Quick Coaching Tools: Delegation and Follow Up

Good delegation and follow up saves the leader time, develops direct reports, ensures work is executed on time to a standard and motivates everyone involved.

delegation & follow up

Delegation and Follow Up is one of my Quick Coaching Tools. They are exactly what the title suggests. Short snippets of coaching tips, tools and ideas for you to use on a just-in-time basis. Use them as an update and to refresh your coaching practice and professionalism. Because of this you could call it ‘coaching in a hurry’!

What & Why

As a Leadership Coach you above all work with your direct reports to energise them so they want to achieve. It is about moving others to action. Therefore, within the context of agreed business goals, there are tasks you will delegate to your direct reports. These could be relatively small tasks through to major projects. Good delegation saves the leader time, develops direct reports, ensures work is executed on time to a standard and above all motivates all involved – including the direct reports, leader and stakeholders/customers. Here are two easy acronyms for Delegation and Follow Up.

How: DISC Delegation

First of all, here are some practical principles you can follow for effective delegation:

  • Define. Define in your own mind the task to be delegated. Confirm line of sight to your business goals. What needs to be accomplished? What does good / excellent look like? Confirm why it should be delegated.
  • Identify. Identify who has optimum skill/will. Or, identify who has the development need. Either: Why them? Or: What development / resources are needed? What’s in it for them (WIIFM)?
  • Smart. Use SMART Delegation Discussion Planner (see Further Reading below). Check alignment to team and individual goals. Plan for applying a coaching approach (GROW/ask/listen)
  • Coach. Adopt a coaching approach – balance ‘ask’ & ‘tell’. Understanding, acceptance & agreement to proceed. Schedule first progress review.

How: POP-ART Follow Up

Finally, here are some practical principles you can follow for effective follow up progress review:

  • Person. Focus first on the person and their experience with the task, versus asking about the task itself – that will follow (guaranteed!!).
  • Options. Ask them about all the options they created and considered, and consequently how they came to choose the selected course of action.
  • Process. Ask them to describe the process they went through, prompting as necessary. Listen for evidence of their leadership role: how they engaged with and worked through others; the thoroughness of the process, the robustness of information gathering, the strength of analysis and decision making; indications of quality assurance being built into the process; likewise their confidence level on the outcomes and way forward (x/10).
  • Activity. Ask about who did what. Listen for the style of language used. For example, ‘we’ did XYZ is perfectly OK if it indicates a team effort on the task. ‘I’ did XYZ is perfectly OK if it is about their leadership role, but not so good if they did the task by themselves. Similarly, use questions to discover their contribution – what are they particularly proud of. Then ask yourself, is it about task or leadership?
  • Responsibility. Ask short pointed questions to discover how responsible and engaged they feel with the delegated task and actions. Examples: ‘What particularly interests you about XYZ?’; ‘How do you see your involvement in XYZ going forward?’; ‘What have been the most challenging parts of this for you?’; ‘Which members of your team have made the biggest/best contribution on this?’ Listen for language that indicates creativity, ownership, commitment to the future, etc.
  • Timeframe. Ask about next steps: what, when and who. When is the next milestone and therefore the next review opportunity? What are the barriers and the reasons for them. Are we on time, ahead of time or behind? What are the contingencies?


Coaches Toolkit – look for Templates > Delegation Discussion Planner. You will need to be a subscriber to access this section of the Blog. Within the document you will find three useful tools: 1) SMART Delegation Discussion Planner; 2) Levels of Authority; 3) Progress Review Planner (for follow up).

BusinessBalls – a ‘how to’ delegation article with a nine step process for successful delegation. Furthermore, this article contains 10 great examples of Levels of Authority.

Author: Trevor Sherman

Trevor Sherman: Author, Blogger and Coach. What do I do? I develop leadership training material and personal learning modules. I am the owner and operator of this Blog. I coach senior executives for their development and role transition. I am based in Northamptonshire UK and operate globally - in person and through technology.

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.