The Must-Have Skill for Leaders: Highlights from Our eBook on Coaching and Leadership
- POSTED ON NOVEMBER 17, 2023
Coaching is no longer a tool in an occasionally used manager toolbox — picked up when needed and a little rusty from disuse. No, coaching has become intrinsic to effective leadership, both in the act of coaching in the workplace and in the demonstration of coach-like qualities. When leaders are also effective coaches, they have a profound impact on team dynamics, performance, and overall success. And they are able to respond to the need that people have for more emotionally available leaders and more human workplaces.
Our latest eBook discusses the topic of coaching in leadership and deepens the conversation around why coaching has been redefined as a must-have leadership skill. This blog post highlights some key observations and learning from the eBook, and we invite you to download the full version if you’d like to explore further.
What Is a Coaching Leader?
A coaching leader adopts the qualities of a coach and is committed to the growth of each team member. They can comfortably fuse their role as coach with their role as leader and know when to step into these roles to respond to what’s needed by their team members in each moment. A coaching leader’s role is not necessarily less visible, but it does encourage the leader to spend more time in a supporting capacity: having development conversations, coaching through challenges, encouraging creativity, facilitating opportunities.
When You Are a Coaching Leader, Traditional Team Hierarchy Is Reversed
The leader is no longer the nexus of all authority and decision-making — their role becomes more dominated by building the capability and confidence in their team members to step into leadership in their own ways. Rather than feeling the need to lead from the front at all times, the coaching leader finds it even more rewarding to lead from behind, taking great joy and satisfaction in seeing their team members thrive.
Developing More Coach-like Qualities Enhances Leadership Competencies
Training as a coach develops internal qualities as much as it provides a toolkit for coach practice. These internal qualities complement and enhance leadership in several ways:
Being able to listen attentively and intuitively
Being able to self-manage and stay attuned to the emotions of others
Being able to see and draw out the potential in others, grounded in the core belief that each of us has natural strengths
Problem-solving and creativity
Being able to encourage others to start thinking in new ways and act with more autonomy
Being able to help others develop greater emotional regulation, problem-solving, and positive mindset
Coaching Leaders Are Better Able to Meet the Needs of Today’s Workforce
Today, people expect to be treated as fully human, and coaching provides a space for every person to be heard, acknowledged, empowered, and invested in. To meet today’s employee expectations, leaders need to do more than coach their teams through workplace challenges. They need to expand their coaching skills to be comfortable with emotion, conscious of identity, and attentive to the human beyond the desk or screen.
How Coaching Leaders Help to Build More Inclusive Workplaces
Coaching is increasingly used to help leaders develop the skills and awareness they need to lead more inclusively. To build more inclusive and equitable workplaces, leaders are taking more responsibility for their role in influencing their culture and systems. They can use coaching as a way to help themselves and their team members become more conscious of how their actions impact others.
The Impact of Coaching Leaders on Their Teams
The impact of coaching leaders extends to almost every facet of a team member’s experience, particularly:
Coaching has long been tied to performance. The power of a coaching leader is in transferring decision-making, responsibility, and ownership to the people they lead so that performance becomes less about what a person needs to achieve and more about what they choose to achieve. There’s an undeniable power in this process that spurs every individual in the team to bring more of their best.
The end result of having a leader investing time and attention in your growth at a professional and personal level is that you have a very good reason to stay in your team. Many studies confirm the impact of coaching on retention, making it a valuable addition to any company’s retention strategy.
Research suggests the following elements of coaching allow for this enhanced wellbeing: the supportive nature of the coaching relationship, working towards meaningful goals, action planning, problem-solving, and focusing on your personal strengths. Leaders who coach well have a sustainable way to improve wellbeing at work.
The Impact of Coaching Leaders on Their Organization
At a company level, developing leaders who are effective coaches can have tremendous results, especially in:
Through coaching, leaders can inspire a growth mindset that values experimentation and learning from failure AND they can help team members turn ideas into actionable solutions.
Leaders who coach create an environment where all team members feel valued, heard, and supported. They ensure equal opportunities for growth and advancement. They contribute to the development and enhancement of underrepresented talent. And because coaching is always a highly personalized experience, they can account for identity and lived experience more effectively than any off-the-shelf method of development.
Talent Pipeline and Internal Mobility
Coaching is a sustainable way to develop talent within the organization and provide plenty of opportunities for career development. Coaching also allows managers to nurture team members into future leaders, supporting the development of core attributes such as autonomy, creativity, resilience, and self-awareness.
The eBook goes further to offer tips and guidance for leaders who want to integrate more coaching into their leadership style. It also links to resources that will help leaders as they start to develop coaching skills, including coaching books and demonstrations.
You can download the full eBook here.