The Leader as a Coach
Many industries today exist as part of a rapidly growing and constantly changing environment. As such, leadership models of the past that succeeded with command-and-control practices simply cannot provide the functionality they once did. To deal with the new challenges faced by leaders today, a different approach is needed. One that moves us away from a reliance on rigid management and towards providing support and guidance through constantly changing environments. Rather than the instructor, employees will engage with their leader as a coach and in some cases as both a coach and a mentor
Effects of Coaching on Culture
When we think of executive coaching, we often view it as the exclusive domain of C-level and other high-ranking personnel. In this new culture of the leader as a coach, we can see how coaching and leadership skills prove to be beneficial to employees at all levels. The best leaders understand that asking the right questions can spark insight in another person that leads to innovation and a deeper understanding of problem-solving. This can have an incredible impact on performance and one might say that coaching is a skill set that every senior manager and leader must have in their toolkit!
Executive coaching, when accessible by employees across all areas of a business, can remarkably impact its culture and environment. As coaching involves so much collaboration between the coach and the individual, it encourages creativity in ways that unlock hidden potential. The positive effects of executive coaching on culture reach far beyond improved performance. It is capable of affecting the confidence of individuals to work without specific instructions and instills in them the sense that they are trusted to continue to be productive. This is why we find such a high percentage of the best employers have structured coaching and mentoring programs as a way of doing business.
A Tool for Change
Leadership coaching is more than just a personal skill that managers must excel in. It is also a valuable source of cultural strength. By moving away from the top-down command style of leadership used in the past, you open the door to more high-performing individuals to become a part of the decision-making process. You teach them how to interact with each other as well as with clients more thoughtfully. Not only does this impact the culture of your business, making it a more positive place for those who work there, but it becomes a more positive place for those you work with.
Companies that do not upgrade their business model to include leadership and coaching tools for cultural change, may find that their growth and progress become stagnated. Companies that embrace this new approach by encouraging and supporting skills development in all of their employees increases the possibilities for innovation and growth. Change starts at the top. When leaders demonstrate their willingness to own up to their own information gaps and ask their team for assistance, a community is fostered that is based on trust and interpersonal relationships. By modelling this behaviour themselves, leaders are showing their teams that it is important and valuable to seek the knowledge you wish to gain that you don’t already possess.
As industries continue to change, so must the culture and leadership practices within them. It is impossible to rely on any singular, outdated model of management. Executive leadership programs provide the valuable tools required to improve upon practices that can lead to exponential growth in high-performing teams. What is needed now are leaders who are willing to affect positive change in support of their teams in ways that encourage learning and creativity.
As a leader, how do you use coaching and mentoring in your day-to-day conversations?
About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and high trust organisation.