This article was originally published on the Forbes | Coaches Council

If you have ever taught someone how to drive a car, you may remember some key aspects of that experience. For most of us, there’s no other instruction in our everyday lives that involves so much care. And it’s hard not to care, because lives are at stake!

Yes, you want your learner to know the mechanics of how to drive, but there is so much more you want to pass on. Do you feel it is more akin to an artisan passing on a trade than instruction?

Driving lessonWith patience, you correct small mistakes as they happen to ensure bad habits do not form. With intention, you share golden nuggets of wisdom based on your experience of being on the road. For instance, how should one navigate missing an exit, irate drivers or, God forbid, an accident? You do this all the while focusing on the desired results: Your learner will be skilled enough to avoid accidents and not be at fault if an accident does occur.

Even though so much is at stake, developing a teenager into a driver you can trust seems… straightforward… because everyone is aligned on the ultimate goal.

What if we approach growing leaders with the same lens? How can we harness that patience, intention, apprenticeship and results orientation and apply it to each one of your direct reports?


One on one meetingsMentoring focuses on leadership development and requires more one-on-one time. One-on-one meetings are of utmost importance for managing young employees as well as developing them as leaders; however, leaders of flatter organizations can have upwards of 15 direct reports. Assuming each meeting lasts an hour, that’s 40% of your workweek devoted to alignment, clearing hurdles and, if time allows, development.

That’s great if this leader isn’t also expected to produce a full workload. It’s worth mentioning that this is one of the biggest hurdles facing middle managers.


An apprenticeship is like an artisan passing on a trade by demonstrating the necessary skills. With an apprenticeship, the student learns by seeing the leader in action and working together as a team. If you are struggling to be the patient, intentional boss you wish to be because there simply aren’t enough hours, we could flip the model to apprenticeship.

What would it look like if your team works together to meet department- or company-wide goals like digital transformation, employee engagement and leadership development? Could this allow the team to see their leader in action as they learn from each other? With much of the alignment and hurdle-clearing now done in a group setting, it leaves more time for focused mentorship, creating a balanced and efficient leadership development strategy.


This exploration is not a rigid prescription but an invitation to rethink leadership development with the same care, intention and results-oriented mindset we bring to teaching someone to drive. By adapting and adopting these principles, we can pave a more straightforward path toward cultivating leaders we can trust and creating a work environment that thrives on shared growth and collective success.

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