Now I have met a lot of business leaders, a lot of executive and leadership coaches and read a whole lot of books on the subject and to be honest, even I get confused about what leadership coaching is and what is its purpose. So I want to give you my 5 truths about leadership coaching.
- Leading is a great responsibility. Some leaders are born, some are created, some are just waiting for the opportunity to lead. I believe that everyone has leadership qualities, but only few will reach a position where they lead many people. Leading people comes with great responsibility, whether you asked for it or not. You impact people’s lives directly, even when you are remote. You set the culture, the vision, the behaviours, and the goals. How you show up each day as a leader is like a small rain shower, permeating the soil, feeding the streams and the rivers, until it washes over the whole organisation. So leading is not something to be taken lightly, and leaders need support in becoming better leaders, for the sake of their followers. Coaching helps the leader fine tune their style and adjusts the white noise to focus the mind and tune into the gut. The coach helps the leader define a resonant vision and articulate it into a strategy, not just the how, but the why and the when. The Being and the doing.
- Learning new stuff is hard work and that is a simple truth. If you have ever been coached, you know that it is hard work and no-one else can do it but you, but the work is worth it. If you are to become an authentic leader, you will need to learn a lot about yourself. You will need to learn about what drives you, what angers you, what do you love and what do you despise in others. You need to learn to be in the present, and notice what is happening in your organisation now, not yesterday, or tomorrow, but right now. Many leaders are visionaries, and are always looking ahead, but unless you understand where you are right now, you can’t map the future goals. This takes courage. It is hard to take a look at the culture, behaviours, attitudes existing within you and your organisation. Some of which maybe propelling you forward, but equally maybe holding you back.
- Great leaders lead from the heart. We live in a culture where emotion is seen as a weakness and logic is seen as a strength. Emotion clouds your judgement according to western societies. However, a simple truth is that the heart and mind work in unison, and can not be separated. In fact, to enable great decision-making, great leaders learn to use all internal and external information to decide, lead and implement. We have all been there, where we have a head vs heart decision. When we go with the head, we often feel guilt, regret, humiliation or shame. We block this and suppress it as much as we can. All we do is build up a wall, or shield to protect ourselves. We may be so comfortable with our wall, that we forget it is there. unfortunately everyone else spots it, through disconnection, aloofness, sarcasm, ignorance and distance. People don’t follow inauthentic leaders willingly, they do so out of fear, which breeds more fear.
- Leadership Coaching gets results, but they are difficult to measure. One Study found three-quarters (77%) of the 30 respondents indicated that coaching had significant or very significant impact on at least one of nine business measures. Overall, productivity (60% favorable) and employee satisfaction (53%) were cited as the most significantly impacted by the coaching. From my coaching experience there is always a benefit. The coach and client work through topics where they are stuck, or feel uneasy or projects that they are putting off. The coach and client explore the reasons, and identify ways to move forward, locking in commitment and accountability. So from my viewpoint, there is always a result. However, because each client is unique, measuring return on investment is extremely challenging and that is the truth.
- Leaders need development too. Leaders and the exec need to have their performance managed too. Most organisations have some form of performance management model or mechanism in place. Managers review performance and in one way or another, recognise good performance and manage poor performance. But if you are at the top, who works with you on your performance? Every top athlete or recording artist has a coach. The coach is an essential part of the training model, looking at peak performance, subtle maladies, quirks that pop up. Together the client and the coach work to resolve and increase performance. Being an elite leader is no different. The truth is, it is a basic need of a leader to have a coach.
If you are curious, why not contact us for a free sample session, or to discuss further.