Research shows that organizations that effectively coach employees have higher levels of employee productivity, employee engagement, and financial performance. In fact all leaders can be good coaches.
One comes across people wanting to reach the top! There are successful people, there are not so successful ones! It got me thinking. Are all bosses good leaders? What is leadership? What makes a good leader? Can leadership even be taught? Are leaders born or made? If leadership style is unique to a person, where does Coaching fit in? How can coaches help bring more leaders into the world?
Let’s start with looking at some best leadership qualities – and then think about how as coaches we can help to develop those.
The Best Leaders:
HAVE A GREAT VISION : they can’t help but share this vision with others. While thinking strategically, they operate in the present, letting go of the past.
How can a coach help: Help your client identify their life vision or career vision – and more importantly really connect with it. How will they convey that vision to others? Who needs to know? What kind of goals will they set and what actions will they take to get there? What needs doing now to move them closer to their vision?
ARE VERY COURAGEOUS. They innovate and dare to be different, challenge the status quo, make unpopular decisions, take calculated risks, might tread on the road not taken. They always stand up for others.
How can a coach help: Hear him out, be a sounding board that helps your clients fully explore the challenges they face. Be a mirror to reflect successes back to them. Support your client in taking calculated risks, making difficult decisions.
HAVE IMMENSE INTEGRITY. They are open and honest to the core, but also understand the political game – and play it ethically. They deal with problems – and the elephant in the room with ease. They are reliable and stick to their words. They understand accountability and take responsibility for results – the good and bad.
How can a coach help: Help them review and strategise how they handle their failures and successes. Hold your clients accountable and challenge any blame game. Ask them who needs to be on their side for them to succeed? What needs to change?
ARE AUTHENTIC: They have strong intuition or gut instincts – and follow them. They walk their talk. They know and show who they truly are. They have a leadership style – all of their own.
How can a coach help: Self-discovery! Help your client explore who they are, what matters to them. Help them explore their values? How are your client’s values different at work and in life? Are they congruent, in other words are they living their values? Are they listening to their inner voice?
ARE RESULT ORIENTED: They are determined self-starters, result-oriented, using their initiative and not waiting to be asked or told. They FIND a way. In short, they deliver.
How can a coach help: Support the client to create goals and action plans. Track and review them regularly, changing course as necessary. Hold them accountable. Help your clients manage their time more effectively, by prioritising. Brainstorm and ask questions like, “Where could you go above and beyond?”, “What haven’t you thought of yet?”, “What needs to happen for you to get the results you want?” and “If you were to look back having achieved your goal, how did you get there?”
ARE GOOD LISTENERS . They know when to speak and when to listen, when to take action, when to lead and when to follow, when to hold on and when to let go. Keeping the bigger picture in mind they choose their battles wisely. They have great judgement.
How can a coach help: Ask questions that help your client consider various angles of a situation and think ahead. Help them make informed and reflective, not reactive, decisions. Ask them what they notice, what they heard, what is unseen but still present? Ask them to take the helicopter view. Role model level 3 listening for them.
KNOW IT IS ALWAYS A TEAM EFFORT. They understand it’s all about people and relationships and taking everyone along. They delegate, they appreciate and give credit where credit is due. They think win-win. They say “Thank-you” and “Sorry”. They are sociable & understand the value of social time. They do not suffer from “Mr Know-all Syndrome”
How can a coach help: Help them explore their strengths and weaknesses, help them identify what they love doing, and what they don’t – and delegate accordingly. Ask questions like, “What help do you need?”, “Who/what could you delegate?”, “Who needs to be appreciated and how?”, “What needs to be celebrated?” and “What needs to be done to make this situation right?” . Encourage them to network and manage upwards and sideways, as well as downwards. What can they do to team-build?
They COMMUNICATE: They don’t assume but check for understanding. They love clarity, keep everyone up-to-date and are transparent in their communications. They negotiate and handle conflicts pro-actively.
How can a coach help: Support your client in communication skills. Ask questions to clarify their understanding (so they practice being clear). Observe their language – limiting beliefs, assumptions, cognitive distortions & notice their perception. Support your client in identifying training needs in areas like conflict management, mediation, negotiation, meeting management, public speaking etc.
ARE PASSIONATE AND ENTHUSIASTIC. Their enthusiasm is infectious – and they usually have a good sense of humour.
How can a coach help: Help your clients figure out what really matters to them and why, help them create a mission statement (whether work or life) that ties up with their vision. Help them live their values. Help them see the funny side of life and situations (only with good rapport). Ask questions like, “How does this fit with your mission and vision?”, “What gets you fired up?”, “What would it take for you to get really excited about this?”CHelp your clients to celebrate their successes.
VALUE THEMSELVES. They don’t wait to reach certain goals before they esteem themselves, they accept they are imperfect and value themselves now, even as they learn and grow. They are open to feedback and suggestions . They are confident – and humble.
How you can help: Help your client face the hard truths – and grow from them. What do others think of them? Consider a 360 Feedback process. Help them understand what life balance and self-care means for them, create time for self-reflection. Challenge their inner critic.