The ladder of coaching

Why it’s useful for coaches to know how to play

Jason Yip
1 min readJul 28, 2022


The Ladder of Leadership is a leadership development model created by L. David Marquet and Stephen Covey. It proposes a ladder of increasing leadership behaviour:

  1. Tell me what to do.
  2. I see..
  3. I think…
  4. I would like to…
  5. I intend to…
  6. I’ve done…
  7. I’ve been doing…

…as well as coaching questions to encourage people to move up the ladder:

  1. I’ll tell you what to do.
  2. What do you see?
  3. What do you think?
  4. What would you like to do?
  5. What do you intend?
  6. What have you done?
  7. What have you been doing?

What I’ve noticed is that the lower people are on the ladder of leadership, the more useful it is for the coach to be familiar with the specific task.

So, I wonder, if you don’t know how to play, can you only effectively coach people already further up the ladder?



Jason Yip

Senior Manager Product Engineering at Grainger. Extreme Programming, Agile, Lean guy. Ex-Spotify, ex-ThoughtWorks, ex-CruiseControl