How do I run an effective one-on-one meeting?


What if you could increase the value and capacity of your direct reports in 30 minutes or less? 

It's easier than you think, if you know how to use your one-on-one meetings well.

Using your one-on-one time to coach for development is one of the most powerful ways to scale the impact of your people. Yet so often this precious time is wasted because the meetings lack purpose, structure, and connection

To help you get more from your next one-on-one, I put together a simple script that draws from the latest research on people development and positive psychology. These questions enable you to improve performance with laser coaching, strengths-spotting, feed-forward, and goal-setting. 

The end result is an inspiring half-hour meeting that guides your direct report towards continuous improvement. You provide a structure for your time that feels less like micro-management and more like rockstar leadership. 

Effective One-On-One Structure

1- Plan: 5 minutes 

  • Follow-up: What tactical items do I need to follow up on from our last meeting?

  • Strengths: What acknowledgements and appreciations can I give to activate the strengths of my direct report moving forward? 

  • Weaknesses: What future improvements can I suggest to help my direct report transform his/her weaknesses? 

  • Delegation: What can I delegate that would be helpful to my direct report’s development?

2- Listen and Coach: 10 minutes

  • Opener: “What's on your mind?”

  • Dig deeper: “What's the real challenge here for you?” 

  • Activate Effort: “What have you tried? What worked? What didn’t?"

  • Activate Strengths: “How can you use your ability to ______ (insert strength) to overcome this challenge?” 

3- Acknowledge and Improve: 10 minutes

  • Acknowledgements: “I want to acknowledge you for ________ since we last met. I appreciate how you ________. Well done!” 

  • Improvements: “Here are some areas for further improvement.” 

  • Tactical Follow-up: “I’d like to follow up on a few tactical items.” 

  • Delegation: “Since I know you want to grow in this area, I’d like to delegate something to you.”

4- Ensure Future progress: 10 minutes

  • Goal of the week: “What is the most important goal you are working on this week? What resources do you need? What’s your plan for achieving the goal?”

  • Future Obstacles: “Any perceived obstacles? If so, what solutions do you think exist?”

  • Review: “What was most useful about this check-in for you?”

Ready to take your leadership skills up a level?

Join me next Tuesday, Feb 28th, at General Assembly for a crash course in "How to Coach Your Team Like a Pro." Coaching skills are not often taught in MBA courses, but are critical for building high-performing teams in today's world. You'll walk away with essential tools you can use the very next day to get more from your people.