Recently, Petra Coach presented a webinar, “The Ten Commandments of (Mind-Blowing) 1-on-1 Coaching” with JT Terrell.

If you’re a business leader, this information is crucial to sharpening your skills and growing as a leader and team member.

You can find the full recording here.

The below Illustrated Model is from The Vivid Ink Company. Kristin McLane and her team transform the spoken word into lasting and actionable works of art. Check them out on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or their website.

Top Takeaways

Great leaders help the people they’re leading get better. But first you’ve got to recognize what “better” means – be as specific as you can – work with your folks individually to make sure they get better over time.

Book Recommendations:

“Don’t tell people what to do, tell them who they are.” -Bob Goff

People don’t like to be managed, but they love to be coached.


1. Thou Shalt Meet People Where They Are

As a leader, you should let people know you are actively working to get better in your role, and you would like them to do the same.

Some people are ready for feedback and some people are not. Not everyone is comfortable with “ripping off the band aid.”


2. Thou Shalt Not Be a Jerk While Giving Feedback

If you can’t give people feedback without being a jerk, you don’t deserve to do it.

Give well-thought-out, constructive, direct feedback without demeaning people.

“Honesty without tact is cruelty.”

There’s no need for “brutal honesty,” just honesty.


3. Thou Shalt Listen More than You Speak

Become a patient listener.

Sample conversation to hear someone out:

  1. What’s on your mind?
  2. What’s the real issue? (and then be quiet)
  3. What else? (use this as many times as you want)
  4. What do you want to happen?
  5. How can I help?
  6. How useful was this for you? Is there anything I can do to make it better?

Oftentimes we start talking and giving advice before the person even finishes conveying the problem. The real issue is very often deeper than the first thing they said, so lead them through those questions.


4. Thou Shalt be Generous

Don’t act like 1-on-1s with your direct supports are some pain that you don’t want to do. Your team relishes the opportunity to have these conversations with you as a leader, so honor them and do not blow them off for any reason.

A great way to do this is scheduling Two Week Top Task Review Meetings between leaders and their support teams.

Schedule the appropriate amount of time so that you are not rushed and will be able to meet and devote all of your attention.

You can also reclaim your own time through this by having people hold their needs and questions until their top task meetings (if they can wait.)


5. Thou Shalt Give Feedback Regularly

If the only time your people here from you is when they screw something up, no wonder they hide things from you and become defensive.

“You cannot make withdrawals before you make deposits” -Dolly Parton – Give praise and feedback.

It’s beneficial to ask permission to give feedback before you give it.

Ask them to have a Start, Stop, Keep meeting – They will know they will be getting feedback and leave with an action plan.

Start – Tell them what you would like them to start doing

Stop – Tell them what you would like them to stop doing

Keep – Tell them something they are doing well that they should keep doing


6. Thou Shalt be Legitimately Interested in the Person You’re Coaching’s Life

Know and care about personal things about the person you are coaching.

Oftentimes a boss is one of the only sources of leadership in their adult life.

Use this method to collect that info:

F. O. R. D.





Example: John Ratliff with Appletree’s Dream Board


7. Thou Shalt Be Vulnerable with the People You are Leading

Vulnerability is the currency of trust.

“Trust is choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to someone else.” -Brené Brown

If there is a team member you do not have trust with, talk to them about it. Someone has to trust first and you are the leader. Remember, it’s not me vs. you, it’s us vs. the problem


8. Thou Shalt Not Give Advice

If you don’t have any advice to give, then don’t.

Don’t make something up – just let them know that you don’t know what the best thing for them to do is and help them find the answer instead.

Instead of advice, experience share. If you have been through something similar, you can share what you did and how it turned out without telling them what they should do.


9. Thou Shalt be Worthy of Trust

Keep that 1-on-1 conversation confidential – it’s a lost art.

You want people to be able to come to you with personal items.


10. Thou Shalt Inspire the Person Being Coached

This is the #1 job of a leader every day.

This doesn’t mean you don’t have to be everybody’s best friend (ex. Steve Jobs).

When you’re in peacetime, it’s easier to be amicable and seek consensus. During wartime, sometimes you just need to act. If you’ve been doing these 10 things though, when you slip into wartime mode, even if you make an unpopular decision, your team has a lot more trust and favor for you.


If everyone in your organization gets 2% better as a result of you doing some of these things, that’s a lot of productivity on the table.

The definition of legendary is that you and these traits are something people talk about and tell stories about after the fact.



Q: Are these relevant for tiny companies?

Yes. These are relevant for partners – just you and one other person.


Q: What frequency should you have 1-on-1 meetings?

2 weeks is what we use at Petra. 3 weeks is also ok. Weekly is also ok if you really feel it’s necessary. A month is too long.


Q: How can you convince leaders the value of these 1-on-1 meetings?

Tell them about the webinar you just watched. Talk to them about the time they can reclaim by allotting time for these meetings.


Like what you see? Register for our upcoming webinars today!