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Coaching to Develop Security Talent

Adopting a coaching mindset in most circumstances adds significant benefits to any security leader and even more importantly helps build successful security teams. These benefits include improved engagement, motivation and team morale. It delivers greater accountability and communication. Security projects and tasks can be performed faster freeing up the valuable time leaders require to operate at the correct strategic level.

It is the most effective when an employee has the skills and ability to complete the task at hand, but for some reason is struggling with the confidence, focus, motivation, drive, or bandwidth to be at their best, coaching can help.

I use the below process in my coaching sessions with great success. I steer the conversation towards the distinctive phases shown below and look for the meaning behind responses provided. In reality, a coach is there to guide you toward your own solutions, and hold you accountable for taking action.

The most important way to achieve this is by asking your coachee the right questions. These great questions may force someone to look at their situation from another perspective, thereby encouraging the breakthrough they need to succeed.

Here is a list of effective questions I use at each stage of the coaching process:


  • What will be useful for us to talk about today?
  • How long have you been thinking of this?
  • What is most important to you about this?
  • On a scale of 1 - 10 how important is this to you?
  • Do you notice any patterns?


  • If you had this the way you wanted what would that be?
  • What do you really want here?
  • What is your definition of success?
  • How will you know you have what you want?
  • Can you start and maintain this?
  • Are you in control of the outcome?


  • What stops you from achieving this?
  • How can you do it anyway?
  • What do you believe is currently stopping you?
  • Is it possible to do it?
  • Is it right for you to do it?
  • Where are you either too flexible or too uncompromising about this issues?
  • Is there anything else stopping you?


  • What will help you achieve this?
  • What resources do you need?
  • What resources do you already have?
  • Are there any similar situation you have resolved in the past?
  • At your best, what would you do right now?


  • What will you do about this?
  • What practical actions you can take right now?
  • What will your first step be?
  • When will you start?
  • How will you like to let me know you have achieved these actions?