The Role of Coaching in Leadership
As a busy leader, do you ever wonder “What’s with all this fuss about coaching these days? What ever happened to the days when you just told people what to do and they did it?”
That’s what a person said to me a number of months ago in a workshop.
The norm today is that businesses are being asked to provide more value for less investment and leaders are being asked to accomplish more in less time.
With all this pressure many leaders are inclined to just put their head down and work harder for more hours each day. Who has the time to coach their employees when there is so little time to spare?
So, why is it important to make room for coaching employees in today’s world?
I have been coaching an experienced manager over the past months. He has held leadership positions in departments with hundreds of employees. Early on in our coaching relationship, we were having a conversation about his tool kit as a manager. Though this seasoned manager had “taken” a myriad of leadership courses, he had no specific development on coaching skills.
This gap left my client in a position of managing his employees.
In today’s workplace, most employees want to know what’s expected of them, be valued, create value, receive feedback on their performance, learn and grow. Employees today are too well informed to expect less than that!
The majority of these outcomes cannot be influenced from the manager’s role.
Coaching gives a leader the capacity to connect with their employees. It allows the leader to know who their people are, what’s important to them and how to support the employee to be at their best.
In a coaching conversation, a coach is a thinking partner, focused on their coachee’s agenda. When a leader is in coach mode, their focus in on the growth, development and success of the person they are coaching. What a gift this is!
Think about the people who have influenced you the most in your life. Even though they may have diverse styles, it’s likely they had your best interests at heart. Through their questions, listening and at times, suggestions, they impacted you more than people who just told you what to do.
So, why invest time in learning and applying coaching in your organization?
- You’ll make a real difference to people’s lives
- You’ll give them what they want
- You’ll bring out the best in people
- You’ll access the discretionary effort every person holds until they know they are genuinely valued
- You’ll put your organization’s most valuable resource, people, to work at it’s highest level
- You’ll nurture independent thinking
- You’ll invest in people’s capacity to collaborate in teams
- You’ll free up time for you to focus on your highest priorities as a leader (instead of being hung up with infinite details)
There are endless reasons why coaching is invaluable in today’s organizations.
How then, you may ask, can I possible learn and practice coaching when I am already up to my neck in work. The answer is one step at a time.
As I mentioned in my recent blog “Are you getting your money’s worth from your training investment? - Probably not!”, the best way to ensure you apply and sustain what you learn is to take a gradual, planned approach.
Find an internal or external resource for coaching development. If possible spread your coaching learning over time and use the space between sessions to apply what you are learning. Get ongoing coaching support including content reviews practice and feedback. Coaching is best learned over time as you take a “coach approach” to every day conversations.
If you take this planned, gradual approach to learning and applying coaching you will not only see results over time, but you will also gradually integrate coaching into your leadership style and skillset.
Coaching is a vital asset you can use as a leader. It’s not a matter of dramatically changing how you lead. You can use coaching to progressively make you a more effective leader!
Be sure to access your coaching development from a certified coach.
If you’d like to learn more about coaching development and how to ensure your learning is applied and sustained, visit my website at thehumanside.ca.
- Barry Davis