like to develop.

Trust yourself enough to take action—sometimes bold action—as a result of your newly discovered knowledge. Since being coachable means being willing to be vulnerable, it must be noted that coaching is not the same as therapy. A coach is not going to ask a client to delve deeply into their past personal life. There is a real possibility that this concern stops some people from hiring a coach or using one fully.

Also noteworthy: in coaching, the client not the coach drives the agenda. This means the client doesn’t have to talk about anything they don’t want to talk about. They must, however, be coachable—willing to explore, discover their own wisdom, think differently, and stretch themselves. If they do this, most of the time the reward will far outweigh the effort.

So when interviewing a coach, think less about the coach’s track record and more about whether you want to take this person with you on your journey of growth and discovery.You might be thinking I’m not planning to hire a coach anytime soon—how does this apply to me? Allow me to challenge your question with a few questions of my own:

  1. In terms of your own growth, are you actively creating an effective learning environment?
  2. Are you open to expanding your thinking, clarifying your values, and taking bold action?
  3. If you answered no, what are you going to do about it? (1)

There is a genuine need for the person being coached and mentored to take ownership of their own development. Interestingly, this can sometimes be a bit of a surprise to some coachees. There is no ‘silver bullet’ or fast-tracking, but the benefits can be very worthwhile when accountability and effort become part of the coaching and mentoring process.

There are a few discernible differences between coaching and mentoring, however the core development and outcomes remain consistent. In coaching it is primarily about understanding the coachees situation and then facilitating and guiding to discover potential actions and goals, mostly derived from the coachee. When mentoring, it is often about the mentor providing advice and using their own experiences to help the person being mentored. Slightly different skills and inputs, yet in both cases the focus is on the future aspirations, goals and actions of the person being assisted. In my experience, the most successful coaching and mentoring environments are created when a person:

  • is committed to the program
  • is willing and able to develop trust between the coach/mentor and themselves
  • is committed and works on the content in practice between sessions
  • has a leader who actively supports them in their development
  • recognises that there are no short-cuts
  • understands that coaching and mentoring are just part of the story or journey.

One of the additional paybacks is that as a participant, your own coaching and mentoring skills develop along the way. This improved skillset provides an excellent resource for you to help others in a similar way, whether they are your direct reports, peers or others within or external to the organisation. When applied well, coaching and mentoring can:

  1. Inspire shared learning: Leadership can be lonely. Leaders often feel isolated, unable or unwilling to share information with team members and they feel as though they need to have all the answers, which can be quite stressful.
  2. Encourage people to understand themselves: The CoachStation Coaching model works through the coachees situation, identifying development areas and opportunities for growth and improvement. We use many different tools and resources, all designed as triggers for self-awareness, discussion-points and clarity – targeted and individualised programs focus on the ‘right’ area that will provide the most benefit.
  3. Inspire and enable honesty: In the workplace, employees are often allowed to avoid confrontation. They sidestep challenges, procrastinate and sometimes actively or passively refuse to address things that matter the most – few people like confrontation, but when avoided, problems continue to build.
  4. Support change: During inductions, for newly promoted staff and other business needs, change can be supported through coaching and mentoring – the commitment to develop each persons skills and competencies.
  5. Create opportunity for self-development: Leading to confidence and strength in developing others, a critical step in a leaders development.

When I am coaching the focus of the program is quite often leadership development, however each client has their own unique situation, personality, challenges and other elements to be considered in the process. Experience has shown me that through a structured coaching and mentoring program you will see and feel a difference…and so will those around you.

It is a great time to consider whether you or one of your team would benefit from participation in our coaching and mentoring program. 

I am more than happy to be contacted if you wish to discuss how I can assist you, your organisation or members of your team. In the meantime, reflecting on your own development opportunities and accountability is a great place to start. After all, self-development can only happen because you care enough to take the first (or next) steps.



People get hired or promoted into leadership roles every day.

Sadly, when they get the job they may get little or no training on how to lead a team. (1)

The opportunity to develop our future leaders before placing them into leadership roles is an obvious one. Building employee skills, capability and awareness to be ready for leadership is ideal, yet is rarely applied well in practice.
The first blog I wrote many years ago was titled, Falling Into Leadership. It highlighted the common practice of people being ‘thrust into’ leadership roles without development and support both prior to and during the opportunity. I have written about this topic again since as it is something that continues to challenge many organisations.
CoachStation: Setting Leaders Up For Success
In fact, the low frequency of leadership support and meaningful development was a core reason why I created my business, CoachStation, in the first place. Too often I saw people being held accountable for our own failures to set them up for leadership success and support our team members to achieve.

Based on recent coaching conversations and discussions with clients, it would appear little has changed regarding leadership development in the years since. 

It is timely to revisit the message and challenge ourselves as business leaders to ensure we provide the most promising base for our leaders and managers to succeed.
In practice few businesses truly succeed at maximising the opportunity for their new leaders, not to mention the existing leadership team. To genuinely succeed in business, leaders must know their role, continuously develop their skills and be constantly supported to achieve the best they can as a leader, based on each individual. It is worth taking a moment to consider where your organisation succeeds or fails in this area. Take stock and make adjustment where required. (2)
Being a genuine leader does not come from the role and title designated to you but rather from your decision-making, inclusiveness, delegation skills, ability to communicate and other, well-recognised and documented traits. Many of these leadership traits can be learned and enhanced through proper coaching and development, however it takes focus and effort.

Because no one tells them (leaders) how to lead, how to communicate with their team members or how to inspire people, they are left with the mistaken idea that their principal job is to get the highest level of output from their team mates — and that’s all! (1)

That is only part of the story. Maybe you can relate to the following scenario I originally presented in 2012.

You started in a company at a lower level. Opportunity presented itself in the form of a chance to step-up temporarily into a role providing more money, esteem, credibility or some other perceived benefit. You jumped at it! Of course, along with all of the benefits the role also came much higher expectation…that of others and yourself.
You worked hard. Things went fairly well but you didn’t really feel supported to truly excel. You wanted to be the best operator so didn’t ask many questions  – after all, asking questions shows that you were not ready for the promotion in the first place, doesn’t it? “Better to bite your tongue and work your way through the issues on your own” is a common thought and action at this stage.
Your boss didn’t spend much time developing you or even working with you day to day. You were mostly left to yourself. In discussions, your boss commented that you were trusted and you should be able to do what’s required without the need to be ‘micro-managed’. This response rarely felt appropriate and in fact is a serious form of avoidance and reflects poorly on your boss but you wondered, what you could do to influence the situation? In some ways this autonomy had its benefits, but also plenty of downside. You were often stressed, tried to please everyone and in so doing often pleased few people, including yourself.

Longer hours and pressure meant that you regularly wanted something different but didn’t know how to achieve it or even what that difference looked or felt like.

However, after a while further opportunity presented itself. Another step onwards and upwards. You reflected on why you were being considered as you had not felt you were particularly effective in your current role, but people seemed to like you and you occasionally received some good feedback, however insincere it may have felt. You knew in your heart that you were not ready for more responsibility…more pressure…and you wondered, “can I fake it until I make it at an even higher level of management?” After all, your annual review (which is one of the few formal meetings you had with your boss) went fairly well, even though it lacked real depth and was a relatively ‘safe’ discussion with little meaning or opportunity for improvement.
So, you took on the new role because it was expected of you, or it offered greater prestige, salary or some other perceived or real benefit. You did not want to let others down and certainly the benefits outweighed the negatives…you’re leading people!
You are now responsible for your team, a process and regular input into projects and other ad-hoc work requiring your expertise, skills and knowledge. You were not only accountable for yourself but leading, developing, coaching and inspiring others. You often asked yourself whether you were ready to lead. If not, the impact would be felt by many.

Effective leadership can have a significant benefit on a team or business culture, personnel satisfaction, attrition, sickness levels and the bottom line. Ineffective leadership has exactly the opposite impact. Now, how does that pressure feel for you?

Reflecting on the scenario above, does it sound familiar? In my experience and working with many new and experienced leaders, this is a very common journey felt by many. Most of these people felt they had few opportunities to influence their situation, develop appropriate skills and feel supported during their journey.
Progress and genuine development will only succeed if you are willing to take some risks, source someone to assist you (a coach, mentor, role-model or some other trusted person) and challenge your own beliefs, perceptions and perspectives.

Leadership development is a joint responsibility – yours and your organisations. Too many leaders wait for others to provide them with the answers…and end up waiting a long time. 

Accountability and ownership are extremely important traits in your development.

The ability to take yourself out of your comfort zone often enough to test yourself and learn, is key. Knowing when to step back into your comfort zone is also a skill linked to self-awareness and emotional intelligence. These are skills and traits that can be learned.

Employees typically don’t fail. They are failed by their leaders.

No matter what level of the organisation people are employed at, the benefits in setting up all of your employees for success are too many to list here. The opposite is also true, with the risk of not getting it right negatively impacting your organisation for years. Very few companies are actually training people. They are expected to come equipped ready to work.  The mindset is “what are you bringing to the table”? However, it’s important to set the employee up for success on the front end with:

  • A solid job description and clear expectations
  • Training and development opportunities
  • A path to grow and develop with the organization. (3)

There is no doubt that the most effective and respected leaders in any role or organisation are those who recognise that they are not in their role because they have all the answers. They are honest in their own self-assessment and seek the same of others. They are successful because they understand their own strengths and limitations, possessing the self-awareness and desire to surround themselves with a team who have supporting strengths and skill-sets that contribute to the effectiveness of the team.
Effective leaders are accountable to themselves and take on the responsibilities for their role, inputs and outcomes willingly and with purpose. This is not a one way street. Organisations must support their current and future leaders and continue to provide relevant and genuine development and growth opportunities.

To succeed as a leader, significant support is required.
Success starts before the opportunity to lead begins…or at least, it should.

Effective leadership manifests itself through many positive influences. It is our responsibility to make this good intention a reality.
Conversely, when we expect people to automatically become the leaders we want without our support and development, the risk is that we get what we deserve.

(1) Six Things Real Leaders Don’t Do (Like Boss People Around)
(2) CoachStation: Invest In Setting Up Your Leaders to Succeed
(3) 3 Things Great Leaders Do To Set People Up For Success

Related Articles:

Falling Into Leadership

Set New Leaders Up For Success

Three Ways to Set Up New Leaders for Success