Leadership coaching and the ways you can benefit
Have you ever had a really good boss? Or a really bad one for that matter? If you have, you'll appreciate the difference it can make to work with a good leader. A good leader can motivate, inspire and provide a positive work environment for their teams. A bad one can do the opposite.
You could be an entrepreneur, CEO, manager, headteacher or aspiring leader. Whatever sector or industry you work in, if you lead a team or run a business, coaching can help you to ensure you’re getting the most from your own skills, as well as from your team and your business.
Below we look at what coaching for leaders involves and why it’s beneficial:
What does leadership coaching involve?
As a leader you need to understand yourself. Authenticity is key for building up trust in those around you and helping to build their confidence in you and themselves. According to the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), ‘self-awareness and humility are paramount for leadership’. A solid insight into your own strengths and weaknesses is fundamental in developing as a leader.
Working with a coach can help to identify your strengths to harness as well as any areas for improvement. You’ll explore your own values so that you lead whilst remaining true to the things that matter to you. Staying true to who you are at your core and leading according to your strengths and weaknesses will improve your confidence, authenticity and effectiveness as a leader and in turn bring out the best in your team.
The Harvard Business Review supports these findings, reporting that companies with greater trust in their leaders reported 13% fewer sick days, 50% greater productivity, 40% less burnout and 29% more job satisfaction.
Find your leadership style. Psychologist Kurt Lewin noted three main leadership styles in the 1930s: autocratic leadership, democratic leadership and laissez-faire leadership. Since then, many more styles have been discussed and developed. It’s good to have awareness and insight into these, however leadership is fluid and your style may not fit into a box. It may also be appropriate to adapt your leadership in the face of specific challenges.
A coach offers you the space to look into how you would like to lead your team, possible approaches and the impact of your current style on the people around you. Through identifying these different aspects of your leadership you can then develop your skills in areas where the impact is negative or ineffective.
With the support of a coach, you can create an agile way of leading, adapting to your business and team's needs and playing to your strengths and weaknesses.
Manage the harder times. As a leader you will inevitably face challenging times, maybe even the occasional crisis (global pandemic or otherwise!). Unfortunately, being in a position of responsibility doesn’t make you infallible.
With greater responsibility comes greater pressure in decision making and crisis management, as well as bigger implications if you get it wrong. These situations can become hotbeds for inner critics and second-guessing yourself.
There are certain benefits to questioning ourselves and not believing we’re infallible but we need to be able to recognise and manage any negative self-talk that can become detrimental.
Working with a coach helps you to identify these voices and support you in finding techniques to manage the inner critics. Becoming better equipped to manage and mitigate these challenges allows you more time to focus on your priorities.
Why is leadership coaching beneficial?
Becoming a leader doesn't mean you’ve finished developing. Now is the time to explore, understand and mature as a leader.
Coaching offers new insights and perspectives on any challenges and how to approach them. It can also highlight areas to improve, such as communication or decision-making, and help to create an action plan to refine them. Developing your skills as a leader provides huge benefits both personally and for workplaces as a whole.
However, It’s not just about those already holding these roles. If you run a business it may be worth providing coaching to newer employees. Investing in future leaders is likely to have a more sustainable impact on your business’s ability to deliver results, both in terms of the happiness of workers and business performance.
According to Brandon Hall’s State of Leadership Development, only 5% of businesses implement development at all levels. On top of that, 25% of organisations say less than 10% of critical leadership positions have ready and willing successors.
Through investing in potential leaders, you’ll attract the rising stars in your industry and provide a culture where the individuals, the team and the business can thrive.
Do you already have insight into how you work as a leader? Are you confident in where your strengths and weaknesses lie? If not, it may be time to find out!