Collaborate: Ask your employees how you can best support them through coaching. By asking, you can coach them how they want to be coached to ensure they are the best versions of themselves.

The number one leadership initiative in any organization today is improved coaching. Coaching empowers employees, empowerment drives engagement, and engagement drives performance. At its core, coaching is about transformation. Leading distributed teams requires transforming how we coach and changing our play calls and playbooks to get things done. As a part of our interview series called “Moving from Command & Control to Coaching & Collaboration; How Leaders and Managers Can Become Better Coaches,” we had the pleasure to interview Rebecca Ahmed.

Rebecca Ahmed is an award-winning speaker, business consultant, and an Energy Leadership Index™ Master Practitioner, which is an exclusive training in personal energy and how we can experience, express, and expand it in ourselves and others.

Her deep real-world expertise derives from a decade plus spent as a People Services leader at some of the largest casino and resort chains worldwide, including Wynn & Encore Las Vegas, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and Caesars Entertainment.

As the Chief Energy Officer, and founder of Energetic Impact, her upcoming book Energy at Work: Reinvigorating Strategies to Transform Yourself and Your Workplace will be ready for pre-orders starting Spring 2024.

Thank you for joining us to explore a critical inflection point in how we define leadership. Our readers would like to get to know you better. What was a defining moment that shaped who you are as a leader?

I am the oldest of nine, which speaks directly to my leadership style. Being the oldest, I learned how to personalize my interactions with each sibling, speaking to their individual values and motivators. By being provided the opportunity to lead such a diverse group of siblings, I realized my talents would best be served motivating people across organizations, which lead me into a career of People Services (HR).

Early on in my career, I didn’t realize the importance of leading with my values. When you start a role at a major hospitality chain/mega resort, you’re usually provided a script. Quite quickly, I realized this completely conflicted with my value of freedom. Many loved the script structure. Which is important to note because everyone is different.

I used this lesson to shift roles and companies, which led me to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (TCOLV). The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas brought out the best version of me. The brand attracted the “curios class” and encouraged authentic conversations amongst their CoStars* and guests. The leadership team at TCOLV showed me how my value of freedom was a strength, introducing me to my leadership style. I lead from behind, as I love empowering my teams to have the freedom to explore, innovate, question, fail, succeed, and grow. When they need assistance, I am happy to provide the support and leadership they desire to energize them towards their goals.

*CoStars: Employees at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

John C. Maxwell is credited with saying, “A leader is someone who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” How do you embody that quote as a leader?

When I joined Allegiant Airlines, I knew nothing about running an airline. I knew People Services (HR), but only in a hospitality setting, being that I had worked in hotels and casinos my entire career. To ensure I could “show the way”, I first, always go to learn the way. How do I do this? I am a kinesthetic learner. Therefore, I put myself into each and every role I oversee and learn their world. By learning how each person executes their role, I can provide them with the space to lead with curiosity to ask if it’s the most efficient way to do their role, as well as ask for my guidance if desired. In doing so, I can offer the “show” when they seek support.

How do you define the differences between a leader as a manager and a leader as a coach?

A leader knows when to manage and knows when to coach. This goes back to how I lead from behind. Nelson Mandela explains this best, “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”

We started our conversation by noting that improved coaching is the number one leadership initiative in any organization today. What are some essential skills and competencies that leaders must have now to be better coaches?

Lead with curiosity! Ask questions so people can find their own answers, rather than providing them with your solution. In doing so, they select what works best for them to accomplish their goals, rather than trying to learn “your way” which may work for you, but not for them. Let people find the best version of themselves rather than trying to make everyone your own clone.

We’re all familiar with the adage, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” How are you inspiring — rather than mandating — leaders to invest in upskilling and reskilling?

This is where I lead with curiosity! I provide services in the form of speaking, coaching, and consulting, to those seeking to learn, grow, and invest in upskilling and reskilling. If a company hires me for a speech, I ask what their leaders are looking for. On stage, I also ask if anyone is seeking more individual support and share that they can reach out and let me know!

My goal is to help show leaders that their people are their greatest asset and increase their ability to recognize the role personal energy plays in keeping their people feeling happy, fulfilled, and productive. Organizations vary in how they are tapping into the benefits of personal energy, so I created the Energetic Impact Index as a way to illustrate and define an organization’s energy leadership maturity and help them advance from basic to leading edge. As organizations become more advanced at improving and leveraging employees’ personal energy to drive action and fulfill goals at work, employee engagement, retention, productivity, and overall business results can improve.

Let’s get more specific. How do you coach someone to do their best work? How can leaders coach for peak performance in our current context? What are your “Top 5 Ways That Leaders and Managers Can Be Effective Coaches?”

Top 5 Ways That Leaders & Managers Can Be Effective Coaches:

  1. Commit To Continuous Learning: Enroll in coaching classes, programs, seminars, workshops, etc. to learn and practice coaching tools so you can continuously evolve.
  2. Lead with Curiosity: Seek to learn and understand your employees’ perspectives so you become consciously aware of your bias and can mitigate bias when providing them with coaching.
  3. Manage Up vs. Manage Out: Coaching is a tool to manage your team members, not manage them out. By using the tool to support them to best accomplish their goals, you can help them discover to be the best versions of themselves.
  4. Collaborate: Ask your employees how you can best support them through coaching. By asking, you can coach them how they want to be coached to ensure they are the best versions of themselves.
  5. Celebrate! Celebrate your teams’ successes and your successes as you embark upon a continuous journey of learning. Celebrate when you fail and learn from each mistake too!

We’re leading and coaching increasingly diverse organizations. And one aspect of workforce diversity on the rise is generational diversity. What advice would you offer about how to effectively coach a multi-generational workforce? And how do you activate the collective potential of a multi-generational workforce?

ASK! Yes, there are generational differences. The biggest takeaway Gen Z keeps proclaiming is, we are all diverse and unique. Therefore, it’s important to ask each person what their personal preferences are, rather than making assumptions and judgments.

Gen Z is the latest generation of young professionals joining the workforce, and this group of tech-savvy, purpose driven, independent, entrepreneurial spirited “Zoomers” are often misunderstood. To ensure organizations are prepared for the energetic impact Gen Zers will bring to the workforce, leaders must understand their passion and purpose to be one step ahead in creating the next generation’s motivational workplace culture.

Gen Zers are motivated by their values, and respond best to requests aligned with their values. If you want to ensure Gen Z actively listens and executes an assignment, provide them with directions and ask them what their takeaways were from your directions. By soliciting feedback, you can ensure you both are aligned. Gen Z has also redefined success, and balance will continue to be at the core to ensure they live a fulfilled life in harmony with their values and energetic impact.

You’re referring to emotional intelligence, in a sense. What are two steps every leader can take to demonstrate a higher level of emotional intelligence?

  1. Slow Down: Pausing gives us the power to switch from unconscious to conscious thoughts. In doing so, you become in control of thoughts, feelings, and actions, providing you space to provide a thoughtful response versus an emotional reaction.
  2. Model Emotionally Intelligent Behavior: Own your mistakes, opportunities, and strengths. Model behaviors that are vulnerable, inclusive, equitable, so you can continuously grow with your team and build a psychologically safe environment.

Words matter. And we’re collectively creating a new leadership language right now. What are the most important words for leaders to use now?

Words that are inclusive. If you are not sure if you are being inclusive, ask! I am consistently asking, help me understand? Can you clarify? How can I have communicated that more effectively?

I keep inspiring quotes on my desk. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote,” and why does it mean so much to you?

I am on a Ted Lasso kick, and I love the quote shared by Zava, “If you put your energy into the things you truly love, the universe puts its thing back into you.”

Our readers often like to continue the conversation. What’s the best way for readers to connect with you and to stay current on what you’re discovering?

Connect with me at and reach out to me at [email protected]. From there, you can choose your social platform of choice to continue receiving content and ways to continuously engage with me.

Thank you for sharing your insights. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.