Teach, Coach, Mentor

Developing Subordinates to Succeed in our Profession

Prior to starting KD time, I dreaded becoming disconnected from Soldiers and junior leaders. I’m a people person, and genuinely enjoy being a part of someone’s development. From the outside looking in, it seemed the BN S3 and XO were constantly chained to their desk and had little to do with development. This perception could not be farther from the truth. Though regularly chained to my desk, I was amazed by the number of subordinate leaders who relied on me for a facet of their development. We often throw the phrase “teach, coach, mentor” around, but don’t take the time to unpack these leadership responsibilities and think about how we’ll fulfill the role of teacher, coach, and mentor. Here are a few thoughts through the lens of a Battalion level field grade officer.

The Science and Art of Being a Major

There are a ton of resources out there for Captains before they take command. From books to blogs, there’s an abundance of information readily available. However, there’s usually a cognitive gap between completion of ILE and your first KD job, often separated by an assignment to a Corps or Division staff. Here are some key thoughts to get you thinking about KD, broken down into two categories — Science and Art.

Your Field Grade In Brief

Each time a Major joined our Brigade, the XO and I would sit down with them to discuss success during KD time. Our Brigade Commander always said that leaders invest time in priorities, so the XO and I would invest scarce time in setting new team members up for success.. We’d talk through annual training guidance, policies, the battle rhythm, and other information we saw as essential to a good start. Of all the topics, I’d argue the most important was being a team player and good peer. The discussion would usually go something like this: