Throughout the world of sport and fitness, we’re used to the presence of coaches. Not simply as background, behind-the-scenes influencers, but titans of knowledge sat front and center.
Would it surprise you to learn that even tech giants invest in leadership coaching? And that, as a result of executive leadership coaching, their businesses perform better, they achieve their goals with greater ease, and are able to boost overall motivation and morale?
What is leadership coaching?
A leadership coach is an individual who devises, sets, and monitors a series of progressive goals and challenges. All to elevate an already skilled and accomplished leader, to become a powerhouse of their industry. They have clarity and a lack of bias, allowing them to enter an environment and pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses, in order to help a company excel.
But can you learn to be a good leader, or is it an inherent quality that you either possess or you don’t? Well, contrary to popular belief (and, if we’re being honest, a fair amount of ego and arrogance) there’s no leadership gene, no quality from birth that marks you for greatness. In fact, it’s believed that the ratio is a 30/70 split between leaders being born and made.
The next misassumption to dismiss is that a leadership coach is going to come in and order the boss around. Or alternatively pour poison in their ear. When you’re watching a basketball game, do you see the coach running onto the court and grabbing the ball from the captain? No. Because they’re there to bring out the best in their players. The ability to nurture what is already present. To enhance what is working and galvanize what isn’t.
And it takes a lot of humility to seek help. To have the strength to acknowledge that you’ve reached the zenith of your abilities. You may indeed have all the experience, talent and confidence in the world, but without a healthy dose of alternate perspective, your business will plateau.
Which is why leadership coaching is so important. By bringing in that external factor and much needed injection of energy, it allows you to ascertain where improvements can be made and utilize the methodology to achieve it. And this can then be extended and passed on to your employees and management teams. Providing a healthy dose of wisdom and guidance to motivate them and keep everyone on the right course.
The different types of leadership coaching
Like any teaching role, there are multiple schools of thought for how to reach your goals. Because unfortunately, there isn’t one templated be all and end all approach. Each company will have challenges and struggles that call for a unique fix.
Just as importantly, it’s also about finding the right fit. We’re talking about an outsider who is going to revitalize your company; there has to be a level of chemistry and compatibility, in order for that to happen. So what leadership coaching styles are on offer?
Teams are at the heart of business coaching. Rather than working with individuals on a 1-to-1 basis, the focus here is the wider group. And the name of the game is to discover how best to develop strategies to achieve a company’s goals. Identifying specialties and strengths to achieve a balanced action plan, through a series of organized coordination and collaboration.
As the name implies, executive coaching has a narrow focus: developing the leadership and management skills of the person at the top. Whether brought on for a series of sessions or long-term consultation, an executive coach can tailor their approach based on the type of leader you are. For those new to management roles, executive coaching can provide invaluable experience and insight. And for more established leaders, it brings fresh perspective and exciting ideas.
Every organization, no matter how skilled and motivated the individual components are, will struggle without clarity of vision. Strategic coaching is the art of seeing how the industry as a whole is evolving, and how to position yourself as a frontrunner to capitalize on these changes. After all, everyone needs a target and a roadmap to get them there. And this level of coaching is designed to give you the tools to achieve that.
Earlier we mentioned that leaders are made, not born. Well, behavioral coaching is the fire that forges them. For those with the innate traits of leadership, this will come easily. For others, it can be a foible. This leadership coaching style focuses on improving attitudes, communication skills and personal interactions. Essentially, constructing the building blocks to make an inspiring, motivational leader.
The main benefits of leadership coaching in your organization
What do dieticians, therapists and personal trainers all have in common? Each one exists as a source to determine what’s ailing you and advise on how to rectify it. So, while they don’t lift weights for you or make your meals every day, they set goals and give you the tools and confidence to realize them yourself.
That way, the benefits you experience feel earned and your own. But what about businesses? In a similar way, leadership coaching strengthens the mind and body of a company.
Reigniting the nerve center
The immediate benefit of leadership coaching is the breath of fresh air, insight and unbiased perspective it offers. We all need outside consultants or a trusted voice to let us know where we’re going wrong. And through this, there is the opportunity to grow, by identifying blind spots.
Additionally, by tapping into and harnessing emotional intelligence and accountability, there’s less time wasted on blame, panic or false-starts. Instead, organizations are able to skillfully adapt, increasing company-wide agility. Not to mention now having the tools to self-regulate, thus guarding against future hindrances and stagnation.
Firing up the body
Leadership coaching benefits aren’t limited to management, though. They’re also evident in how the whole workforce tackles daily problems and approaches given tasks. Thanks to a sense of emboldening and empowerment, performance is improved; meaning your staff can achieve their goals faster and more efficiently. And by inspiring confidence and encouraging freethinking, you invite out of the box methods and techniques that can put you ahead of the competition.
Not only that, with improved communication, businesses see an increase in job satisfaction and motivation. Which results in lower staff turnover and makes your company more attractive in the process.
And that’s before we even address the fiscal returns of these cultural and behavioral changes. With one case study revealing that leadership coaching led to a 788% ROI.
What skills can be learned through leadership coaching?
The skills learned through leadership coaching are transformative and permanent. Much like learning a new language, it can change your worldview. As, once you understand the mechanics and gather a solid word base, you can hold all manner of conversations.
One such skill is self-awareness, leading to objective critical assessment. Not only of your own performance but that of your team and the entire business. More than a rough overview, self-awareness is healthy exploration. But a good leader must always be conscious that this reflection does not escalate to intrusive probing, which can leave staff feeling attacked, insufficient and over-scrutinized.
Similarly, there’s the development of situational analysis. In order to survive, adapt and grow, you need to assess developments in your industry. And once this information has been gathered, know how to put it to use. Think of it like a ship turning at sea. A speedboat can spin and pivot with ease, but a large liner requires forethought and planning, to safely and successfully maneuver.
Communication skills also grow exponentially. Whether selling a car, asking for help or consoling a friend, we utilize a range of different communication skills all the time. And the workplace is no different.
Of course, there’s no one ‘work voice’ that gets the job done every time. But with leadership coaching training, you’re able to not only hone these voices, but realize which is best employed in a variety of situations.
This may be one of the most important leadership coaching skills: listening. Before you say anything, you need to be able to hear what those around you have to say. Advice, complaints, frustrations, exciting ideas. Good leadership is four times more listening than speaking. And the above skills can only be successfully harnessed if you are listening attentively in the first place.
And finally, empathy. See, empathy doesn’t come naturally. As creatures, humans are incredibly selfish. But one of the first and most important lessons we learn in life, is about others’ strife. The literal art of putting yourself in another’s shoes. For a leader, this is essential. Allowing you to understand and appreciate your staff’s problems and struggles, in order to help resolve them.
Challenges facing the implementation of coaching programs
There are a handful of challenges when implementing leadership coaching. Money, time and resources are always key factors that will play heavily on your mind. Not to mention the trust and faith that is invested in an unknown element. Earlier, I mentioned compatibility. What if you end up wasting time with a coach who is a poor fit?
But the real concern comes from longevity and commitment. In order to take full advantage of the lessons learned, it’s imperative that old ways and bad habits don’t creep back in. These changes have to be resolute and enduring, acting as a foundation for future growth and success. All of which is only achievable if there is fervent commitment.
In truth, these are challenges that leaders will already be familiar with. And with the right attitude, keenness and willingness to learn, there’s no limit to what executive leadership coaching can accomplish for you.
To hear from some of the brightest, most electrifying global HR leaders, across multiple industries, book your tickets to UNLEASH America 2023 today.